We all know someone who keeps their car in meticulous and mint condition. There’s the handwashing expert, whose fingers surprisingly haven’t turned into actual prunes (yet). Then you’ve got the stickler for monthly oil changes and tire rotations. And let’s not forget about the car owner who refuses to drive you anywhere unless you wear disposable shoe covers.
But you’re not like them, are you? When it comes to taking care of your car, you march to the beat of your own drum, always go against the grain, and wear socks with sandals—or you’re just lazy. And that’s okay because keeping up with car maintenance doesn’t mean 24/7 monitoring or constant visits to your mechanic. Just follow our 10 auto maintenance tips to become the most knowledgeable lazy car owner you know.
10. Pump Up Your Tire
Proper tire pressure can mean the difference between getting a flat and making it home in time for dinner. Fill them up to the recommended PSI based on your particular make and model—these numbers are almost always found in the driver’s door jamb, though you can also check your vehicle’s manual—and never overlook the TPMS warning light if it flashes on your dash.
9. Install New Windshield Wipers (& Fluid)
All drivers like having a clear vision of the road. The best way to ensure your windshield isn’t covered in bug “juice” is to change your wiper blades at least once per year, typically after the winter season. And if your wiper fluid is depleted, change that, too. If you’re from Phoenix, you know how useful it can be after a sandstorm flies by.
8. Check the Battery
Car battery maintenance isn’t an everyday practice, but you should try to stay up on it at least once per year. A typical car battery has a lifespan of 4 to 5 years, so if our math is correct, that’s 4 or 5 check-ups on your end. Should your battery start to corrode—you’ll see crusty white on the metal + and – terminals—it may be time to install a new one, lest you’d like to swap out your alternator. Car batteries cost about $100, which is far cheaper than what a new alternator would set you back.
7. Test Your Lights & Signals
Not only are your car lights and turn signals essential for driving safely, but they’re also important if you’d like to avoid a traffic fine from the “fuzz.” They’re also very easy to inspect.
- Headlights – Just flash the high and low beams in the dark. Check.
- Tail lights – Park your car with the rear facing a wall or (better yet) a store window. Tap the brakes. Check.
- Turn signals – Put your car in park and hit your hazards. Walk around the exterior. Check.
6. Easily Remove Bumper Stickers
If you’re looking to sell your car or use it as a trade-in — our Valley Honda Dealers will gladly take it — you’ll want to remove all your “Perot ‘92” bumper sticker first.
Start by peeling back a corner of the sticker. Spritz WD-40 on the sticky surface while simultaneously peeling it further back ever so slowly. If any residue is left on the bumper, you can wipe it clean with a specialty auto surface cleaner or some orange-scented Goo Gone.
5. Change Engine Coolant
Coolant isn’t just to keep your car cool in the figurative sense, it’s also there to ensure the hood doesn’t start smoking on your way to an interview. Luckily for you, coolant very rarely needs to be flushed and replaced. Still, if you’ve owned your car for more than a few years, it’s best to double-check the coolant level. If it’s time to replace the fluid, only use coolant that’s recommended by your model’s manufacturer.
4. Keep an Emergency Kit in the Trunk
While not a maintenance tip per se, having an emergency roadside kit can keep you out of trouble in the event of an accident, flat, or inclement weather. Your kit should include road flares or safety cones, jumper cables, nonperishable foods (granola bars are yummy), spare water, blankets, and all the tools needed to get your hands dirty under the hood.
3. Change the Oil
Years ago, the common recommendation when it came to oil changes was to perform them every 3,000 miles (or after 3 months). But that’s not necessary, and doing so wastes good car oil. Instead, experts now agree that most new and late-model cars can make due with oil changes every 7,000 to 10,000 miles, or once per year*. Although we don’t really get a winter season here in Phoenix, performing an oil change when spring begins is still the best strategy.
*Always follow your manufacturer’s recommendation when it comes to oil change intervals.
2. Lease a Car
Owning a car may come with tangible benefits—resale value, for one—but it also means you’re responsible for far more car maintenance tasks. When you lease a new car, you’re effectively giving up the bulk of those responsibilities in exchange for a highly dependable vehicle. All you’re left to do is keep it out of harm’s way and perform tire rotations and oil changes regularly.
(Check out our amazing Honda lease deals!)
1. Just Visit Our Phoenix Service Centers
When in doubt of your aptitude for auto maintenance, bring your vehicle in for a tune-up at one of our Valley Honda Dealers’ service centers in the Phoenix area. We have certified Honda technicians that are qualified to perform maintenance and car repairs on all Honda models and most other vehicle makes. And we’ll do it all with care, so you don’t have to.
Find your nearest Valley Honda Dealers location online to schedule a service appointment, or feel free to look at our inventories of new Honda models for sale and lease. We have new and used car dealerships and repair shops in Phoenix, Tempe, Scottsdale, Mesa, and the surrounding Arizona areas.