Your car takes you everywhere you want to go. You eat in it, drink in it, and heck—you probably even sleep in it. Yes, there are some people who practically live inside their cars, and it’s so easy to take them for granted. Unfortunately, we sometimes forget that they, too, need regular maintenance. A vehicle has around 75,000 parts, and one unscrewed bolt, unplugged wire, or malfunctioning gear is enough to make it behave in strange or erratic ways. Keeping your car in safe and excellent condition is a must if you want to drive it for a long time.

How to maintain car parts

First Off: check your car’s manual. Vehicles come in all shapes and sizes, and many require different ways of maintenance. The tips you’ll read here are only general suggestions, and the best way to really know how to properly care for your vehicle is to check the owner’s manual.

Once you’ve done this, you can now read some of our tips on how to maintain your car’s parts:

Engine oil

What would your car be without its engine? And what would your engine be without oil? Indeed, oil is important for your car engine’s health. Many car experts recommend that it should be changed every 3 months or around 3,000 miles, but there are special conditions that demand more oil changes, such as when you:

Tow a trailer

Drive in an environment that has a lot of dust and debris Often drive in bumper-to-bumper, stop-and-go traffic You don’t warm up your engine when doing short trips (this can contaminate your oil)

Obviously, a well-oiled engine makes for a happy, safe vehicle. Make sure to always do regular maintenance services such as:

Oil changes

Fuel filter, air filter, and oil filter changes PCV valve checkups (make sure they’re properly working) Spark plugs and spark plug wires checks

You can check your oil levels by simply pulling out the dipstick and finding where the oil level is. Doing regular changes are important, and if you’re not sure how to do it properly, then it’s best to hire a mechanic.

Air filter

Clogged air filters aren’t really life-threatening, but it can cause a lot of dent in your fuel expenses. It’s easy to replace them, and there are even some places where they’ll add in a free service, such as oil change.

Car brakes

Don’t neglect your car brakes. Call us melodramatic, but it’s your life that’s on the line here. Never wait for it to create a screeching sound—this literally means that the brake pads are already old and worn out. When you drive during these conditions, then you’re basically endangering yourself and the people who are in your car.

We suggest you hire a professional mechanic to regularly inspect your brakes. Save your DIY for other things, such as doing oil changes.

Car brakes

Car alignment

When you’ve driven your car for a long time, you’ll get to notice if there’s something wrong with the alignment. Have them adjusted so your car can easily and quickly react according to your preferences.

Tire pressure

Don’t overlook your tires. When correctly maintained (and properly inflated), they can prevent accidents and help you save on fuel and tire changes. When improperly inflated, your tires can cause blowouts that can result to accidents and added fuel expenses.

It’s important to check for tire pressure changes by using a tire pressure gauge. Ideally, you should do it once a month. Any of these indicators are basically your tires screaming “Check Me!” in front of your face:

Squealing tires while you’re turning corners. This might indicate under-inflated tires. Noticeable changes when you’re steering or handling the car. Longer braking distance required to stop a car. Changes in temperature. Tire pressures change from 1 to 2 psi for every 5 degree Celsius temperature changes.

Coolant

The Philippines’ tropical climate can be brutal on your car. This is especially true during the summer season. Your coolant will help your vehicle run smoothly by keeping the right level of fluids that your car needs. Don’t forget to check this regularly; otherwise, prepare for overheating while driving on the road.

Tire treads

Tire treads give your car traction on the road. They become highly significant during the rainy season, where slippery or wet conditions are the usual norm. Look for indications of wear and tear, such as odd lumps and bulges. They may be small, but they can cause your tires to slip or blow out on the road.

Steering fluid

Power steering is one of those things that you take for granted. Take it away, however, and you realize how it makes driving easier and more convenient.

You can check your power steering fluid by looking at the reservoir cylinder near the power steering pump. It’s easy to see the fluid level if the cylinder is made of translucent plastic; if not, then you will have to use the dipstick level attached to the cap. Add the fluid according to the right fill level.

Colors are an indication of your fluid’s conditions:

Black or brown power steering fluid: contaminated with some rubber bits from connecting hoses or seals. Take it to a mechanic for inspection.

Clear, Amber, Pinkish: fluid in good condition

Transmission fluid

You probably take your shift gears for granted, but believe us, it’s no laughing matter when it suddenly malfunctions while you’re driving on a busy highway. Have it checked from time to time, and make sure the transmission fluid is always at a good level for a smoother drive.

Car lights

It’s so easy to overlook your lights—until one of them malfunctions while you’re driving at night. Make sure to keep your brake lights, turn signals, headlights, and even your reverse lights well-maintained. Remember that car lights are like your second eyes on the road, especially when your surroundings are dark or blurry. They also let other vehicles know what you are going to do. This helps prevent accidents (and road rage) among drivers.

A well-conditioned car will keep you safe and in control, so keep your car parts well-maintained. All you need to invest on are a couple of fluids, some simple gadgets, maintenance costs, and most important of all—your time. They will go a long way in making you an effective and responsible driver on the road.