Sure, you can ask your friend’s cousin, or your cousin’s friend, to take a look under the hood and see about that whirring noise. But it’s 2015, and you have all of the internet at your fingertips—and Quoted‘s got some powerful internet-based friends who can offer you real insight into the care and keeping of your precious ride. Startup pay-per-mile insurance company Metromile is a fellow innovator in the insurance space, and up their proverbial sleeve is Mechanic Matt, a certified ASE Master Technician and owner of a California-based local repair shop. Matt responds to Metromile customers about their automotive needs, and Quoted is lucky enough to field some of his sage advice, too.
Mechanic Matt’s Top 5 Tips for Car Maintenance
- Have your oil changed regularly. This isn’t a ploy for repair shops to make more money. It is important to change oil either at the recommended service interval or every 6 months, whichever is sooner. Engine oil can degrade and collect moisture if the car sits for too long, and moisture inside of an engine can be detrimental.
Quoted editor’s note: We’ve heard varying opinions on the question of how often an oil change makes sense. Lifehacker reports that manufacturers recommend oil changes at 5,000, 7,000 or even 10,000-mile intervals, while most service providers recommend every 3,000 miles.
- Check your (spare) tire pressure. Most tires will hold air indefinitely, however, some leak very slowly thus creating problems when you embark on a road trip. My advice? Check the spare also. The spare gets overlooked at most garages and is useless if it’s flat when you need it the most. The spare tires are usually in the trunk beneath the carpet.
- Protect your vehicle from the elements. Spring brings sunshine and birds chirping, but that also means potential damage for your car. Wash it regularly to remove any contaminants that may be harming the paint (such as bird poop) and get it waxed at least once a year for protection. Ultraviolet rays can also degrade both the exterior and the interior. Keep the interior nice and pretty by installing a sunshade to keep direct sun off of the dashboard and lower the interior temperature of the vehicle tremendously.
- Keep your battery charged. Even while your car is turned off, all vehicles have very small battery drains for the clock, radio presets, and computer memory. If your vehicle sits for long periods of time make sure to unplug cell phone chargers, GPS devices or anything else that uses a power port. If you are planning on storing your vehicle you should look into a battery tender, a small charger that keeps your battery topped off every day. It uses 110 A/C power so keep it close to an outlet.
- Pay attention. Nobody knows your car quite like you do. You know how it sounds, feels, drives, and smells. When your car sounds, feels, drives or smells different, it is trying to tell you something. If you aren’t sure what an indicator on the dashboard is trying to tell you, check your owners manual. And if you are using the Metromile app it can also give you a diagnosis of your car’s running condition.
Bonus Tips: Easy Maintenance Solutions
Hungry for more solutions for easy at-home maintenance? We’ve got you covered:
- The best way to check the tread on your tires: “The easiest way to check the tread on your tires is by taking the penny test,” says Fred Mannix, Product Specialist for Bar’s Leaks and Rislone. “All you have to do is place a penny, head first, into several of the tire grooves. Do you see the top of Lincoln’s head? If so, your tires are definitely worn and should be replaced. On the other hand, if part of Lincoln’s head is always covered by the tread, you’re good to go. No need for new tires!”
- How to check your engine filter to know if it needs replacing: “Checking your engine filter to see if it needs replacing is very simple and very important to do before the hot summer months take over,” Mannix says. “All you have to do is open the air filter housing and remove the filter. Now hold it up to a bright light to see if the filter transmits light. If it’s very dark and transmits little light, then the filter is dirty and needs to be replaced.”
- How to clean your own engine: “Cleaning your own car’s engine might sound a bit intimidating. But it’s actually much easier than you think! All you have to do is grab a bottle of Rislone Engine Treatment and pour it into your engine crankcase, which is best done during an oil change. This product contains high quality penetrating lubricating oils and race-proven protective oil additives that help reduce friction and wear and prevent sludge from forming.”
How do you prep your ride for summer? We mean, aside from the coconut air fresheners and sunroof-open-only policy you’ll put in place?