Want a car that lasts? Follow this care guide…

Car ownership has granted us so many freedoms in the modern age: we can live where we want, get away to places where buses don’t go, and we have the ability to experience the thrill of acceleration and deftly navigating curves – the list goes on.

However, many abuse this privilege by failing to treat auto maintenance with the respect it deserves. Many wrecked engines, failed transmissions, and shredded tires could have been saved had the owner spent the money and time required to perform routine maintenance.

Enrolling in programs like Omega Auto Care is a good start, but car owners also should be on guard for problems that can be nipped in the bud with quick, decisive action.

If you are clueless on this subject, the following care guide will spotlight some areas you can’t afford to ignore.

1) Take care of your air filters

If you hate spending money, we’ve got good news for you – air filters are the most cost effective part to fix in your car.

You’ll only be out $50, including labor – when you think about what this part does, you’ll be grateful you aren’t spending more.

The most important job of an air filter is to stop particulate from breaching the delicate internal cavities of your engine.

If they were somehow able to get in there, it would cause damage that would eventually render your car inoperable.

Its second task is to make sure the oxygen entering your engine is as pure as possible. When the air is clean, your engine will be able to perform to its full potential.

When the filter is blocked, less O2 is able to get through, forcing the engine to work harder than it should.

Dirty filters cause the heart of your car to beat faster, and you will burn through a tank of gas more rapidly than you otherwise would.

By changing your air filter regularly, your vehicle will operate at its best, and you’ll emit less carbon into the atmosphere.

2) Keep your tires properly inflated

If your tires look a little out of sorts, it is probably due to their pressure being lower than it should. Check the pressure in each tire, and take this opportunity to make it a weekly/monthly habit.

Chronically under-inflated tires go bald faster, which will lead you to burn through more cash over the life of your car.

It also puts you and everyone who rides in your vehicle at risk, as sudden blowouts are often a deadly consequence of improperly inflated tires that are routinely neglected.

Take advantage of free air service stations when you can – it may end up saving your life and the ones who you care about.

3) Swap out old serpentine belts

Hear a squealing noise under the hood? It’s time to replace your current serpentine belt, as it is now on the verge of failing.

This installation will cost in the vicinity of $150. Handy with cars? Buy a new belt at Autozone or NAPA and do the swap yourself to save yourself some Benjamins.

This expense may be a bit of a hit to your budget, but you can’t afford to wait until it breaks. If it does, your engine will either overheat or your alternator will stop functioning.

Either one will leave you on the shoulder of the road looking like an idiot – don’t be that person if you can avoid it.

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