How to maintain your car

How many times have you heard the term “my car is great, it hasn’t been in a garage for years!” Well that’s not something you should be proud of. Cars, as other products, also have a domino’s effect, where if one thing goes wrong and left unchecked, will cause other problems to arise. Here’s an overview on how to take good care of your car without being considered as a money pit or get stranded in the middle of the road all of a sudden…

It is true that there are many car brands out there, and many series in each brand, however most (if not all) of them have common items that need to be changed after known intervals of time, like spark plugs, fuel filter, oil, oil filter, air filter, and so on… as simple as these sound, they should be well scheduled to avoid car breakdowns and probably damaging other components.

A head’s up on the common maintenance, oil should be changed with the proper brand at intervals of time specified by the Car Manufacturer. If we take the E46 as an example, Castrol is recommended and should be changed every 5.000 to 7.500 miles. Oil filter is to be changed with every other oil change. Spark plugs every 60.000 miles (if NGK Platinum is used). Fuel filter every 20.000 miles, and so on… failing to follow with the time frame specified (you can add a margin of 10% at the MAX to those number) can cause you problems you never planned for.

Let’s take the air filter as an example, which is a very cheap item to change (around 10$). The air filter’s purpose is to filter the air coming into the engine from any kind of filth. It should be changed every 10.000 miles. If the air filter is left unchanged for a long period of time, it will get very dirty, causing air restriction, possibly damaging the Mass Air Flow Sensor (MAF) due to debris escaping¬†from the dirty filter and hitting it, and at the same time causing high fuel consumption and rough idles.

So as you see, a cheap and easy to change item can cause all that trouble, when a simple 5 min job of changing a filter could save you tons of headaches.

My advice on maintenance are the following:
– Search the web for forums that talk about your car (i.e. BMW, there are bimmerforums, e46fanatics and bimmerfest). Learn about your car, read previous threads on maintenance and possible failures, know what you are up against ahead of time, post your own threads when you have a concern that hasn’t been addressed.
– Once you know how your car operates, and what are the maintenance, you can even youtube for DIY (Do It Yourself) guides that may save you a load of money by doing the fixes yourself.
– And most important thing, do not leave the car without maintenance for a long period of time. It is true that you’ll be saving money by not doing any fix, however a small fix you might put on hold for awhile, might drain your pockets if left unchecked.

Feel free to share your experience on how you maintain your car and keep it in top operating shape.

Happy motoring and drive safe…


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