Most people who own cars will only concern themselves with a specific set of maintenance tasks. There’s the usual car cleaning, both interior and exterior; then, there’s topping up engine fluids. But there’s more to our cars and engines than meets the eye, and I guarantee you’re missing something.
But… what? Below, you’ll find five of the most commonly overlooked car maintenance and repair jobs on the planet. Chances are, you’re ignoring at least one!
- Wheel alignment – Having poor wheel alignment can negatively affect the way your car handles, as well as damage the tires. There are many reasons why your wheels may lack alignment – most commonly, hitting a curb or dry steering.
This can cause the car to become dangerous to drive. The vehicle can start to pull to one side as you move, which can result in crashes or scraped wing mirrors. Poor alignment can also make tiny movements of the wheel have big movements, completely throwing off your balance. Annual wheel alignment is vital – you can even go every 6 months.
- Transmission servicing – The transmission is one of the most vital aspects of a properly functioning car, but it quite often gets neglected. You’ll need to frequently check your transmission fluid, as regularly as possible. Don’t drive for thousands of miles without doing it.
If the fluid is either darker than usual, or looks burnt, this is a sign that your transmission is too hot. An overheated transmission could lead to permanent damage, and possibly transmission rebuild or repair. So, like your wheel alignment, have your transmission checked once a year, at the very least.
- Timing belt – If you’ve never heard of a timing belt, you aren’t alone. In fact, not all cars have timing belts, so you may be exempt. The timing belt connects the camshaft and crankshaft together, and can be internal or external.
A broken timing belt can prevent the engine from functioning properly. In order to know how much attention you need to give yours (and where it is) consult the manufacturer’s guide. Each car maker has certain maintenance schedules in regards to timing belt replacement.
- Power steering – If your power steering is going wrong, your car will handle extremely poorly. It’s aided by the power steering fluid, located in an engine canister. This fluid can pick up dirt over time, so it must be maintained.
You can do this by going to a garage, or by adding a fluid additive. You can check the functioning of the power steering by holding the steering wheel as you turn on the engine. This should result in a slight, but noticeable movement.
- Cleaning the fuel system – Most people will just dump fuel into their cars and have done with it. While it’s true you can do that most of the time, you have to give your fuel system more care than that. Every time you turn the engine on, bits of carbon and dirt run through the machinery. Much like a blocked drain, this can grow to unprecedented levels.
If it grows too much, your car will lose a lot of power, and your fuel economy will be nonexistent. A well-cleaned fuel system can make an old car feel like new again! Fortunately, it’s quite simple to clean – with the aid of a skilled mechanic. If you feel that your car lacks a punch, this could be the problem.