Time to pop the hood

You can save some money by learning how to maintain your car without taking it to the dealership always.

Vroom! So, you have saved up and finally bought your first car. Great. It is quite an accomplishment as you now have more independence and freedom to go where you want and when you want without sweating it. However, something has changed:  your parents are no longer responsible for maintaining the car you drive. Other than buying gas as needed, what else do you do to keep the car functional?

First, let us go over the basics. You need to ensure your car is properly insured and you are paying your insurance premium and car notes, if any, promptly. Next, you need to ensure your car is properly registered and your tags are current.

Now, you must familiarize yourself with the vehicle owner’s manual for your car. In the manual you will find a maintenance schedule. This will let you know the frequency with which to perform an oil change, replace air and other filters among other things.

A vehicle bought from a dealership sometimes comes with a service plan. In such cases, you will receive notifications from the dealership on required services, when due. If that is not the case for you, keep track of required maintenance and get your car to a reliable mechanic shop as needed. Usually, a white sticker that indicates when the next service is due is affixed to the left, top right corner of the windshield by the last service company.

Some of the basic routine maintenance you need to perform periodically include oil change, tire rotation, air filter, and fuel filter replacement. Be sure to replace your oil filter if you do your own oil change. It is also advisable to rotate your tires every time you get an oil change. This will ensure that your tires wear evenly over time. Air filter replacement should be for both the engine and interior cabin. Fuel filter replacement are usually less frequent.

Should a warning light pop up on your dashboard, make sure to get your vehicle looked at by a reliable mechanic as soon as possible. Like the saying goes, “a stitch in time, saves nine.” If your vehicle is still under warranty, some of those issues will be repaired, at no extra cost to you, by the dealership.

Lastly, check for vehicle recall notices concerning your make and model. If the manufacturer puts out a recall notice with repair solutions, you just might get your vehicle fixed at no extra cost to you, at the nearest dealership. So, stay up to date with your vehicle maintenance and your vehicle will happily take you places.

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