A Practical Guide to Car Repair For First-time Owners

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First-time car buyers should be aware that owning a vehicle requires keen attention and care. Cars need regular maintenance and inspection to continue running with ease. However, it’s a requirement that involves time and money. Investing in routine car maintenance and repair, like having professionals fix the head gasket of your Subaru to prevent overheating your engine, can be pricey — but it has many benefits to offer long-term.

For that reason, here are all the vehicle maintenance and repairs that every first-time car owner should know.

Changing the Car’s Oil

When getting a new car, the first maintenance you need to know is regularly checking and changing its oil. Doing this helps ensure the smooth running of your vehicle, all while prolonging the engine’s lifespan. Learning how to change your car’s oil is one of the most crucial skills you need to have for car maintenance and repair.

Check the Battery’s Charge

A dead car battery can be dangerous and may also leave you stranded, and the worse part is, it can sneak up on car owners without them noticing any signs of wear and tear. Although most car batteries have warranties that last up to five to six years, it’s not uncommon for them to last less than that period before requiring a replacement. That’s why when changing your oil, check your car’s battery voltage, and if you notice it dropping in significant amounts, it’s time to replace the battery.

Replacing the Spark Plugs

Spark plugs are small devices inside a car’s cylinder that create sparks, igniting the gasoline and ultimately powering your vehicle. However, spark plugs wear out every 10,000 miles or so, depending on the car type — and this is a menial task that every car owner should know. After all, having faulty spark plugs can lead your overall engine to fail, which can be dangerous when you’re on the road.

Check Hoses and Belts

If you’ve got a second-hand car as your new ride, you’ll need to pay more attention to its maintenance. Older vehicles are especially susceptible to having faulty air hoses and timing or serpentine belts since these two can only generally last up to 60,000 miles or more. That’s why it’s wise to pay attention to these parts and look for any signs of wear and tear. After all, a broken timing belt can damage your entire engine, and leaky hoses can also have catastrophic consequences.

All in all, it’s a good idea to check these things thoroughly every time you change your car’s oil. Plus, even if you’ve got a freshly manufactured vehicle, it’s wise to check your hoses and belts regularly to help it stay brand new.

man changing the tire

Changing a Flat Tire

Even if you get a new car, its tires can still go flat. After all, driving on different road conditions can be unpredictable. That’s why as a new car owner, to ensure your safety, it’s best to learn how to change a flat tire. It can be a lifesaving skill that you can use for your future vehicle purchases.

Check and Replace Wiper Blades

Driving under heavy rain or snow can be dangerous, so you’ll need to have functioning wiper blades. As a new car owner, you need to make sure your wiper blades are in good condition to ensure your safety, especially during wintertime. The wiper blades are made from rubber and will eventually wear out over time, and old wiper blades typically leave streaks, making it challenging to see through.

It’s best to test your wiper blades every month using a brief spritz of your washer fluid. However, you’ll only need to replace wiper blades twice a year or less, depending on how much you use them.

Replacing Headlight or Taillights

Having broken headlights and taillights can be a considerable inconvenience and safety hazard. That’s why as a new car owner, you need to change them as soon as you notice them beginning to fade. Even if the frame is the only one broken, you still need to change the entire headlight or taillight. Plus, having a broken headlight or taillight is illegal in many states, so to save yourself money and ensure your safety on the road, remember to check these parts regularly.

Getting a new car can be exciting, but it comes with many significant responsibilities. It’s best to keep your vehicle at optimal operational standard for the best performance long-term — and familiarizing yourself with the repair and maintenance required, such as those mentioned, can be a great start.

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