This morning on my Instagram I asked my followers to ask me questions that they would love answered on my blog today. If you have a question regarding buying a used car, maintenance, repairs or general car questions, DM on Instagram! Your question may be featured next.
@ironydufromage, this is a fantastic question! One of the first and most important things I tell my customers that you can do completely on your own is listen to your car. When you leave your house first thing in the morning (about once a week) roll your windows down a little bit and pay attention to the little noises your car makes. Is there a rattle or clunking sound that wasn’t there next week? When you have an older car, new sounds really matter. The sooner you catch a front end problem or a braking problem, the less likely you will cause damage to other parts.
Make sure the the mechanic shop you take your car to for oil changes does a full multi-point inspection every single time. If they find that any of your fluids are dirty, don’t wait to change them. As dirt builds up in the fluid, it starts to damage parts like pumps and lines. A lot of customer take their cars to a quick lube for oil changes and miss the important step of a full multi point inspection. Preventative maintenance is your best friend with an older car. The more you can do in advance the less you will likely spend on extensive expensive repairs.
On the topic of oil changes, if you still use conventional oil, I would switch to a full synthetic. This oil has additive in it to help protect your engine and extend its life. This oil generally last 6 months or 6,000 miles whichever comes first. Do your oil changes on time and regularly. This is a super important thing for older cars.
Keep jumper cables in your car. There may be a morning that you wake up and the car won’t start because your battery went bad (something you can’t prevent). A battery only help provide the power to start your car and may run some accessories, you can drive the car with a bad one until you have a chance to get to the shop. This will also save you money so you do not have to call a tow truck for something you can easily do with a YouTube video (or maybe you already know how to).
The last thing I would add is find a mechanic that you trust and go to them regularly. I know this seems so cliche and you might want to go for a second opinion, but someone that has been servicing your car for years knows you car better then anyone else. They will have your maintenance records to allow them to recommend services that you can’t check for when they are needed. They will treat you with respect and are less likely to recommend unnecessary services.