Having a car can feel like a burden with all the different things to keep track of, so once in a while it’s a good idea to give it a basic tune up. Doing this isn’t too hard, but if you allow yourself at least one day every month or every two months to check the vitals, you will find that the lifespan of your vehicle is likely to increase. Once you learn the basics of how your car functions, you will be able to tell right away when something isn’t working right. So here is a basic checklist for you to refer to when giving your car an inspection.

Giving Your Car A Basic Tune Up

1. The first thing to do is to check your oil because this is pretty much the lifeblood of the machine. It is important to look at this regularly to ensure that you won’t run into bigger problems, and also keep some extra on hand so that you can top it off if needed. The best time to do this is after the engine has had a few minutes to cool down, and then take the dipstick and wipe it off on a paper towel or dirty rag. If it comes out extremely black, then you know it’s time to change it completely.

2. Next, check the tire levels and the other basic fluids inside the car. As far as the tires go, use a pressure gauge to see how much air is in them and refer to your owner’s guide to compare with what levels they should be at. The other liquids to inspect are the brake, radiator, power steering and windshield wiper fluids. All of these substances are essential to keeping your car intact and running smoothly because they rely on each other to maintain the basic health of the overall vehicle.

3. Following the fluids, it’s a good idea to also test your brakes and lights. The brakes will notify you that they are wearing out simply by how they function. If they make a terrible screeching noise or take a long time to come to a stop, then you know they will need to be changed. Headlights and taillights are sometimes hard to spot since many streets nowadays are very well lit and you could be driving with a light out for a while and not notice. This is liable to get you a ticket if you run into a police officer, so it’s best to just check them yourself while you are safe at home and off the roads.

4. For basic tune up guidelines, it’s a well-known rule of thumb to completely change out your oil every 3,000 miles. If you have a suspicion that this time is approaching, it might be best to just take the initiative and change it out even if it isn’t turning too black just yet. Oil is relatively cheap and you can do it yourself at home, or you can always take it to your local automobile shop where they will often do it for anywhere between $25-$70, depending on what kind of car you have and what kind of oil you want to use.

5. Replace your windshield wipers if necessary. If you live somewhere that rains quite a bit you will definitely not want to be without a good set of wipers. In addition to that, also check out your car’s spark plugs to see if they need replacing as well. The spark plugs are important for the car’s fuel combustion system and having a bad set may cause you to stall while driving.

6. Lastly, replace your car’s air filter if needed. The filters are located on top of the engine and even if you do not buy a totally new one, at least clean out the old one. Doing so can drastically increase the lifespan of your car and your engine.

Written by the staff at KB Tire & Auto. KB Tire & Auto is the leading expert in auto repair Moberly MOhas to offer.