Car Care Tips: 7 Simple Maintenance Tasks You Can Do Yourself

car care tips, person washing car

Today’s cars and trucks are more high-tech than ever.

Not all vehicle maintenance requires you to have an in-depth knowledge of automotive mechanics or even be handy with a set of tools, however.

The simplest of car maintenance tasks can be handled by anyone in their driveway or garage. Here are several reasons to make use of the car care tips included in this post:

  • your vehicles will operate more safely
  • well-maintained vehicles are more reliable and have a longer life
  • you’ll lower your carbon footprint
  • get the satisfaction of doing your own car maintenance
  • you’ll save money on car repair costs
  • your vehicles will look better

Simple car care tips to protect your investments

A lot of car and truck owners pay little attention to the needs of their vehicles until a problem arises.

Yes, we’ll bring them into our auto repair shop once or twice year for a regularly scheduled oil change and other maintenance. There’s more that drivers can do, however, to ensure their vehicles look and run their best.

Performing your own regular automotive check-ups and light maintenance when needed will go a long way towards protecting the sizable investment you’ve made in your vehicles.

The maintenance tasks included in these seven car care tips are easy to do and won’t require much of a time investment.

1. Inspect your battery

Your vehicle isn’t going anywhere if its battery fails, so take the time for a quick visual inspection and some occasional cleaning of this vital car component.

At least once a year, check your battery terminals for any signs of dry white battery acid. If there is any, remove the cables from your battery (do the negative cable first).

Use a wire brush and corrosion removal fluid from an automotive supplies retailer to clean up the corrosive material from the battery’s terminals. A mixture of baking soda and water can also be used.

Rinse off the cleaned area with some water, dry it with a rag, and reconnect the battery cables (attach the positive cable first).

Approximate time needed: 15-20 minutes

2. Change your windshield wiper blades

car care tips, wet car windshield with wipersOne of the biggest safety concerns when driving is having a clear windshield to provide the highest level of road visibility.

It should be considered a top priority to replace worn out windshield wiper blades that skip, leave streaks on your windshield, or don’t effectively remove rain and snow. When you hear them making a squeaking noise, that’s another indicator it’s time to replace the wiper blades.

Even if your wiper blades seem to be working well, periodically inspect the rubber strips on the blades for signs of cracking. Give the rubber strips an occasional wipe with a damp rag or paper towel to remove any debris.

Just as with most of the maintenance tasks included in these car care tips, variables such as weather and vehicle usage will affect your timetable for replacing certain car parts.

Generally, it’s recommended to replace your wiper blades every 6-12 months. Next time you buy a new pair, buy an extra set you can store in the trunk and have readily available.

On most vehicles, changing the windshield wiper blades can easily be done yourself. Just follow the instructions in your owner’s manual and on the back of the packaging for the wiper blades.

Approximate time needed: 10-15 minutes

3. Change the engine air filter

Of all the care care tips listed here, changing your own engine air filter is probably the most intimidating. Rest assured, though, it’s quite easy to do.

A dirty air filter will restrict how much air flow your engine takes in, which puts extra strain on the engine. This can affect gas mileage slightly and, more noticeably, acceleration performance on your vehicles.

The frequency with which an engine air filter should be changed will depend on various factors. Driving regularly on unpaved roads and in heavy traffic will cause air filters to become clogged faster.

The maintenance schedules for changing air filters can vary widely between car manufacturers. Some recommend doing it every 15,000 miles (24,000 kilometres), while others advise you to change it every 45,000 miles (72,000 kilometres).

Check your vehicle’s owner’s manual to determine your schedule and to find your engine air filter’s location. For most vehicles, the air filter box isn’t difficult to access and may not even require tools to open.

A quick look at your air filter will let you know whether or not it should be changed. A dirty air filter will appear gray or black.

Approximate time needed: 5-10 minutes

4. Wash your vehicle

car care tips dirty carOne of the easiest car care tips to follow is to simply wash your vehicles on a regular basis. Doing so will protect the exteriors of your vehicles and keep them looking like new.

While this is a simple maintenance task, it doesn’t always get done properly. Some drivers wash their car or truck too little, while others go overboard and wash it too much.

Experts say that how often you wash your car will be dictated by several factors:

  • where it’s parked
  • how frequently it’s driven
  • weather conditions

It’s generally a good idea to wash your vehicles every 2-4 weeks, depending on the above factors. For example, if you live in areas that use road salt in the winter, it’s wise to wash your cars every week or two considering how much salt can deteriorate a vehicle’s finish and underside.

Parking in the garage is always recommended, as your cars and trucks will be less exposed to the elements. That also includes things like acidic bird droppings, tree sap, dead bugs, and airborne elements like dust, dirt, and pollen.

Approximate time needed: 20-30 minutes

5. Wax your vehicle

If you’re washing your vehicles on a regular basis to preserve the looks and integrity of their exteriors, add one more of these car care tips to your maintenance routine – give them a waxing.

Waxing can be done a lot less frequently than washing – two or three times per year is generally recommended. Some more expensive synthetic waxes claim that you’ll only need to use their products once a year.

Along with maintaining the luster of the exteriors of a vehicle, waxing also protects their clear coat and paint from those aforementioned nasty elements.

The easiest way to determine if your car or truck needs a coat of wax is to simply put a little water on the vehicle. A waxing isn’t needed if the water beads up.

There’s one more benefit to making use of these car care tips that focus on vehicle exteriors – they can improve your mileage. Testing (including a test done on TV’s MythBusters) shows that clean cars delivered better fuel efficiency than dirty ones.

Approximate time needed: 50-60 minutes

6. Check your engine fluids

car care tips oil dipstickEven with vehicle dashboard indicators that indicate when fluid levels are low, it’s wise to occasionally check your fluid levels between visits to your auto garage.

It doesn’t take much time to do and provides extra assurance that your vehicle’s fluids are properly topped off. Checking your fluid levels is one of the car care tips it’s especially smart to make use of before taking your vehicles on a long road trip.

Be sure to always check your fluid levels while parked on a flat surface. Use a clean rag or paper towel to wipe off your dipsticks.

Let’s start with the engine oil. You’ll get varying opinions on how to get the most accurate readings of your oil level. Some experts say to run the vehicle until it reaches normal operating temperatures, shut it off, and then wait 5-10 minutes before checking your oil dipstick.

Others say you can check the oil dipstick when the vehicle is cold. Consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual and ask your mechanic for their advice to figure out which method works for you.

Not all vehicles have a transmission fluid dipstick. If yours does, check the transmission fluid level with the vehicle running. Conversely, your vehicle should always be turned off when checking the coolant tank’s level.

Your brake fluid can be found in a reservoir tank with easy to view fluid level indicators. Also check the power steering fluid reservoir, which may have a dipstick depending on your vehicle model.

The last fluid level to check is for your windshield washer fluid, which any experienced driver should be quite familiar with.

Approximate time needed: 10 minutes

7. Check your tire pressure

Many modern vehicles come with a tire pressure monitoring system, but it doesn’t hurt to periodically check your tire pressure manually. A good tire pressure gauge should be considered an essential tool for any driver, as is a portable tire inflator/mini air compressor.

Driving on tires that are underinflated can:

  • lower your fuel economy
  • damage tires and cause them to eventually blow out due to overheating
  • limit your car’s ability to handle

Overinflating your tires can cause problems as well. Make sure to fill your tires to the pressure recommended by the vehicle’s manufacturer and not the psi level indicated on the actual tires.

Approximate time needed: 2 minutes

Free up space in your garage for parking

These car care tips involving visual inspections and light hands-on maintenance will keep your vehicles running smoothly.

You can also look after your vehicles simply by parking them in your garage, where they’ll be safer and protected from the weather. Garage Living can transform your garage into a space that’s clutter-free and aesthetically appealing.

And if your car care skills allow you to do more in-depth maintenance on your vehicles, we can also help. Our garage cabinet systems are ideal for a garage workshop. Our car lifts are also useful for vehicle maintenance tasks, in addition to being a great solution for adding extra garage parking space.

Schedule a free in-home design consultation with us to plan your garage makeover.

See also:

7 BC Summer Car Shows Worth Making Time For

BC summer car shows, classic white Corvette

A car lover can’t find a much better way to spend a summer weekend than to take in a car show.

There’s a lot of auto shows competing for your attention this year across the province. Here are a few suggestions of which BC summer car shows are worth making time for.

7 BC summer car shows you’ll love

1. Classic Boat & Car Show (June 9th, North Vancouver): For Vancouver residents looking for some BC summer car shows taking place closer to home, the Classic Boat & Car Show is perfect.

North Vancouver’s Burrard Yacht Club hosts the event, which will include both vintage boats and classic cars on display.

2. Old Car Sunday In The Park (June 17th, Mission): Celebrate Father’s Day this year at this classic car and truck event at Mission’s Fraser River Heritage Park.

The Mission Fire Fighter’s Charitable Society puts on this annual family-friendly event. Over $12,000 was raised at last year’s show and distributed to local charities.

3. Sun Valley Cruise-In (July 20th-22nd, Vernon): Scenic Vernon plays host to this annual event that occurs every third weekend in July.

Take a back-country cruise on Friday night and follow it up with Saturday’s car show in downtown Vernon. Then end the weekend with Sunday’s main event at Vernon’s beautiful Polson Park featuring a showcase of vintage cars, trucks, and motorcycles.

BC summer car shows, Bowen Island Classic Motor Show4. Bowen Island Classic Motor Show (July 21st, Bowen Island): One hour from downtown Vancouver is scenic Bowen Island, which is home to this event.

It’s the second year for this show that will have cars, trucks, tractors, and motorcycles “born 1978 or earlier” available for visitors to admire up close.

5. Kars Under The K (August 5th, Keremeos): The southern BC village of Keremeos plays host to the 17th edition of this event for the entire family. Hundreds of antique and vintage vehicles are promised for the show.

6. Lake Country Customs & Classics Car Show (August 18th and 19th, Lake Country): Billed as “one of the most pristine car shows in the Okanagan Valley”, more than 3,000 visitors are expected at Lake Country’s Swalwell Park for the Sunday show.

Hundreds of custom and classic vehicles will be available for viewing at this event, which is celebrating its 10th year.

BC summer car shows, Vancouver Island Motor Gathering7. Vancouver Island Motor Gathering (August 26th, Cowichan): This big event should be among the BC summer car shows you’re making plans to attend before September rolls around.

The Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit will have a wide array of unique classic and modern cars and motorcycles on display.

Does your garage space need a tune-up?

A classic car stays “classic” by paying attention to the maintenance and tender loving care it needs.

A garage needs a tune-up once in awhile, too, especially if you’re looking for a functional, visually appealing space to store your own classic car.

Garage Living Vancouver knows just how to make that happen. Schedule a free in-home design consultation with us to plan how your dream classic car can soon be parked in your own dream garage.

6 Alberta Summer Car Shows to Mark on Your Calendar

Alberta summer car shows, classic car front

Summertime means car lovers will have lots of opportunities to check out the many car shows taking place around Alberta.

Here are just a few of the fun Alberta summer car shows worth attending over the next few months.

6 essential Alberta summer car shows

Alberta summer car shows, All British Field Meet1. Alberta All British Field Meet (June 9th, Edmonton): For fans of British cars, this is one of the Alberta summer car shows they can’t miss.

The Alberta All British Field Meet will exclusively showcase cars, trucks, and motorcycles made in Britain. A special celebration of Land Rover’s 70th anniversary will be included among the festivities for the 30th edition of this event.

2. Fort City Car Show (Fort McMurray, June 17th): This annual Father’s Day event features plenty of unique 2, 4, and even 6 wheeled vehicles on display.

The Fort City Car Show will have a free barbecue, an area for kids, and donate the net proceeds from the show to local charities.

3. Edmonton Street Rod Association Show & Shine (June 24th, Edmonton): This show returns for its 34th year showcasing special interest cars, bikes, and trucks, along with live music and much more.

4. Street Machine Weekend (July 13th-15th, Lethbridge): This is the 4oth edition of this popular car show put on by the Street Wheelers Car Club.

The multi-day event will feature a Friday night cruise, racing on Saturday, and Sunday’s main event – a showcase of vintage cars at Lethbridge’s Galt Gardens park.

Alberta summer car shows, Airdrie Summer Classic5. Airdrie Summer Classic (August 11th, Airdrie): Airdrie’s Nose Creek Park is the location for this event that’s hosted annually by the Time Travellers Car Club of Airdrie.

Returning for its 17th year, the Airdrie Summer Classic will include an engine build-off competition, barbecue, and lots of classic cars for visitors to admire.

6. River City Classics Show And Shine (September 23rd, High River): For car buffs in the Calgary area, you couldn’t find a better way to end your summer than by visiting this annual event.

Taking place every September since 2002, it’s not uncommon for this show to feature more than 1,000 vehicles of all vintages on display. It’s definitely one of the Alberta summer car shows to circle on your calendar.

Park your prized ride somewhere nice

Have fun while attending any of the above Alberta summer car shows. Do you own a classic car, too? If so, is the garage you’re parking it in worthy space of such a cherished possession?

If you want to upgrade your garage to make it a nicer space to park your classic car or newer vehicle in, Garage Living Calgary can help.

Learn more about turning your outdated garage into something truly special by scheduling a free in-home design consultation with us.

Don’t Miss These 7 Ontario Summer Car Shows

Ontario summer car shows, blue classic convertible

It’s an annual tradition for car lovers to plan some of their leisure time between June and September around the busy schedule of Ontario summer car shows.

Throughout the province, there’s auto shows taking place every weekend. Several will be held in the Greater Toronto Area. Here are seven of the Ontario summer car shows we think will be worth attending.

7 must-see Ontario summer car shows

1. Gravenhurst Car Show (June 16th, Gravenhurst): One of the largest Ontario summer car shows takes place on the scenic shores of Gravenhurst’s Gull Lake, a couple of hours north of Toronto.

Spend Father’s Day weekend taking in this event, which promises a showcase of over 400 classic, collectible, and rare vehicles for attendees.

2. Shelburne Street Festival Classic Car Show (June 16th, Shelburne): A 90 minute drive north of the city brings you to Shelburne, which has been hosting this festival every Saturday on Father’s Day weekend for years.

Events include a classic car show, motorcycle show, live music, an open air market, and family activities. More than 300 classic cars were on display at last year’s show and over 20 car clubs will be participating at this year’s event.

Ontario summer car shows, Yorkville car show3. The Yorkville Exotic Car Show (June 17th, Toronto): Father’s Day weekend gives auto lovers a ton of options when it comes to Ontario summer car shows to attend. Here’s yet another one, taking place in Toronto’s upscale Bloor-Yorkville area.

The show’s 8th edition will have some of the world’s greatest sports cars on display, ranging from classics right up to the most desirable high performance vehicles of today.

4. Burlington Downtown Car Show (July 7th, Burlington): Muscle cars, classic cars, cruisers, and exotic sports cars will compete for your attention at this annual show in downtown Burlington.

You can also enjoy some live music and local vendors, with proceeds supporting the Burlington Lions Club.

5. Classics & Rods Review Show (July 8th, Mississauga): The Mississauga Classic Car Club once again hosts this annual event formerly known as “Classics on the Square”.

This free event takes place in the north parking lot of Mississauga’s Hershey Centre. Circle this one on your calendar if you’re looking for one of the best Ontario summer car shows showcasing beautiful classic vehicles.

Ontario summer car shows, Wheels on the Danforth6. Wheels On The Danforth (August 17th and 18th, Toronto): One of the most anticipated community festivals in the city returns for its 7th year.

This family-friendly event will have hundreds of hot rods, classics, muscle cars, tuners, exotics, and race cars lining the streets of Toronto’s Danforth area.

7. Autofest Oshawa (August 25th and 26th, Oshawa): The 25th edition of the Autofest Oshawa gives auto buffs the chance to view modern cars, vintage muscle cars, and a wide array of classic cars.

This packed weekend event at Oshawa’s Lakeview Park will also include a silent auction, activities for kids, vendors, and much more.

Why your prized vehicles deserve a beautiful home

Many visitors to these popular Ontario summer car shows have classic cars themselves or more modern luxury cars.

Prized vehicles lose some of their appeal when they’re parked in a drab garage environment that just doesn’t complement their classic charm or exquisite looks effectively.

Garage Living Toronto can change that. Schedule a free in-home consultation with us to discuss getting your garage transformation started.

7 South Florida Car Shows to Visit This Summer

South Florida car shows, black classic car

For auto enthusiasts, there’s nothing like going to a car show to give them an opportunity to see some of the finest and rarest treasures on four wheels.

There’s no shortage of South Florida car shows to attend this summer. We’ve compiled a list of seven auto shows that any car lover in South Florida shouldn’t miss.

7 must-see South Florida car shows

1. Cars & Coffee Palm Beach (June 3rd/July 8th/August 26th, West Palm Beach): Monthly Cars & Coffee events for auto enthusiasts occur in more than 200 cities around the United States. Cars & Coffee Palm Beach is billed as “one of the world’s largest and most prestigious monthly auto events”.

It’s held one Sunday each month at Palm Beach Outlets and promises a variety of custom, classic, and exotic vehicles for attendees.

South Florida car shows, Dream Car Classic ad2. Dream Car Classic (June 3rd/July 1st/August 5th/September 2nd, Hollywood): Another of the monthly South Florida car shows you won’t want to miss is the Dream Car Classic.

The first Sunday of each month finds dozens of classic hot rods, custom cars, modern cars, and trucks lining Hollywood Boulevard in downtown Hollywood. Admission is free.

3. Diamonds and Donuts (June 24th, Boca Raton): Diamonds by Raymond Lee jewelry outlet in Boca Raton hosts this showcase of unique cars.

Along with jewelry giveaways, a barbecue will follow the car show with proceeds benefitting the Boys & Girls Clubs of Broward County.

4. 4th of July Fireworks & Car/Truck Show (July 4th, Lake Worth): A full day of fun is promised for all car lovers at this special event.

An early bird car show takes place in the early afternoon, followed by the main event car show starting at 4 p.m. Naturally, the day will conclude with an exciting 4th of July fireworks display.

5. Back to School Expo & Car Show (August 11th, Orlando): If you’re looking for South Florida car shows that cater to adults and kids, this is the event for you.

Orlando’s Universal Technical Institute hosts this kid-friendly event. It features auto-related competitions your kids can participate in and school supply giveaways.

6. Sebring Thunder (September 14th-16th, Sebring): Close out your summer with a visit to the 9th annual Sebring Thunder car show. This big event will have live music and the main attraction – a car show featuring 150-200 trucks, classics, muscle cars, and hot rods.

Anyone registering a car for the show will also get the chance to take a few laps around the world-famous Sebring International Raceway.

South Florida car shows, Miami Auto Show7. Miami lnternational Auto Show (October 5th-14th, Miami Beach): Okay, this event actually takes place a couple of weeks after summer ends. It’s still worth mentioning, however, as this is one of the longest-running and most popular South Florida car shows.

This massive auto show returns for its 49th year and will showcase over a thousand new vehicles from over 40 manufacturers from around the globe.

Upgrade the space your prized cars are parked in

If you’re planning to attend any of the South Florida car shows listed here, you obviously have an appreciation for fine automobiles.

And if you happen to own a classic car or a modern luxury vehicle, parking them in a run-down garage space that’s not befitting of their beauty and high value can diminish their appeal.

Garage Living of Miami specializes in transforming garages into beautiful, highly functional spaces. Schedule a free in-home design consultation with us to get your garage’s makeover started.