With every season that comes and goes there is something you could do to help maintain your car better. Do not wait for your car to break down before taking proper care of it. To make your car work better and longer for you, you will need to maintain it year around.
The most routine car maintenance begins with reading and knowing your owner's manual schedule maintenance. The car's maker gave you this schedule for a reason; it is a guide to follow not just suggestions. Change the oil when the manufacturer tells you to. If the manual says every 3,000 miles change it faithfully when that number arrives. Make sure when the oil is changed you get a sticker on your windshield that reminds you of the approximate date and mileage in which your next oil change will be due.
In between oil changes and other recommended tune ups you will need to check the oil and other fluids under the hood. A good time to check the oil is when filling up the car with gas. Make sure the engine is turned off as you check the oil. While the pump runs, pop the hood and yank out the dipstick. Wipe off the dipstick and re-insert it. Check it again and make sure it the oil is a translucent golden yellow color that reaches near the maximum level on the dipstick. If the oil level is below ¾ of the way up to the maximum level you will need to add more. Try not to overfill or spill any of the oil on the hot engine.
Checking your fluid levels should be next on your next. Eye ball the coolant level. It needs to be between the minimum and maximum marks. The same holds true for the windshield wiper fluid. Both should be in reservoirs that you are able to see through without difficulty.
Check your vehicle's belts and hoses. This is especially important if you are going on a long trip. Check for any wear or tear as well as holes or cuts. Replace any belt that shows signs of wear. Even belts that appear in good condition should be replaced about every 50,000 miles as preventive maintenance.
Like the belts, radiator and heater hoses are made of rubber. Due to how the changing seasons temperatures move from hot to cold and back again this can place a strain on the rubber. Look for any cracks, holes or bulging areas. Make sure none of the hoses are rubbing against hot or sharp metal parts that could cause damage.
Taking care of the outside of your car can be just as important. If something happens to your paint job on your vehicle it will not be cheap to re-paint. Newer vehicles have to meet stricter EPA standards so the manufacturer's painting process is more complicated. They mostly use a two or three stage paints. As a result, it is important to use the proper car care products on your exterior.
Use a non-harsh car wash to clean the vehicle. Do not use dishing washing soap or another household cleaner. Buy a product that is specifically made to wash cars. Use lamb wash mitts if possible. They are the best at not scratching the paint work on the car. After washing the car use a chamois leather product (shammy) to dry it off. This helps to keep water droplets from showing up in the drying process.
You can also wax your car to help keep the paint and clear coat in good shape. Again buy the proper products for this. If you need help choosing your local auto parts store can help you. In between wax applications you can use an instant detailer product which will giver you car a "wet" look.
Something else that will give your car a wet look is a good tire cleaner. This can be easily sprayed onto the tires. The hubcaps or rims should also be cleaned thoroughly. You do not want brake dust to collect on them.
Your car maintenance is nearly complete. You still need to clean your windows with a proper glass cleaner. You want one that does not streak. Try to use a rag or paper towel that will not leave lint. Wadded up newspaper is actually a great way to wipe off the glass cleaner from the window.
These are just a few simple items you can do each season through out the year to keep your car in good shape. A well maintained car will give back to you with a better ride and longevity of the engine. Take the time each year as the seasons change to giver your mode of transportation some real tender loving care.