A Beginner’s Guide to Auto Repair : Part 1

auto repairThere are about 30,000 parts on the average car, so it can be really confusing when you are in need of auto repair. And for many drivers, it can seem like mechanics are speaking in a foreign language. It’s enough to make any driver wonder, “What can I do to prevent these problems in the first place?”

To prevent confusion and to make your maintenance as easy as possible, here are some basic car maintenance tips even a beginner can understand.

Tires

  • Rotate your tires about every 7,500 miles. Doing so not only will prevent excessive wear and tear, but it will ensure they last longer! Having one tire in the same location on the car for an extended period of time can cause premature tire failures, as it will not be worn down evenly.
  • Double check your tire pressure about once a month or so, and fill them up with air when your indicator light says so. This will help with fuel mileage and the comfort of your vehicle when driving.
  • Do the penny test for tread depth. Take a penny and with Lincoln’s head upside down, put it in the tread of each tire. If you can see his head at all, your tires are wearing too thin and they need to be replaced as soon as possible.

Brakes
In general your brakes will be able to last between 25,000 to 50,000 miles. Brake repair can be expensive, so to make them last longer do the following:

  • Always come to a gentle stop when you are going high speeds, as slamming on your brakes while going 65 mph can cause it to dissipate a third more energy than if you were going 55 mph.
  • Only use your right foot to brake. Your right foot is already used to the gas pedal, and is much gentler on the brake than your left.
  • Don’t forget about your brake fluid. This fluid makes your brakes work more efficiently, so check your levels once a month.
  • Clean off brake dust, as this can settle onto your tires and engine and cause them to malfunction.

State Inspections
Most states have rules requiring drivers to have their cars inspected once per year. The specific rules regarding these inspections vary from state to state, so check your state’s DMV website to see exactly what you need to do.

During these inspections, mechanics will check the overall state of your vehicle, engine, headlights, and can tell you whether you’re in need of more serious servicing like transmission repair or battery replacement. Failure to get your car inspected could cause serious trouble with both your insurance company and the local police.

Keep a lookout for our next installment on easy auto repair for beginners!