Staying on top of car maintenance is more than getting oil changes and paying heed to the check engine light. While a well-maintained car will break down less than a neglected car, even the best vehicles require regular replacement of certain inexpensive parts.
Keeping on top of these small maintenance replacement car parts can save you from larger transmission or engine repair bills down the line.
Cabin Air Filters
The cabin air filter is a removable block of papery filters typically found behind a car’s glove compartment. It works to remove dust, dirt, allergens and debris from the HVAC system that heats and cools your car’s cabin.
If an old cabin air filter becomes clogged with dirt, it can put strain on the HVAC system and on the engine which ultimately helps power it. An old air filter can also cause unpleasant smells and unhealthy allergens to linger in your car.
Most manufacturers recommend installing a new cabin air filter every 20,000 miles or so. You may want to replace it more frequently if you live in a sandy or dusty desert climate, if you transport shedding pets in your car, or if anyone smokes in your car.
Engine Air Filters
The engine air filter is similar to the cabin air filter, but it is located inside the engine bay instead of in the HVAC system. It filters the intake air that flows from outside the car into the engine. Fresh air is necessary for the combustion reaction that moves gas-powered vehicles.
Change your engine air filter every 12,000 miles or once yearly, whichever is more frequent. A FRAM air filter costs less than $100 and is fairly easy to replace yourself. Doing this regularly can save you from expensive engine repairs, as dirt and sand can erode the machinery inside your engine.
Steering Wheel Replacement
A warped steering wheel affects your car’s entire steering and suspension system. It can make a vehicle more difficult to turn or make it pull to the left or right while driving.
To avoid dangerous damage to your car’s suspension and avoid accidents, replace your steering wheel after 100,000 miles or when you notice it’s not working correctly.
Car batteries contain volatile chemicals. These chemicals react to create electricity that starts your engine. Over time, the levels of these chemicals decrease and batteries become less effective.
While keeping your battery clean and above half charge will extend its lifespan, it will still need a replacement eventually. If your car is slow to start, consider how long you’ve had the same battery. Replace a car’s battery once every 2-3 years.
Brake pads provide the necessary friction to stop a car by putting pressure on the rotors. Naturally, these pads degrade over time. Squealing or less responsive brakes are sure signs that you need to replace your brake pads to avoid costly brake damage or an accident.
Keep a list on your phone or computer of the last time you replaced these inexpensive but vital car parts. Invest in necessary costs such as steering wheel replacement before your car has larger issues.