Owning and driving your first SUV is one of the best feelings ever and it will always be special. However, being an SUV owner comes with responsibilities. Since it’s a huge investment, it’s important that you know how to protect that investment.
Keeping your SUV in tip-top shape can go a long way in maintaining its value as an asset and ensuring that it’s at its best performance. With that said, you should get valuable insights on how specific car types are maintained from websites like Whichcar.
In this article, you’ll find a few maintenance tips for first-time SUV owners.
1. Read The Manual
Most people think of the manual as something unimportant. It is often lost, discarded, or simply forgotten that it exists. But don’t do this with your SUV owner’s manual.
You’ll have to refer to it periodically since it contains a great deal of helpful information which includes the type of recommended maintenance services and the guide for troubleshooting your SUV.
It helps you get started with your usage and gives you a good base of knowledge about the requirements and features of your car. Remember, each vehicle is different. And the best way to understand your SUV’s needs is to read the owner’s manual.
2. Don’t Skip The Scheduled Maintenance Services
Keeping a schedule of car maintenance routines can be a hassle; however, it is a must in keeping your SUV in good condition.
Make sure to check your owner’s manual and determine the recommended car maintenance services you need regularly. In general, this involves the checking or replacing of parts such as wires, fluids, spark plugs, and serpentine belts.
Scheduling regular checks through your SUV dealer is the best. They can provide genuine parts when replacement is needed and they have the experience to ensure the proper upkeep of your car. Also, going to the same dealer for this process allows you to have a complete service history of your SUV.
3. Oil-Changing Intervals
Perhaps one of the most common maintenance questions asked by every new SUV owner is how often they should change the oil.
For years, experts have recommended that oil changes should be done every 5,000 km. However, today, most auto manufacturers suggest that the interval should be between 12,000 – 15,000km. But above all, the safest answer can be found in your owner’s manual.
Make it a habit to track and note down the mileage of your SUV whenever you change the oil or have it serviced by a mechanic.
4. Always Check The Tires
Keeping your tires in good condition can help you save money and prevent dangerous driving situations. So, it’s important to know when and what to check on your tires.
First off, you want to ensure that your car tires have the correct air pressure before you travel. Under-inflated tires can put you at high risk of damage or blowout. It also reduces the fuel efficiency of your car. Determine the optimal PSI for your SUV and get monthly tire pressure check-ups.
In addition, you also want to check for worn tire treads. Worn-out tires can reduce road grip and can cause slipping, especially on icy or wet roads. It’s important to replace your tires when the tread is all worn.
During regular maintenance check-ups for your SUV, the mechanic might recommend tire rotations as well as alignment and balance. Rotating your tires can avert irregular wear and tear and can keep the car fuel efficient. Meanwhile, balancing and re-aligning your tire ensures that your SUV doesn’t get pulled on one side.
Check your owner’s manual to see the recommended rotation, balance, and re-alignment for your car tires.
5. Understand The Warning Lights
Seeing a warning light can make a first-time SUV owner nervous and uneasy. The good news is that most warning lights are not worrisome. It can only mean that your car is low on gas or someone’s not wearing their seatbelt.
Other times, it could mean something more serious which will require immediate attention. The warnings you should take note of include, your coolant system not working properly, or your low-level motor oil.
Thus, it’s important that you understand the meaning of all the warning lights in your SUV. This prevents panicking when an unfamiliar warning icon starts glowing red.
6. Check The Battery
Although most SUV batteries don’t need much tending, it’s still important to know where they are and how to check them. This is particularly true if you suspect an issue with the battery.
Inspect your battery and make sure that there’s no corrosion or any build-up on its contacts. If so, you can clean it with a battery cleaning brush or you can let your SUV service centre handle it for you.
A car’s battery should be kept warm and insulated. Make sure that the lights, radio, and other things that are needing electricity supply are turned off to keep the battery from discharging. Check the voltage every month and change your car’s battery periodically.
7. Check The Brakes
If you drive in heavy traffic daily or travel a lot, your brakes tend to get a lot of pressure. If so, you always need to check them and ensure that they’re working properly.
Knowing when you need to have your brakes replaced is important. Some of the signs you need to watch out for include:
- High-pitched squealing when braking
- Metal-on-metal grinding sounds
- Vibrating steering wheel when stopping or slowing down
- Foul smell when pulling the brakes
- Putting more effort on the brake pedal
To prevent car accidents from happening due to a malfunctioning brake, take your SUV for routine brake check-ups once you notice any of the above signs.
8. Monitor Fluids
Fluids are the lifeblood of your SUV. Like us humans, cars can’t function properly without the necessary fluids and may cause disruptions in your regular travels or even accidents when left unchecked.
Even if you want to leave this to the pros, you also want to know how to inspect them yourself. In general, you can keep your SUV in good working order by making sure that these fluids are fresh and full:
- Washer fluid
- Radiator coolant or antifreeze fluid
- Air conditioning coolant
- Transmission fluid
- Brake fluid
- Power steering fluid
- Motor oil
A bit of maintenance effort can go a long way towards maintaining your SUV’s value and ensuring great performance for years to come. So, follow the simple tips above which can help keep your SUV in top condition and running like new. It will help save you the headache and money.