Nowadays, it is quite easy to learn how to drive and even to buy a vehicle. However, it’s more challenging to understand how your car works, and, especially, how to keep it in tip-top shape. While you don’t need to know everything about your car, it’s wise to understand some of the basic elements.
At CNM Auto Repair, we like to assist our customers with not just the repair and maintenance, but also with providing useful information to help you become more informed and confident as a car owner and driver.
While knowing everything about cars is quite difficult and requires deeper knowledge and experience, and things differ from brand to brand and model to model, here are seven basic things every car owner should keep in mind:
- Basic Car Info
Know your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) – it’s your car’s fingerprint, a 17-digit number that identifies your car’s manufacture date, place, make, model, engine size, etc. It’s useful when talking to mechanics and insurance companies, and you can use it to look up information if you want to purchase a car or buy parts for it.
It seems so obvious, yet many people don’t know the exact year, make or model of their vehicle. If you get the year or the model wrong, it can lead to big mistakes. Fluids, parts, and accessories for your car are all based on the car’s year, make and model, so it’s important to know the exact information.
- Changing Oil
The rule of thumb for changing oil can be every three months or around 3,000 or 5,000 miles, but the safest thing to do is to read your manual to know how often your car’s oil needs to be changed.
To maintain optimal performance, health and longevity of your vehicle, stick to your car’s specific maintenance schedule.
- Overall Maintenance
Consult your manual and/or your car maintenance experts. Follow your maintenance schedule to know when to check/change your car’s parts and fluids and when to rotate your tires.
This includes power steering fluid, brake fluid, antifreeze, and windshield wiper fluid; also, changing your air filter every six months or as recommended in your car’s owner’s manual.
Know how to replace your windshield wiper blades; it should be done every six months or so, and you can find the right type for your car in your owner’s manual.
- Dashboard Lights/Symbols:
A window into our car’s health, lights on your dashboard in many cases indicate bigger problems. For instance, when your car’s check engine light comes on, it’s potentially serious. Other times, it can be a great reminder, such as you are low on fuel or a door is open.
Your car owner’s manual will tell you what your dashboard lights mean, as they differ among car manufacturers, and here’s what they can generally suggest based on the color:
Red: warning that immediate attention is needed, as passenger safety may be in question
Yellow: check it out as soon as possible
Green or blue: something is activated
- Checking Tire Pressure
Making sure those tires are properly inflated is the best way to guarantee your car performs at its best from a handling and fuel-efficiency standpoint. Know how to and when you need to add or release air. Most gas stations have a free air station where you can adjust your air pressure.
- Checking Lights
Your car’s headlights and taillights should be checked regularly and replaced about once a year.
- Roadside Emergency Kit
Don’t forget to keep a roadside emergency kit in your car’s trunk – it can help you in case your car breaks down and you’re not able to find immediate help. Also, always have a First Aid Kit in your car.
- A Reliable Mechanic
Finding a good car shop where you can always be sure that you and your car are getting the attention and care you deserve. Your vehicle is a significant investment, and you need it to be reliable, so you want to be sure it’s in the right hands, for a professional check-up, inspection, maintenance and repairs.
Our expert team at CNM Auto Repair is passionate about assisting our clients, so bring your Domestic, European, Japanese or Asian vehicle to our garage and we’ll ensure it’s performing optimally for years to come. Plus, we are here for any questions you may have!
Contact our family owned and operated car repair shop in Lancaster, PA today for all your tune-up, alignment, and other car and light truck services – make an appointment with our expert auto mechanics today at (717) 397-1497.