Becoming an adult: car maintenance


Ashley Tanner

Becoming an adult is a featured series that will help prepare you for college or independence. It will cover a variety of topics that your parents may have helped you with over the years, but soon may not.
Car maintenance is very important. Having to ask people for rides because your car is currently out of order is not fun, so this post is going to cover basic things you can do to keep your car in good shape.
[vc_empty_space][vc_tta_tabs][vc_tta_section title=”Keeping it clean” tab_id=”1462078718067-7972936d-ab3c”]That sounds like a simple fix, but sometimes when life is overwhelming, the car begins to fill up with clothes, trash, water bottles and a million other things.

  1. Clean your car out everyday. Throw away the McDonald’s bag from lunch — it will just make your car smell if you don’t. It may also be helpful to use a trash can. I just bought a cheap Easter egg basket and put a Walmart bag in it.
  2. Every couple of weeks, clean the interior. The method of cleaning varies for the kind of car you drive, but most dashboards are plastic or leather so you can use Pledge, or special car wipes. If your seats are leather, you can use Pledge wipes. If you have cloth seats, vacuuming may just do the trick. If there are stains, there are various kinds of cleaners available in the car aisle at Walmart or other supermarkets. Shake out your mats and vacuum the floor will help keep the interior in great shape as well.
  3. Once a month, or every other, wash the exterior. For a couple dollars, you can go through a drive-thru car wash, or do it yourself at home with a bucket of water and soap.
[/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section title=”Don’t ignore the signs” tab_id=”1462078718438-320294c3-646d”]If something doesn’t feel right, there is most likely a reason.

  1. Pay attention to warning lights, it could be serious. My first car, a 1997 Jeep Cherokee County, had a wire problem that would occasionally cause my “check engine” light to come on. Every time it did, I would drive to O’Reilly’s and have them check to make sure there was nothing wrong. O’Reilly’s offers free check engine light testing and will assist you if there is something wrong.
  2. If you think something is wrong, don’t wait to find out. Sometimes when driving, something will feel wrong or you may smell something you shouldn’t. Don’t panic, but don’t ignore it. If it is a smell, wait a few minutes to see if it goes away. And if the feel of driving has changed, check the tires to see if they are running low on air. There could obviously be more drastic issues, but sometimes not. If your car continues to cause you trouble, talk to someone who is well-versed in cars or take it to a shop to be inspected. It is better to find out the problem now, than when you are on the highway and your car breaks down.
[/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section title=”Simple solutions” tab_id=”1462079199250-92ada756-66ee”]
  1. Change the air filters regularly. There are many reasons for replacing the air filter, but one with a great incentive is that it may increase your gas mileage. Replacing the filter is simple. Auto parts stores should have the kind you need and if you are unsure, they can look it up for you. Make sure you know the make, model and year of your vehicle before you go in. This is a video that will show you how to replace it.
  2. Change windshield wipers when they begin to leave streaks. Keeping your windshield free of rain while driving is very important, but if the wipers are old and worn, they won’t do much good. Here is a video tutorial on how to change your wipers.
[/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section title=”Check ups” tab_id=”1462079301600-ac0aa64d-9450″]Some problems may not be evident, so here is a list of things to check and when they should be checked, according to
Check Every 3 Months or every 3,000 Miles
Automatic Transmission Fluid
This video shows you how to check the levels, as well as how to add more. You may need to do a little research on the location of your car’s transmission location.
Engine Air Filter
(See the how to under simple solutions)carrr
Engine Oil
Power Steering Fluid
Tire Inflation and Condition
Windshield Washer Fluid

Check Every 6 Months or every 6,000 Miles
Wiper Blades
(See simple solutions tab on how to)

Check every 12 Months or every 12,000 miles
Cabin Air Filter*
Coolant (Antifreeze)
Steering and Suspension*
Wheel Alignment*
*check with mechanic or car expert[/vc_tta_section][/vc_tta_tabs][vc_empty_space]If you follow the suggested check ups and pay close attention to how your car is running, your car will hopefully stay in good shape.
This is the final installment of Becoming an Adult. I hope this series has been helpful to you and your path to adulthood.