Have you suddenly found yourself with some free time on your hands? If so, there are a few easy vehicle maintenance projects that you can do with minimal prep right at home. These aren’t complicated projects and most need only basic tools and supplies. So before you start watching the entire “Lord of the Rings” trilogy again, take some time for easy vehicle maintenance that will pay off dividends later.
Wash Your Car
This may seem basic, but having a clean car makes a big difference in how you feel when driving. Washing your car can also help protect your paint and sheetmetal from mud, road salt, or even pollen damage. If you are feeling inspired you can also give your vehicle a fresh coat of wax to really bring out the shine.
Check Your Tire Pressure
Proper tire pressure is key to safe handling, good fuel mileage, and efficient tire wear. All you need is a simple tire pressure gauge. Make sure the front and back tires have the exact tire pressure recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. Most vehicles have a sticker on the front driver door frame specifying the correct tire pressure, as well as inside the vehicle owner’s manual.
Vacuum Your Car
If you already washed your car, then the next step is a good vacuuming of the interior. Any vacuum with a handheld nozzle will do. Take out all the floor mats, move the seats all the way forward/backward, empty the cup holders, really get into all the places that debris accumulates over time. If you have a pressure washer give the floor mats a rinse using a 40-degree tip and let them dry for a few hours.
Rotate Your tires
Speaking of efficient tire wear this maintenance step usually gets overlooked. Depending on the vehicle, driving style, and even road type your tires can wear unevenly. You will need a floor jack and jack stands to perform this task safely. How often and which rotation pattern you should follow can be found in your owner’s manual.
Check Your Belts
Most vehicles have a belt or two under the hood that need to be replaced eventually. Serpentine belts and V-belts are usually right out in the open so they can be seen rather easily. Get a flashlight and look for any signs or cracking, fraying, uneven wear, or damaged ribbing. If things are suspect, make a note so you can get to your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store or NAPA AutoCare Center for a replacement when you have time.
Check Your Fluids
When was the last time you checked your brake fluid? Or any other fluid besides oil? Be honest, it has probably been a while (if ever). Your vehicle relies on a variety of fluids that need to be checked on a regular basis. Your best plan of action is to open your owner’s manual and find the maintenance section. In it there should be a picture showing the location of each fluid reservoir, as well as how to check for proper level. Before starting make sure the vehicle is parked on a level surface so the readings will be accurate.
These easy vehicle maintenance tips are a great way to get a feel for the overall health of your vehicle. Getting hands-on and up close can help spot problems before they cause bigger issues.
Check out all the maintenance parts available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on easy vehicle maintenance ideas, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
With an automotive writing career spanning over two decades, Brian has a passion for sharing the automotive lifestyle. An avid DIYer he can usually be found working on one of this many project cars. His current collection includes a 1969 Olds Delta 88 convertible and a slant-6 powered 1975 Plymouth Duster.