Few things in life are as memorable as that new-car smell. Buying a car with better efficiency, improved performance, and high-tech features can feel like a dream from the moment you drive it off the lot, but it can’t stay in tip-top shape without your help. Here are some of the most essential vehicle maintenance items you should perform on a regular basis.
It’s common knowledge that oil is your car’s life blood. Automotive oil is required to keep your engine and all its working parts running smoothly, and it must be changed every so often to remove contaminants and boost the engine’s lubrication.
Unlike older vehicles that required an oil change every three months, modern cars can go anywhere from 5,000 to 10,000 miles between oil changes. How often you need to change the oil depends on your particular make and model, so be sure to check the owner’s manual and stick with the manufacturer’s recommendations. Bring your Honda to an official Honda dealership at regular service intervals to stay up-to-date on oil changes and satisfy your warranty.
Just like your home’s HVAC filters, your car’s air filter gets clogged over time, making it more difficult to do its job. It can be difficult to tell how often you’ll need to change the air filter since we all have different commute times, drive on different surfaces, and endure various atmospheric conditions, but a good rule of thumb is to check your air filter every 5,000 miles.
You may not need to change it at this point, since most vehicles will only need a filter change every 7,500 to 10,000 miles, but it’s best to familiarize yourself with its location so you can bring it in for servicing when needed. If you run an old clunker, however, you may need to change the filter as often as every 1,000 miles due to fumes contaminating the filter. When in doubt, ask your automotive mechanic for recommendations.
Like every vehicle component, tires come with a set life expectancy, and you’ll need to change them several times during the time you own your car. How long a set of tires lasts depends on their type, brand, and the terrain they’re exposed to on a regular basis. You may have a set that wears out at 20,000 miles, while another might last 50,000. It’s hard to judge with tires, so get in the habit of checking them regularly.
Every tire has a wear indicator to help you gauge its condition. Look between the treads for tiny ridges. When the tread wears down to these ridges, you need to buy a new set. If you have trouble locating the ridges, take a penny and place Lincoln’s head upside down between the treads. If part of his head is covered, you’re good, but if not, it’s time for new tires.