As you’re getting ready to start the new year at school or work, you might be wondering how you can make sure that your car is as ready as you are to get back to the grind. Well, maybe you’re not 100% ready, but you still want your car to be running as smoothly as possible.

 

Even if you don’t consider yourself to be an expert when it comes to cars, there are still some easy steps that you can take to care for your engine and avoid any hiccups in the coming months. Make these tips part of your routine car maintenance so that you can avoid many of the expensive repairs that could sneak up on you after the new year has begun.

 

But before we get started, it’s a good idea for you to take a good look at your owner’s manual. This will tell you more about where to find some of the things listed here, such as the location of the drive belt, and how often you should replace filters and refill fluids.

 

After you’ve leafed through your owner’s manual, take a look at these engine tuning tips:

  1. Top off your oil, or get it changed

This is the top of the list for basic car maintenance. Depending on the age of your car, you can get your oil changed about every 10,000km. You might have heard the advice to change it every 5,000km, and that may be true if you have an older car, but most models nowadays are perfectly fine somewhere between 9000km to 10,000km. If you’re not due for an oil change, all you have to do is check and fill up your oil with whatever type your car normally takes.

2. Change your oil filter

If you went in for an oil change, the mechanic might have changed the oil filter automatically. If not, you might want to have that changed as well. Generally, you should change the oil filter every time you change your oil, or every other time. This small step ensure that there is no old oil clogging up your engine. Especially for cars that haven’t been used much over the last few months, a new filter can go a long way to make sure that oil is flowing without blockages.

3. Top off your other fluids - windshield, power steering, transmission, coolant, antifreeze

These are all small tasks that make a big difference in ensuring that your engine is running at its best. Make sure to top off your windshield wiper fluid, your power steering, transmission, and your coolant/antifreeze. Checking these off one-by-one shouldn’t take more than 15 to 20 minutes, and you’ll feel more confident when you get behind the wheel.

4. Inspect your drive belt

While you’re under the bonnet, take a good look at your drive belt (sometimes called serpentine belt), too. You’ll be able to see where this is located by reading your owner’s manual. What you’re looking for is any wear on the belt, such as ragged edges or cracks. If the belts look dry and worn out, chances are, it’s going to break soon. And you definitely don’t want to deal with the hassle of that once the new year begins. After all, if your belt breaks when you’re driving, you have to replace it immediately or have it towed to the nearest garage. You absolutely can’t drive the car without that belt.

5. Check/Replace your air filter

The next thing you’ll want to look out for is a clogged air filter. Air filters should be changed about once a year or year and a half, but if you live in a particularly dusty area, or you’ve done any kind of off-roading, you’ll more than likely have to change it more frequently. Not only will changing the filter help your engine to run more smoothly, but you’ll also end up paying less in fuel, too.

6. Check your tyre pressure, and consider rotating your tyres

Alright, technically, this isn’t about your car’s engine, but at the end of the day, it’s still important for your overall car maintenance. An under-inflated tyre will lead you to spend more money on fuel and cause strain on the tyre itself. So take care of your tyres by checking the pressure often and filling them when necessary. You might also consider rotating your tyres to make them last longer. A tyre rotation every 10,000km to 13,000km should be enough to ensure that your tyres are worn evenly. Make sure that you are well versed in changing your tyres, as it would certainly benefit you when it comes to rotating your tyres.

7. Clear out the clutter

The last piece of advice we can share for your car care this new year is to give the whole thing a good cleaning. Maybe this isn’t going to make much of a difference for how well your engine runs, but it will remind you to take good care of your vehicle for the rest of the year to come.

Back