In this day and age, your car is just as valuable as a horse was back in the 1800’s. Keeping your transportation well maintained is extremely important, but there are still a large number of people who are unsure about exactly what steps they need to take to make sure their vehicle stays in tip top shape. There are a few basic things that you can do to ensure this, however.

One of the first things that you absolutely have to do is keep your oil changed regularly. This is the one thing that your local service station will make sure and give you a reminder of, because after they change it, they will often put a sticker on your windshield that lets you know what your odometer will read when you need to bring it back. Most of the time you’ll have to change your oil every 3,000 miles, but if you stretch it you can go 4,000 miles before noticing any substantial amount of performance drop in your vehicle.

Whatever you do, though, don’t forget your tires. Having good quality tires that are all the same size and are inflated properly is extremely important to prevent car accidents. Over-inflated tires can cause the tire to wear out much faster in the center than on the outside, but under-inflated tires can cause blowouts. In vehicles that are high off the ground, such as SUVs, can roll over as a result of a tire blowout. Keep your own tire gauge in your vehicle so you can test it when airing your tires up, because the gauges on air pumps at gas stations are often inaccurate at best.

Keep an eye on your battery. Without a good battery, your car obviously won’t start. Having a decent set of jumper cables is an absolute must, especially if you’re going on a road trip. Ending up on the side of the interstate in the middle of nowhere at night isn’t advisable, whether you’re riding alone or in a group. If you’re keeping a vehicle in storage, remember to take it out and drive it at least once a month. If you don’t, you run the risk of having a dead battery when you do decide to take it out.

Transmission fluid is also important, because it acts as the lubricant for all of the parts inside your transmission. Much like the oil that you have to change on a regular basis, transmission fluid needs to be changed, also, but on a different schedule depending on the type of transmission that you have. If manual, most manufacturers recommend changing it every 30,000 to 60,000 miles. If you really abuse your vehicle, though, changing it every 15,000 is necessary. If it’s an automatic transmission, the service interval is anywhere from 60,000 to 100,000 miles.

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