Keep your vehicle valentine running smoothly with these simple tips
At FIXD, it’s our mission to simplify car care so you can save money and stay on the road longer. As one of your biggest investments, it’s important to care for your car’s long-term health. If it’s been awhile since you’ve given your ride the attention it deserves, check out these 6 quick tips to keep it running like a dream.
1. Give it a good bath
Did you know that keeping your car’s exterior clean and protected during winter can increase its lifespan and help you get the maximum resale value?
Winter weather road treatments cause salty buildup on your vehicle that can lead to rust that spreads over time. Not only does rust take away from the good looks of your vehicle, but it can cause severe long-term damage.
Keep your car sparkling and make it last by giving it a good wash and wax regularly, especially if you’ve driven through snow, salt, sand, or chemicals on the road. You’ll find some great tips on how to properly car for your car’s exterior inside our car paint restoration guide.
While you’re at it, you can caress your car’s interior by cleaning it from headliner to trunk. Check out our tips on professional-level detailing at home to see how to give your car a deep clean it’ll love.
2. Replace oil and filters
Been awhile since your last oil change? Unless you have a FIXD Sensor to remind you when it’s time for maintenance, it can be easy to miss. But ignoring your oil and filter could lead to costly issues not far down the road since they’re the key to keeping your engine well-lubricated while operating efficiently.
These days, the average cost of an oil change is anywhere from $40-$130. To find out how often you need oil and to see step-by-step how to do it, check out our complete guide on how to change your car’s oil.
While you’re taking care of your engine, go ahead and check your cabin air filter, too. Your car’s air filter keeps contaminants out of your vehicle and it’s been shown to increase fuel efficiency and acceleration by over 10%.
3. Give your tires the royal treatment
How are your tires holding up? Even if you’ve recently purchased new winter tires, colder temperatures can cause the air in your tires to contract, leading to low pressure and driveability issues.
Check your tire pressure about once a week to avoid any problems and have your tires rotated about every 6,000-8,000 miles, or whenever you go in for an oil change. This will help your tires wear more evenly and last longer.
If a shop tells you that it’s time for new tires, make sure you look for yourself before buying anything. An easy way to do this is with the Penny Test. Most tires are good until you have 3-4/32nds of an inch left on the tread (check your owner’s manual for specific recommendations).
4. Check lights and wipers
During the long winter months, there are fewer hours of daylight, which means maintaining visibility is more important than ever. To reduce your risk of being in an accident, make sure your headlights are clear and your windshield wipers are in good condition.
Keep dirt and debris off all headlights, tail lights, and turn signals. Also make sure they’re aimed properly so you’re not blinding other drivers in the dark. You can restore your headlights with an inexpensive cleaning kit or homemade solution if they appear cloudy.
Many wiper blades can last 1-2 years. You’ll know it’s time to replace your windshield wipers if you see streaks or experience any visibility issues when driving in the rain and snow.
5. Inspect brake pads and rotors
Your car’s brake rotor, or disc, is attached to the wheel. The brake pads make contact with the rotor to slow down your vehicle when driving. Over time, rotors and pads can crack and become worn down.
Problems such as rust (from all the salt and chemicals on the road this time of year), aggressive breaking due to snow and ice, and old brake fluid can cause rotors and pads to wear out more quickly than they normally would.
You can inspect your brakes at home by looking on Google or in your owner’s manual for the “minimum brake pad thickness” and “minimum brake rotor thickness” for your vehicle. Once you know the minimum requirements for your specific vehicle, you can measure your pads and rotors to see how they match up.
Thickness is often measured in millimeters and each millimeter of thickness can get you through about 5000 miles of driving. However, if you hear any squeaking, grinding, or whirring from the brakes, it’s a good idea to take your car into a shop for a thorough inspection.
6. Freshen up coolant
Engine coolant doesn’t just keep your car from overheating in the summer, it also keeps it from freezing in extreme cold. You should have your coolant system flushed every 30,000 miles, or as recommended by the manufacturer in your owner’s manual.
A coolant flush typically costs around $98-$123 on average, but by DIYing this easy job for beginners, you could keep that money in your pocket. If you do tackle this job yourself, be aware that there are many different types of coolant, so it’s critical to find the right one for your car. Check out our guide on how to change coolant and be sure to watch the video to learn more.
Bonus: Don’t let a check engine light kill the romance
This Valentine’s Day, treat someone (or somecar) special with FIXD. Not only does it help you clear check engine lights and get your car fixed without overpaying, it also sends automated maintenance reminders, helps drivers find trustworthy repair shops, and so much more.
FIXD makes caring for your car and saving money easy! Click here to save 67% during our limited-time Valentine’s Sale!
Wife, mom, Content Manager & Senior Copywriter at FIXD. From the garage to the gym, I love helping people learn and grow. Dream car: ‘69 Acapulco Blue Mustang.