There Are Still Car Maintenance Tasks You Can Perform At Home

The best way to keep your car rolling for as long as possible is to keep it well maintained. While changes in how automobiles are made and repaired mean that it’s hard to do as much maintenance in your front yard than a few decades ago, there are some tasks that can save you money and time later on and that you can perform at home yourself without extensive auto repair training.

Our high-mileage colleagues down the hall at Consumer Reports shared a few ideas for car maintenance tasks that you can perform at home.

Keep your car clean and waxed. That might sound overly simple, but it isn’t: soaping up your car by hand gives you a chance to inspect it for minor dings or rust spots that you can catch now. Wax protects the paint and keeps your car looking new. Keeping the exterior dirt-free might be harder in some seasons than others, but still helps keep your car whole and helps with its resale value.

Keep your headlights bright. Instead of waiting until the plastic surrounding your headlight assembly is cloudy and doesn’t let light escape, give the lights a polish. There are kits made just for this purpose. (It’s possible to use toothpaste, but not necessarily a good idea if you don’t know what you’re doing.) Maybe do this at the same time that you wax your car.

Light bulbs. You change the light bulbs in your house, so why not in your car, too? Your car’s service manual is easy to find online, and will tell you how to access different lights that might need replacing.

Windshield wipers. You can get these from dealerships, online, and often at your local Walmart, but they’re simple to swap out. Switching them out when winter comes or when they start to fray is a good safety precaution.

Coolant. Your car’s maintenance schedule will tell you when the coolant needs to be changed, but look at the reservoir whenever you happen to have the hood open to be sure. Coolant is inexpensive, but be sure to pay attention to the precise mix that you need and whether you’re buying premixed or you need to add water. Check with a mechanic to find out what type of coolant your car should use.

How to save money on car maintenance [Consumer Reports]