If you want to ensure your vehicle’s longevity, you need to keep up with regular maintenance. This includes checking your owner’s manual to see if any tasks need to be done regularly. The sheds at modern steel buildings can also do wonders for your car’s longevity.

You don’t need to be a certified mechanic or have a garage full of tools to perform most car maintenance tasks. You can even do some maintenance yourself, without risking voiding your warranty!

1. Changing the Oil

One of the most important parts of car maintenance is changing the oil. This involves taking the old oil out of the engine and replacing it with new oil and an engine oil filter. This keeps the engine healthy and optimizes its performance. Old motor oil can break down and collect harmful particles that can damage the engine. Fresh, clean oil keeps the engine from overheating and lubricates the moving parts to prevent excessive friction that creates heat.

The best way to keep track of when to change the oil is to follow the manufacturer’s recommendation in your owner’s manual. However, if you use synthetic oil, you can sometimes go a bit longer between changes depending on your driving habits and conditions.

Be sure to get the right amount of oil, as overfilling it will damage the engine. When you’re done, make sure the drain plug is tight and replace the oil filter. You may need a special tool to open the bit on the top of the engine that houses the filter. Lastly, be sure to fill up the gas tank and check under the car to ensure there are no oil leaks. Also, be sure to check the dipstick regularly.

2. Changing the Filter

In order to run properly, your engine needs a precise mix of air and fuel. The engine air filter helps to ensure that the correct air gets into your engine. It’s a small pleated unit, usually made of either engineered material or paper-based, multifiber cotton. This filter helps to keep dirt and dust out of your engine, which could otherwise damage it over time.

If you notice that your vehicle is not driving as well as it used to, this may be a sign that the filter is dirty and in need of replacement. Generally, you should replace your filter every 15,000 miles. However, this recommendation varies by manufacturer, and you should check your owner’s manual to be sure.

Changing the filter is one of the easiest car maintenance jobs that you can do yourself. Just look under the hood of your vehicle to locate the filter housing. The filter is usually held in place by a simple clip, screw, wing nut, or clamp. It should come off easily with a few turns, and you can then simply remove the old filter and install the new one. This is an easy way to improve your gas mileage and help to maintain a high resale value for your vehicle.

3. Changing the Battery

Car batteries aren’t optional – they do several essential jobs inside the vehicle. They make it possible to turn on the air vents, check the dashboard lights and listen to the radio without starting the engine. However, once a battery starts to go bad, these functions won’t work anymore.

It’s important to know how to change your car battery and when it’s time for a replacement. But if you’re not familiar with the process, it’s often a better idea to let an experienced technician handle it for you. That way, you can be sure your car is safe to drive once the job is done.

First, turn off your vehicle’s engine and put it in Park. Then, loosen the nut that holds the battery cable clamps to the terminals, using a wrench or a socket and ratchet. Be sure to disconnect the negative (black) cable first before loosening the positive (red) cable. Once the cables are disconnected, you’ll need to lift out the battery, using a pair of gloves if necessary. It can be very heavy, so be careful! Also, don’t forget to wipe down the terminal connectors with a damp cloth to remove any corrosive battery acid.

4. Changing the Tires

When your tires are worn out or damaged, it’s time to replace them. It’s also important to rotate them regularly. This helps with even tread wear and helps extend their life.

Your car’s manufacturer recommends a specific tire size for optimal performance. Changing to a different tire size can compromise the handling and safety of your vehicle. It can also affect your fuel efficiency, noise level and other driving characteristics.

A quick visual inspection can tell you if it’s time to change your tires. Your tires should have tread depth that is at least two-thirty seconds (2/32) of an inch deep and the treads should be uniformly worn without any obvious irregularities. Most DOT-regulated tires have tread wear indicators built in, which appear as bars or ribs that rise up from the bottom of the treads when it’s time to change them.

It’s a good idea to have the equipment you need to change a tire in your car, such as a spare, jack and wrench. Keep them in a place that’s easy to find when you need them, such as the trunk or cargo area. Never try to change a tire on an incline or in an unsafe location, such as the side of the road.

5. Changing the Wiper Blades

A clear windshield is important, and the best way to ensure that is to regularly replace the wiper blades. Wiper blades can wear down from regular use or they may become damaged from hacking ice off the windshield in winter, rough handling at a car wash, or even just the natural wear and tear over time.

Changing the wiper blades is a relatively quick and easy job. Before beginning, double up a bath towel and place it over your windshield to protect the glass in case the wiper arm accidentally snaps back against it during removal. Begin by pulling the wiper arm away from the glass, then finding the small shiny retaining clips at the end of the blade refill. Pinch them together with a pair of pliers, and the old blade should easily slide off of the arm.

When it comes to buying new blades, shop around. Prices vary, and you want to make sure that the blades are the right length for your vehicle. If you’re unsure, many parts stores have printed guides in the wiper blade section that will point you to the blades that are compatible with your car. Alternatively, online auto parts sites like Amazon allow you to search by your vehicle info to find compatible products.

6. Changing the Brake Pads

Whether they’re made of metallic, organic, ceramic, or some other material, your car’s brake pads work to convert the kinetic energy you create while driving into thermal energy. Over time, the heat they generate slowly degrades them, causing them to wear out. The good news is that most modern cars are designed to warn you when the brake pads are nearing the end of their life. You’ll typically hear a high-pitched, metallic squeal, or see a warning light on the dashboard that indicates it’s time to change them.

While replacing the brake pads is a relatively simple, do-it-yourself project, it’s not something you want to put off for too long. Worn brake pads make it much harder to stop the car, and they also put unnecessary stress on other braking system components like the rotors.

You should replace your car’s brake pads in pairs (front or rear), and always replace the front pads before the rear ones. Depending on the car, you may be able to rotate them instead of changing all four at once. You should also check the rotors for signs of damage or warping; these can cause other issues with the braking system.

7. Changing the Timing Belt

The timing belt is perhaps one of the most important parts of your car and should be replaced regularly. This simple piece of rubber ensures that the engine’s pistons operate in perfect synchronization with the valves to deliver the correct mix of fuel and air to keep your vehicle running properly.

Timing belts are usually made of reinforced rubber and fit around gears mounted on the crankshaft and camshaft(s) to synchronize these two components for proper engine operation. Some vehicles have a metal timing chain instead of a belt, but both function similarly by keeping the engine in time with its various moving parts.

Changing the belt is a relatively simple job, but it should be done according to the manufacturer’s schedule, which can be found in your owner’s manual. A worn belt can cause the valves to open or close when they should not, leading to internal damage and potentially thousands of dollars worth of repair bills.

It is also a good idea to replace the water pump at the same time, since these components are often interconnected and are subject to the same wear as the belt. When performing this type of work, remember that the engine and its parts can be very hot, so it is best to follow all safety procedures when working under the hood.