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Maintaining your car is a very vital step that every car owner (whether it is a new or used car) should follow to increase the life span and reliability of their car. Used cars usually need the extra attention as they are more difficult and expensive to maintain than new cars.

It important you always follow your maintenance schedule and never ignore or delay it so as to keep your car in the best condition and avoid expensive repairs.

The best tricks to keeping your car healthy and keeping down costs are knowing what to look out for, and learning what you can do by yourself. This guide gives some simple tips you can use to keep your car in top shape.

1) Know the symptoms of a sick car.

There are five big warning signals to watch out for. Be alert for leaks of any kind, ongoing unusual noises while driving, strange smells like burning, if your car is handling differently or the presence of warning lights. These are some of the main symptoms mechanics use to diagnose a sick car.

2) Check your Battery

We all have had our car batteries run out when we need it the most. We all faced the situation where we are left stranded on the road in the middle of the nights with just the lights of our cell phones. It isn't a pretty situation, especially with the unsafe roads in Port-Harcourt Nigeria!

It does not matter if the manufacturer claims that the battery is maintenance-free, you still have to regularly check your car battery to extend its life. Start by keeping your battery terminals clean. You may wipe it with a damp rag with some detergent if needed. Also check the battery case for any sign of damage. Cracks or bulges are signs that your car battery needs to be replaced (IKOKUONLINE is your go to guy for original car batteries in Port-Harcourt, Nigeria).

3) Change engine oil and filter regularly

Many car owner’s manual today recommend increasing the interval between oil changes. But frequent oil change is still necessary especially if you are maintaining a used car. Frequent oil changes flush abrasive dirt and metal particles out of the engine, thus prolonging its life.

Change the oil filters because the old filters contain buildup of oil and dirt particles that will otherwise remain and mix with the new, clean oil.

4) Take care of your tyres

Check your tyre pressure at regular intervals and keep them inflated to the recommended pressure specified in your user manual. Another thing to look out for is uneven wear. If you have properly maintained the tyre pressure, then uneven wear might suggest that it is time for wheel realignment. Uneven wear also suggests worn-out brakes or shock absorbers, a bent wheel or internal tyre damage.

Also have your wheel alignment checked every 50,000 km. Improper wheel alignment shortens the life of your tyres as well as causes steering problems. See if your steering is stiffer than usual or if your car pulls to one side. If it does, you need to have your wheel alignment checked.

5) Clean your car engine

Wash your engine at least every year. A clean engine runs cooler than a dirty one. A clean engine also enables you to easily spot leaks and service its components. You may have your engine professionally steam cleaned (IKOKUONLINE can help with that) or you may opt to do it yourself.

In this case, make sure you protect sensitive engine components including the air intake, distributor and electrical parts with plastic bags before getting started. You may use a grease-cutting detergent and a bristle brush to scrub the engine. Make sure to rinse thoroughly once done.

6) Change your Spark Plugs

If you notice that your engine is not working efficiently, then the reason probably is the spark plugs. If not checked if they wear out easily and will be covered in a buildup. Check and get them replaced if needed.

They usually last for 30,000 miles; see the owner's manual for an accurate idea as it is specifically written for your car and gives better details.

7) Clean your Windshields and Replace the Wipers

The dirty windshield can prove to be a lot of hassle if they are not cleaned regularly and can cause accidents too. It is very important for the driver to get the perfect and clear view of the road for safe driving. If you don't clean them the dirt and the dirt gets accumulated there and can cause the quality of the glass to deteriorate.

If the rainy season is approaching, do check your wipers and get them replaced whenever needed. Using damaged wipers can cause scratches to the glass and obstruct your view, which will lead to replacing your windshield altogether.

8) Check your Brakes

Movies have a scene of brakes failing to cause the car crashing into places. While we might not read much into this scene, don't make this your reality as it is a very tricky and risky situation to be in. If your brake system is efficient, then your car will be very youthful and last longer.

It also ensures a very safe driving for the passengers in the car and also the people around you. Getting your brakes checked and replaced is like changing your car's oil, Simple and easy.

There is a very easy way to check your brake fluid; this will prove that the system is working properly. But if the color is little to the dark side then that's the car signaling you to change it. The dark black color indicates that the fluid is filled with rubber and rest and you should replace the fluid as soon as possible.

To make the brake system more durable, you should replace it completely every two years. Also if your car is more than seven years old then change the rubber brake lines for smooth driving (again, IKOKUONLINE is your go to guy for original car parts in Port-Harcourt, Nigeria).

9) Don’t underestimate the power of wax.

If you want to protect your car, waxing it can make a big difference, absorbing scratches that would otherwise eat at the paint and offering some protection from weathering. You don’t even need to use particularly expensive or high-end car wax to make a real improvement. Waxing will also keep your car shinier, and can even help clean up clouded headlights.)

10) Protect the Interior of your Car

We spend a lot of time in our cars now and having a worn out interior is just not comfortable anymore. You will always find smudges on the windows and scratches on the dashboard.

The best way to maintain the interior is to do a quick clean whenever you get out of your car. Keep a cleaning spray, and an extra rag of cloth handy and your car will always be clean and brand new.

In today's world, we live in our cars. So it only seems logical to maintain it as we spend most of our day there. Road trips can prove to be a lot more fun if your car is up to speed and gives you good performance.

It's important to note that cleaning and moisturizing your car interior a few times a year can extend its lifespan and give you a leg-up when it comes to reselling. Standard cleaning products, such as leather conditioner for leather seats, are fine.

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