Basics of Vehicle Maintenance: A Beginner’s Guide to Routine Vehicle Maintenance and What You Should know

In Nepal, most auto owners don’t seem to give much thought to vehicle maintenance. We mostly go by the notion that as long as our car or motorcycle is running, it’s doing perfectly fine. And we only visit a mechanic when something goes wrong or if something in our vehicle stops working, which can sometimes be too late–and cost you a fair bit of money and time. 

No vehicle can perform optimally if it is not properly maintained. Every car or motorcycle manufacturer has a prescribed maintenance range for distance logged. It’s usually 3000-5000 km, but this figure might vary by brand and vehicular type. Sometimes, though, the recommended ranges are too long, especially when you account for Nepal’s roads, which are filled with potholes and caked with dust, which takes a toll on your engine. Thus, if you want to prolong the life of your vehicle, it is always a good idea to conduct routine vehicular checkups. Routine maintenance helps keep your vehicle run smoothly and safely for a much longer distance, especially down the road, compared to if you overlook upkeep. 

In this article, we have come up with a few pointers that will help you get started with vehicle maintenance and provide a broad overview of what you should do.

Get Acquainted with Your User’s Manual

Every vehicle comes with a user’s manual. If you own a car, it will be in your glove compartment, and for your bike, it will be under the seat of your motorcycle. If you can’t find your copy, you can go to your manufacturer’s website and download an e-copy, or you can simply contact your dealer to get a copy. So, why is it important to get acquainted with the user’s manual? Every manual usually features information about the prescribed maintenance schedule and specific maintenance intervals for components like the engine oil, oil filter, tire rotation, belts, hoses and so on. It is important to follow these recommendations to ensure you have a smoothly functioning engine.

Check Your Tyre Pressure

Check your tyre pressure every month. The complete weight of your vehicle rides on the tyres, and it is necessary for your tyres to be properly inflated. Doing so not only ensures that your tyres perform optimally but it will also lower the chances of a blowout.

You will need to fill your tyres to the recommended air-pressure level. The air pressure required for your vehicle is usually recommended in the user’s manual. Also, if you want an accurate reading, you should always check the air pressure when the tyres are cold. 

Engine Oil and Oil Filter

You need to change your engine oil on the basis of your vehicle manufacturer’s recommendation. Engine oil is very crucial for your engine’s health because the oil lubricates each engine part and keeps them from grinding against each other and destroying the engine.

Motor oil is the lifeblood of the engine, and it is what keeps things moving smooth and optimally. Unchanged engine oil can collect dirt over time, and dirty oil is not as great at reducing the friction between engine parts. You should also make sure that you are using engine oil of the viscosity your vehicle manufacturer has recommended. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to change the oil filter too, as the filter helps remove contaminants from your car engine’s oil. 

Scheduled Air Filter Changes

The main job of an air filter is to stop airborne contaminants such as dirt, dust, and other particulate matter from getting pulled into your car’s engine and potentially damaging it. A clean air filter helps your engine to make use of clean air, which allows for better combustion. Vehicle manufacturers have varying recommendations for how often you should change the air filter, but if you’re mostly driving on the polluted roads of Kathmandu, you’ll need to change your air filter at least twice a year or get it cleaned at every servicing. It is always best to check your air filter every time you change your oil. 

Look out for Brake Sounds

Make sure that your brakes are working well so that you don’t get into an accident because you couldn’t stop your vehicle in time. Brake sounds can indicate the state of your brakes and if they need maintenance or not. Brake pads make a squealing sound when they are worn out: those squeals mean you need new brake pads. When you find that your brakes are making weird sounds, it’s probably a good idea to have a professional look at them.

These are some of the common issues you might encounter as an automobile owner. You should thus always be well acquainted with your vehicle’s user manual, which will help you get a better understanding of your vehicle. The basic idea is to know when a certain part of your vehicle needs maintenance: this will not only enhance the life and performance of your vehicle but also ensure your safety when you’re driving.

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