(BPT) – Supply shortages and production delays have made it tough to find a new car in 2021, which means many people might consider holding on to their vehicles for longer. In order to extend the life of their vehicles, many drivers may choose to conduct more maintenance at home, such as tire pressure checks, topping up fluids and performing other systems checks to ensure the vehicle is mechanically sound. Here are four tips to make the most of at-home maintenance.
Consult your manual
While it might be tempting to simply pop the hood and make repairs on the fly, it’s always a good idea to first double-check the manual. According to Hankook Tire’s latest Gauge Index survey, only 1 in 4 Americans (23%) reported turning to this important guide when doing maintenance on their vehicles, an oversight that could prove costly: Vehicle manuals offer tips and warnings specific to that vehicle, as well as instructions on the right fluids to keep it running reliably.
Keep a log of your checks and repairs
When conducting maintenance on a vehicle, or diagnosing a fault, it can be helpful to have a detailed log of any previous work done. A simple notebook with dates and details of fluid top-ups, tire pressure checks and garage visits can give the owner, as well as any service professional, a clear picture of what needs to be maintained or fixed next. And it can help with spotting any red flags, such as highlighting that certain fluids are being used far quicker than expected, indicating a fault.
Conduct maintenance checks before long-distance travel
With the majority of Americans (61%) still feeling most comfortable traveling long-distance by car, checking your vehicle before a road trip is more important than ever. It’s bad enough to suffer a mechanical problem in any situation, but dealing with a breakdown halfway to the family cabin or while taking your eldest to college is something no one wants to experience. That’s a fear shared by 40% of Americans, who worry about an under-the-hood issue or a flat tire affecting their road trip.
That’s why 70% of Americans make sure to check their vehicle fluids and 69% check their tire pressure before a long-distance journey. It can help to take time the day before traveling to make any maintenance checks. Remember that tire pressure is best checked right before setting off as it can fluctuate when a vehicle is left idle.
Turn to a professional when the time is right – but don’t wait too long!
There are plenty of day-to-day tasks that can help keep a vehicle running smoothly. But many of us still find it important to turn to our car dealers or garages for a regular, thorough inspection: 1 in 3 Americans (32%) say they feel safer getting maintenance done by a professional.
So how often should that appointment be scheduled? Over 40% of Americans reported using their mileage as a marker when scheduling a professional maintenance visit. But it’s important to remember that professional maintenance visits need to be scheduled every 3,000 miles or six months — whichever comes sooner. And with many Americans are driving less than two years ago, the calendar may be a more important tool than the odometer to keep vehicles running fault-free.
Did you know? Most Americans (79%) can recite the year, make and model of their vehicle from memory. But only 1 in 3 (34%) can remember their license plate number!