Whether you drive a Mustang or a beater, no matter how much it frustrates you, you probably still love your car (or, at least appreciate it getting you from point A to point B). Our vehicles are like our homes away from home. The last thing you want to do is neglect the tasks that need to be done to keep your car running like it should.

HERE ARE FIVE IMPORTANT TASKS TO KEEP YOUR CAR RUNNING WELL:

1. GET THE OIL CHANGED

“I know I’m already several hundred miles over the recommended mileage, but I can go a few more days without an oil change.”

You can, but you shouldn’t. Dirty or low oil is TERRIBLE for your vehicle. Get your oil changed routinely to keep you car running well. Don’t like how expensive oil changes are? Either learn to change it yourself, or look around for the specials mechanics and oil change shops are running regularly; the place where I get my oil changed offers really cheap oil changes between 6 AM and 8 AM!

2. CHECK TIRE PRESSURE AND CHANGE TIRES AS NEEDED

Driving on a tire with not enough air in it could leave you stranded on the side of the road with a flat tire. Checking your tire pressure is easy-do it regularly and fill up as needed! You should also pay attention to the state of your tires. Tires that are getting worn down aren’t the best for your traction, especially during the winter. Go talk to your mechanic about the state of your tires, and get their recommendations for new or used options (or they might just tell you they need to be rotated).

PC: America Top 10

3. GO TO THE CAR WASH

You don’t necessarily need to wash your car constantly throughout the year, but as we’re leaving the winter months and entering spring, it is a necessity. The salt that gets down on the roads makes your car rust, effectively eating away at the metal. Choose a car wash that blasts the vehicle’s undercarriage as well; it’s no good removing salt and rust-causing substances from the body of the car if it’s eating away underneath.

And yes, coughing up a few dollars to go to an actual car wash is a much better option than polluting the local water supply with the run off from your vehicle.

4. CHECK FLUIDS MONTHLY

I’m 20 years old, and I’m on my second vehicle because I didn’t catch a transmission fluid leak in my first car before it killed my transmission, causing such an expensive repair that it wasn’t worth it to fix the problem. Check your the levels on at least your transmission fluid and your oil monthly at minimum. Catching leaks early may save you repair money, and your car definitely will run better if fluid levels are where they’re supposed to be.

PC: Auto Trans Matic

5. HAVE VEHICLE INSPECTED REGULARLY

Finally, take your car into the mechanic at LEAST once a year (but typically, twice a year or at a certain mileage if you’re driving thousands and thousands of miles in a year). Yes, you may have to pay the time cost just to find out that everything’s running well in your car, but isn’t that peace of mind worth it? And, if you’re on top of things, you might catch a necessary repair early on, saving you repair money and keeping your car from stranding you somewhere.

As always, make sure you read through the owner’s manual in your vehicle to find out what specific things it requires. Happy driving!

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