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I’ll be honest, I’ve never known a whole lot about cars. But living in Miami, a car is essential.
I used to lease all my cars until last year when I purchased one for the first time. I bought a brand new car and I felt pretty darn proud of the fact that it was all mine.
That being said, when you own a car as opposed to leasing one, you have to put a lot more care into it to make sure that it lasts you a long time. Therefore, knowing a bit about car maintenance will definitely come in handy.
You see, growing up in a Latin family, I didn’t have to worry about taking care of my car. A lot of this “adulting” stuff was left to my dad to handle. But now that I’m married and expecting a baby in December, I figured it was time to handle some of this on my own. So I did a little research and learned a thing or two about caring for a car. Here’s what you gotta know:
1. Change Your Oil
Every car comes with regular recommended intervals for changing your oil. It might be every 3,000 miles, every 7,000 miles, or even every 10,000 miles. Regardless, at some point or another you need to change your oil to keep your car working properly.
Now if you’re going to change your oil on your own, it’s important that you use a quality oil product so I recommend checking out Quaker State® Ultimate Durability™ Full Synthetic Motor Oil. How much does this stuff cost? Well, not a whole lot. I bought the 5 qt version at Walmart on rollback for a great everyday low price of $20.24.
For those of you shaking your heads because there’s no way you’re changing your own oil, don’t worry. Walmart also offers a DIFM (Do It For Me) option at their Auto Center for $19.88 that’ll save you time and make your life a whole lot easier.
But honestly, it’s not that difficult to do it on your own. I had Joe show me how to check my oil and he walked me through the basic process.
If I can do it, dude, you totally can too. But whether you do it yourself or have someone do it for you, the important part is that it gets done.
2. Clean Your Car Regularly
Ok, I’m not the best at this one, but you really ought to clean your car on a regular basis. Wash it yourself of go through a quick car wash on your way home, but keep your car nice and clean. Not only does cleaning your car prevent contaminants like dirt, dust, bugs, and pollutants from sticking onto your car, but it also keeps it in great condition and protects its resale/trade-in value. Plus, you look better in it. Let’s be real here.
3. Take Care of Your Windshield
In order to drive (safely, that is), you need to be able to see out your windshield, so cleaning it every once in a while is something you just have to do. Never done it before? Here’s a super easy step-by-step tutorial.
4. Check Your Tires
I was driving down the highway a year or two ago and I totally blew a tire. I had been driving on a flat for who knows how long, and finally, it exploded. Not a very fun moment. Pretty scary, actually. That’s why you need to check your tires on a regular basis – at least, once a month. Not only does checking your tires reduce the risk of an accident or a tire blowout like I experience, but it also helps with your gas mileage! Did you know that? According to DMV.org, for every 1 PSI that your tire pressure drops below the recommended level, gas mileage is reduced by .2%. So save yourself a headache and some gas money by keeping your tire levels at the right levels.
Not sure what that level is? Check your car manual. Every car has their own recommended levels, and you can check them with a tire pressure gauge. Again, super easy to do because I did it.
5. Keep An Emergency Kit Handy
Emergencies can happen anytime, anywhere, so it’s best to be prepared. Am I right? Even if your car is brand spanking new, it’s a good idea to have an emergency kit handy, stocked with all the things you’d need to change a flat tire or jump start a car. Here are some of the basics you ought to include, most of which you can find at Walmart:
- First Aid kit
- Multipurpose tool
- Jumper cables
- Spare Tire
- Road flares
- Bottled water
So that’s it! Just some basic car maintenance 101! It feels so good to be self-sufficient and to be able to take care of some of these things on my own, and from now on, Walmart will be my go-to destination for all my auto care necessities!