Heart Certified Auto Care Car Maintenance

Whether you commute daily, ferry your kids to and from classes, or need your car for the weekly grocery shop, keeping your vehicle in top shape means looking after it – just like any other appliance or electronics you own. Maintaining your vehicle and ensuring it is kept up-to-date in all areas can be a great way to improve your vehicle’s life and ensure you’re far less likely to be waiting for a tow truck on the side of the road when you have somewhere to be.

How can you make sure your vehicle maintenance is on-point? We’ve provided all the information, so you don’t need to look anywhere else. Read on to find out more about what maintenance your vehicle needs, why it needs it, and what happens if you don’t keep up:

What is vehicle maintenance?

Vehicle maintenance is often also referred to as preventative maintenance for your car, truck, or other roadworthy vehicles. Essentially, vehicle maintenance is a series of different things you should be doing to keep your vehicle in the best possible condition, much like you need to replace the seal on your washing machine if it becomes thin, or you need to restart your computer to ensure it’s up to date.

As complex machines, vehicles have many different working parts, making it even more essential to keep up with maintenance in all different areas. Here are the main types of vehicle maintenance and checks you should be carrying out on your car or other vehicles regularly:

Filters

Air filters ensure air flows into your engine while keeping out all debris you pick up on the road. Both these filters and filters for air conditioning should be checked regularly to ensure they’re in full working order. In some cases, you will need to periodically change your air filter to ensure it’s effective, while in others, it may be a specialist service. You can always check regularly for damage, debris, or blockages whether or not you can replace the filters yourself.

Oil & Fluids

Checking the oil levels within your car and other fluids such as coolant is a must to reduce the risk of car failure and ensure you don’t end up with an expensive bill on top. In some cases, oil changes will be required, and in other situations, top-ups of fluids are all that’s needed to keep your car engine running smoothly and without problems. You can check your manual to confirm the levels of fluid that should be in your vehicle at any time, and there are often instructions on how to check these levels quickly.

Tires

You shouldn’t wait to check your tires until a puncture or baldness becomes apparent. Instead, checking the tread and condition of your tires regularly is the kind of vehicle maintenance check-up that doesn’t cost a penny in most cases. Knowing when to maintain your car by replacing tires can prevent a range of different problems down the line, and spotting punctures early can save you an expensive bill potentially too. Don’t forget that in colder months, tires lose pressure as the temperature decreases. About 1 psi for every 10 degrees dropped!

Lights

Maintaining your headlights means making sure they’re clean, visible, and in full working order – including your headlights, brake lights, parking lights, and turn signals. Maintenance can be as easy as checking your lights are working regularly, or replacing bulbs on the blink. You can often replace these bulbs yourself, or you can seek professional help if you prefer.

Paintwork

While paintwork isn’t essential to the running of your vehicle, if you take pride in your car, you’ll also want to maintain the protections necessary to keep your paint job looking nice. That may mean paying for professional coatings on a regular schedule to offer around-the-clock protection or simply waxing the car yourself every six months or so. If you love your car’s look, you can maintain it to keep it looking nicer for longer.

Wipers

If you regularly use your vehicle on a day to day basis but you’ve never changed your wipers, this needs to be put on your maintenance list urgently. Wipers are essential to allow you to see in poor conditions, and without proper maintenance, old, worn-out wipers can fail at the worst possible moment. Ensuring your wipers are fit for duty and suitable for use should be on your checklist when it comes to ongoing maintenance.

Cleaning & Repair

Cleaning your car inside and out and repairing faults and problems are also a part of preventative maintenance. You may notice repairs that need to be made through cleaning your vehicle, such as scratches in the paintwork or chips in the windscreen from gravel or debris. By maintaining your car regularly, you’re far more likely to notice problems while they’re small, instead of only spotting issues when they’re significant and – often – more costly.

What can I do at home to maintain my vehicle?

A lot of what you can do at home for preventative maintenance involves checking your vehicle regularly. Realistically, it depends on how much you’d like to do at home. Your maintenance routine could simply be doing regular checks and performing small tasks such as pumping up tires or topping up fluids. If you’re handy, you can even replace bulbs and filters at home – but that depends on how confident and comfortable you are.

There’s no shame in seeking professional help from a 5-star reviewed automotive repair shop like HEART Certified Auto Care when it comes to keeping on top of maintenance. We provide an annual Peace of Mind service to cover all aspects of general vehicle maintenance. If you prefer the hands-off approach to keeping your vehicle in top condition, it may be something you’d like to consider.

What happens if I don’t maintain my vehicle?

Many people forget or don’t want to deal with their vehicles’ ongoing maintenance and care. Some people can go their whole lives without ever blowing up tires or filling up oil, or even cleaning their car. While some lucky people will suffer no costs from not maintaining their vehicles, many others will end up with expensive bills that could have easily been avoided.

Preventative maintenance is as the name suggests. It prevents your car from becoming damaged or broken and can save time and money in the long run. For example, if you don’t regularly check or blow up your tires, you may find yourself with a bad puncture that has ripped the tire open on the way to work. Not only do you have to pay for a tow truck and miss hours of work, but you also have to pay for a tire replacement and any damage caused by the tire blowing.

Simply checking and blowing up the tire regularly could have saved a considerable cost, allowing you to notice the puncture and get it repaired before any real damage was done. Similarly, incidents with wipe blades not working or light bulbs blowing can quickly cause bigger problems if they aren’t handled swiftly. Not having the correct lights on your car can even lead to an expensive fine if you’re spotted on the road and you aren’t on the way to getting your vehicle fixed or maintained.

Beyond accidents or incidents, not maintaining your vehicle can also reduce the lifespan of your car. A well-cared-for and looked-after car will last far longer than a car that’s run ragged and never maintained. If you want to keep your vehicle for a long time and don’t want to incur increasingly expensive repair and replacement costs, maintenance is the best way to keep everything on track and ensure your vehicle is still doing what it needs to years down the line.

What if something goes wrong during maintenance?

Accidents happen – and mistakes do happen when you’re maintaining your vehicle. The same as accidentally putting petrol in a diesel tank, errors can occur during the maintenance process. Similarly, you never want to underestimate the importance of fluid flushes and how fluids break down over time and replacing the fluids before it causes a part failures. However, concentrating on what you’re doing and following the car manual, and maybe some YouTube tutorials, can reduce these minimal risks. If in doubt, you can always speak to us at HEART Certified Auto Care for a professional maintenance service.

Equally, if an accident has occurred, you can give us a call to come out and repair your vehicle if it is damaged – or to advise you on the next steps to get the car or truck to us. Not maintaining your vehicle can have far more costly issues than maintaining it regularly, and the risk of doing something wrong is low.

How long do I need to spend to maintain my vehicle every month?

If you set aside less than an hour a week, you can do a thorough check on your vehicle regularly and ensure you spot any problems before they happen. We recommend you increase your checks to every day in severe weather conditions, especially when it comes to your vehicle’s tires. But in general, a couple of hours a month is all you need for standard maintenance. Any repairs you need on top should be few and far between.

If you choose to go through a professional service for maintenance, that may mean a couple of trips to an auto repair workshop a couple of times a year, when it’s convenient for you. It all depends on how hands-on you’d like to be with your maintenance or whether you’d like a professional service to handle it for you.

How much do you need to know about maintaining your vehicle?

Educating yourself on the basics can go a long way towards saving yourself expensive costs for car repair. You don’t have to be a master of preventative maintenance or a fully-fledged mechanic or engineer to perform maintenance. Typically, the manual will provide guidance, or a relative or friend will be able to guide you through the process. Once you’ve picked up the necessary skills, you won’t need anything else to perfect those necessary monthly checks and any maintenance you need to carry out.

When is it time to seek professional help for my car or truck?

If you aren’t confident about performing maintenance on your vehicle, or your car needs work beyond your experience, that’s when you should seek professional help. At Heart Auto Care, 98% of our work is a same-day service, providing you peace of mind and allowing you to get automotive repair or maintenance out of the way as quickly as possible.

We also do free pickup and drop-off services, so you don’t need to worry about getting your vehicle to us if you’re concerned about driving it without repairs. Seeking professional help is the sensible thing to do in many circumstances, and that’s why our team is there. We provide an expert, friendly service to ensure your car is as healthy as possible.

What professional maintenance services do Heart Certified Auto Care offer?

We cover all aspects of maintenance and repair for vehicles, including full services and the replacement of tires, A/C repairs, brakes, and more. Our Peace of Mind service even provides you with all the maintenance your vehicle could need for an affordable monthly cost, from wiper blade replacements to tire rotations, oil changes to filters. If you’re concerned about keeping up with maintenance by yourself, or you’d prefer to leave your car in the hands of the professionals, that’s exactly what our Peace of Mind service is designed for.

How do I book in routine maintenance appointments?

Our Peace of Mind service is designed to provide an affordable way to cover all your ongoing maintenance costs and requirements for your vehicle. Your best bet is to get in touch with our team today and book an appointment to get on our plan. Or if you’re doing maintenance yourself, and you’re looking for a second opinion or need repairs and replacements, give us a call today. We’d be happy to get you booked in for an appointment as soon as possible in the Northbrook, Evanston, or Wilmette, IL areas.

For your Peace of Mind, HEART, we will perform FREE maintenance and mechanical inspections and give you FREE estimates based on the vehicles’ needs.