5 Tips to Avoid Major Car Expenses

Photo credit: Bigstock
Photo credit: Bigstock

If you want your engine to last longer and to work right in everyday life, you need to make sure that all of these fluids are always at least above minimum. Each fluid has its own role and they are all more or less important, but most important are the oil and water/coolant.

If your car lacks any of these fluids it is going to break down for sure making you spend some serious money. Good thing to all this, you can prevent this and you don’t need a mechanic to help you out. Keep in mind that each car brand is different, but they all work on the same principle.

Change engine oil regularly

As soon as we start driving, we all need to learn how to check the engine oil level. This is one of the most important things and you need to make sure that your engine has oil in it if you want to avoid some major breakdowns.

Oil’s role is to lubricate all the engine’s moving parts, and without it, engine would seize up. If you know anything about cars, you know that seized engine is bad as it gets.

If you drive a fairly new car, all you need to do is a take it for a regular oil change. Oil changes are also very important, because oil loses its lubricating properties with mileage and time.

If you drive used car with some mileage on it, you need to check your oil regularly, at least once a month. Cars tend to spend some oil, even if there are no leaks, so habit of checking your oil could save you some serious money.

In case you drive an older car which has some oil leaks, you need to be on top of the problem. Chances are that it might cost a lot of money to fix it and if you are not in the right situation moneywise, or it just is not worth it, check your oil once every week and top it off.

It is best to check the oil in the morning before you start the car, all of the oil will be on the bottom and you’ll get the correct measurement. All you have to do is check the dipstick and make sure that the oil is between two (max-min) dots or notches.

Of course it is best is the oil is close to max level, but there is no danger if there is less, unless is it’s low or below the min level. If your car ran before you checked the oil, you should aim the max 2 millimeters before the max dot, because there is still oil on engine parts. To add oil all you need to do is remove the engine oil cap and add oil, after you finish, make sure everything is in its place.

 Photo credit: Bigstock
Photo credit: Bigstock

Check coolant

This is just as important as oil. If there isn’t enough coolant in engine, it will overheat causing major breakdown. First indicator that your car might be low on coolant is increase in its optimal working temperature. So if your car reaches the temperature of 90 degrees when it gets hot, that temperature will start rising as time passes.

Most important thing is that you check the coolant level when car is cold, otherwise it could blow the hot coolant out and injure you. All you need to do is make sure that coolant is between max and min line marked on the reservoir. If the problem persists and the car’s temperature starts rising again it is the indication that you have a leak in you cooling system.

If you have some car knowledge and you want to tackle this problem yourself, let the car get warm and the coolant inside will start leaking, if you are lucky, in a visible area. If it’s only a hose, it is easy to replace, but leak in a radiator could be more expensive.

 Photo credit: Bigstock
Photo credit: Bigstock

Check brake fluid

As our logic tells us, the brakes are the most important thing on the car, they are the ones keeping us from crashing. That’s why you need to take care of your brakes, not just the brake fluid but the brake pads also, and you should even check the brake lines from time to time. If your brakes are getting softer, you might need new brake pads or brake fluid might be low.

Since it’s cheaper, check the brake fluid level first. Make sure it’s between max-min lines and if you need to add more, make sure you get the adequate oil.

If you notice that you’re losing oil, you need to solve this problem immediately. Whether it’s brake lines, bad cylinder or whatever, it could spell disaster for you and your family. Even though oil and coolant are most important when it comes to the engine life, you need to have a working brakes to keep yourself, and people around you safe.

 Photo credit: Bigstock
Photo credit: Bigstock

Check power steering

First indicator that your power steering fluid is low is stiff steering wheel and weird noise coming from power steering pump. You can fix this simply by adding more fluid. Make sure that fluid is on the right level. If the problem persists, you might have a leak in your system, or a bad power steering pump. Even though low power steering fluid might cause a breakdown and thus cost you money, it is not going to present an immediate problem.

If you leave the power steering pump without oil and it goes bad, with you on the road, the worst thing that could happen to you is stiff steering that you have to battle on your way home, and of course you are going to have some expenses to fix it all, but it’s not going to shut down the whole car leaving you stranded. However, it is better to prevent the breakdown than to let it hit you on the pocket.

 Photo credit: Bigstock
Photo credit: Bigstock

Check transmission fluid

Oil in the transmission is just as important as the oil in the engine. Transmissions are complicated, especially automatic, they have a bunch of parts and they need a proper lubrication. When it comes to automatic transmission, oil also cools it. It is simple to check, you have dipstick usually behind the engine.

Also check the color, if it’s dirty you need to change it as soon as possible. Manual transmissions are little harder to check, you need to get to the screw on the transmission, unscrew it and check the level.

However, manual transmissions don’t need as much maintenance as automatic ones, they are more durable and less complicated. If you don’t change your transmission oil regularly, prepare for a costly breakdown. When it comes to automatic transmissions, it is all about maintenance. It might cost you some money to maintain it, but if you don’t, it is going to cost you some major money sooner or later.