As a military family, we rely on our cars quite a bit. From the daily commute to work, trips back home to visit family, and occasional PCS (move), our wheels get quite a workout. Before I met my husband, I didn’t take care of my car at all— I once went 13,000 miles without an oil change!– but thankfully, Andy has taught me that for a car to last a long time, it needs regular maintenance. And we both wants our cars to last for decades. (Andy’s first car is a 1993 and is still running in great shape!) I asked my mechanically-inclined husband to teach me some tips on how to keep my car running like a champ. Bonus: these tips are so easy that I can do them by myself while my husband is away!
1. Change your windshield wipers.
Experts recommend changing your wiper blades once a year, in the fall, since you’ll be using them most often in the fall and winter. Auto shops will have a sizing guide for your car’s make and model.
2. Change your air filter.
Because a dirty filter will decrease fuel economy, experts also recommend changing air filters twice a year.
3. Clean your car battery.
One of the biggest issues that prevents a car from starting is battery issues. Regularly cleaning your battery connections can prevent those issues. Auto stores sell a special brush especially for cleaning corrosion off of the battery cables. I’ve also heard that pouring cola on the corrosion will clean it.
4. Make sure your tires are properly inflated.
Improperly-inflated tires can reduce gas mileage, and depend on how under-inflated they are, can damage the tires. Tire gauges are found at any auto parts shop, and I keep my gauge in my glove box for easy access. On the side of your tire, it will say how many PSI each tire should have. Bonus: if you have privileges to shop on a military base, you can fill up your car tires at the gas station air pumps for free!
5. Get an oil change.
If you live in military housing like my family does, then you’re most likely aware that you can’t change your oil at home. (Please don’t be like my neighbor who changes his oil at home and lights it on fire in a bucket in his driveway. Not only is it against regulations and the military police will find you, but it’s bad for the environment.) You can take a special class in order to use the base automotive center, but like my husband, you might not have any extra time to take said class. Or if you’re like me, you don’t want to bother with trying to change your own oil. Enter: Walmart Auto Care Center. Their Pit Crew Oil Change with Quaker State® Advanced Durability Motor Oil is just $19.88 plus tax. What a great value!
It was super easy to get the oil changed– it took less than 15 minutes! Plus, I could go inside the store and shop if I wanted to.
I also loved that Walmart was using a brand of oil that my husband and I trust. When we add oil to our cars in between oil changes, Andy and I prefer Quaker State oil because it’s a great oil at a great price. Quaker State tests their oil through thousands of miles of stop-and-go traffic, idling, and extreme temperatures, so we know that whatever the road sends our way we can handle it.
Thanks to these simple tips, our cars are running in great shape, allowing us to make many memories on the road! In fact, my husband and I have a big, cross-country road trip in the works for next year! And just for fun, here are some throwback photos from my husband and my first road trip together– the trip where he proposed.