If you have a standard vehicle, not a super-complicated Tesla or other hybrid, you should start working on your vehicle. You don’t have to replace your engine or transmission on your own – I advise against that.

But you do have a lot of opportunities to fix your own car.

Cars are advanced enough now that you can read the engine codes and determine many issues plaguing your vehicle. Other noises, sounds or descriptions can be searched and found online on forums relating to your vehicle.

The biggest issue with making repairs is knowing what to repair.

Getting started is the scary part, and you’ll need a few items  before you get started with most repairs:

  • Flathead screwdrivers of all sizes
  • Phillips screwdrivers of all sizes
  • Plier sets
  • Socket sets
  • Rags
  • Variety of wrenches
  • Jack stands and jack or ramps
  • Visegrips
  • Pry bars
  • Torque wrench
  • Locking pliers
  • Lubricants like WD 40
  • Allen wrenches
  • Funnel
  • Bucket or pan

If you have just these items, you’ll be able to fix most of your vehicle’s issues. Maintenance, such as a basic oil change or coolant flush, will be a breeze. You’ll also need to have somewhere to purchase parts for your vehicle and possibly a junkyard nearby to purchase hard-to-find items.

Of course, you also have the Internet and next day shipping if you’re really in a bind.

And contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to have a garage to work on your car. All you need is a nice, flat space where you can jack up your vehicle or even drive on to ramps to hold the car in place. One key tip is to always use jack stands just in case the vehicle comes off of the jack.

People have been crushed under their vehicle – you do not want this.

Gather Resources on How to Make the Repair

Don’t just jump into the repair without having done your research first. If the problem is a worn belt, go on YouTube and find a video on how to replace a belt. You’ll find that there are a lot of guides and videos available for free.

You can also purchase a repair manual specifically for your car.

When making major repairs, I highly recommend these manuals. You’ll find these manuals at most automotive part stores. When in doubt, you can search the Internet for the repair manual so that you can make repairs exactly how the professionals recommend.

Watch a video on how to make the repair first before giving it a shot yourself.

Why?

You’re much more likely to make the repair properly if you have watched the repair on video before getting started. It’s all about familiarizing yourself with how to make the repair so that you have an idea of what to do when you open up the hood.

Basic Repairs and Maintenance Anyone Can Perform

There are repairs that you can make, and repairs you cannot make on your own. If you’re attempting to rebuild an engine with no prior experience, you may be able to do it, but chances are that you’ll have a horrible time.

Start off with minor maintenance and repairs before diving into the more tedious repairs.

The repairs and maintenance that you can definitely perform on your own are:

  • Changing belts. Drive belts are easy to replace, and you’ll know if belts need replacing if they’re too loose, cracked or worn. If the belt is loose, you can tighten it rather than replace it. Belts that squeal may need to be replaced. You do not want to try and replace a timing belt because they’re too important to make a mistake on. You can ruin your engine if you make a mistake when replacing a timing belt.
  • Basic auto body work. If you’ve been in a car accident, replacing a fender or even a hood is very easy. You’ll have a harder time if the frame is bent or if you need to get dents out of your vehicle.
  • Fluid changes. Basic fluid and filter changes are also easy. You’ll find that you can easily change your brake fluid, transmission fluid, coolant and oil/filter. These are basic maintenance options that allow you to start gaining confidence when making car repairs.
  • Replace spark plugs. Your vehicle’s spark plugs are essential for the entire combustion process. Replacing spark plugs is rather easy, but you’ll want to use a torque wrench to ensure that you do not under-tighten or over-tighten your plugs. If you do either, you may cause your vehicle’s performance to be erratic.
  • Change and clean the battery. Your battery may need to be replaced, or you may need to clean off the battery terminals. This is a very easy process, and it’s going to take just two or three minutes and a wire brush if you don’t have one available. You can also test the alternator or choose a multimeter to test your battery.
  • Replace brake pads. You can replace your brakes on your own, but this is a tedious replacement. You’ll want to make sure that you’ve read instructions on how to replace the brakes and that you have every tool you need to get started.
  • Replace hoses. Leaks often start in your vehicle’s hoses, and a small leak can turn in to a massive leak in just a few months. Replacing a hose is easy and often involves just clamping the hose into place.
  • Replace filters. Your vehicle has carbon air filters and regular air filters. These filters take seconds to swap out.
  • Replace distributor cap. If the distributor cap is loose or needs to be replaced, the check engine light will illuminate. Replacing the distributor cap is a breeze.

Making basic repairs on your vehicle will help you better understand how the vehicle works and also allows you to save money spent at the mechanic. With code readers, you’ll be able to accurately assess which repairs a vehicle needs and do all of the fun work on your own.

When electric cars first became popular, there was a theory that they would take more work to maintain than a gas-powered auto. I didn’t really look into how the engines worked or what the maintenance schedule would look like.

And a lot of other people didn’t either. We all just knew electric vehicles were better for the environment.

Then I recently saw my friend’s new Tesla, and I looked under the hood at the engine that didn’t exist. When you “pop the hood,” you’re welcomed by a little storage area and then underneath this area is where the engine and components are.

No fans. No radiator. No battery. No nothing under the hood.

Yes, there is a core computer and components tucked away, but these vehicles are very low maintenance. I dug deep into my own research after reading an article on HowStuffWorks, and I can say a few things:

  • You can throw your car health monitor out the window
  • You barely have to perform any maintenance
  • Costs may be the same in the long-term

When you consider that the engine and transmission are never going to go bad, you don’t need oil changes and brake changes will be very infrequent, you start thinking that the cost to maintain these vehicles is zero.

You won’t have to pay for a check engine light repair, but there is one major factor to consider: EV batteries.

When you replace a traditional battery, you pay $100 – $200, maybe slightly higher, for a high-end battery. Your alternator will continue recharging this battery for years, and there’s little worry of replacing the battery every 5 to 7 years because it’s not that expensive.

But an EV battery is giant, and they’re far more intensive than your standard battery.

Imagine your smartphone for a minute. When you first purchased the phone, you had 100% battery capacity and the phone would last 12 hours on a single charge without dipping below 20%. Fast-forward a year later. You check your iPhone’s battery health, and you realize it has just 80% of the capacity.

Batteries eventually lose their ability to recharge to 100%.

With an EV, this means that the range starts to diminish over time. You may get 300 miles with a battery at 100% capacity, but when it drops to 80%, you’re now able to get only 240 miles per charge.

If you drive only locally, this isn’t much of a big deal.

But when you’re going long-distance, you will have to recharge more often, which means more stops along the way.

Costs to Maintain an EV Versus a Gas Car

If you want to get into figures, let’s assume that you pay $3,000 over a five-year period to maintain your vehicle. This is just a random figure, but you would pay close to $1,000 to maintain your EV.

The costs to maintain your EV are one-third, or 33%, of a gasoline-powered automobile.

But the battery will be your ultimate deciding factor.

A hybrid battery can cost $1,000 to $6,000 to replace. Nissan’s Leaf battery costs $5,500 to replace. The battery’s charge cycles will be a big factor, and the Leaf lost two bars of battery life four years after the owner brought the vehicle in for their 20,000-maintenance.

The vehicle started with 12 bars, so a loss of 2 bars was something like 16% battery loss.

Tesla vehicles had a lot of crowdsourced data, and it was found that vehicles driven 70,000 to 220,000 miles still had at least 90% battery capacity left. Tesla does offer a replacement if the battery degrades rapidly.

EVs have a standard 100,000-mile warranty or 8 years for the battery.

So, let’s assume you had to replace your Tesla battery in 10 years, paying $6,000. The cost would bring the vehicle’s maintenance up to similar figures as a gasoline-powered vehicle, but a lot of vehicles don’t last 220,000 miles. You may have had to replace an engine or transmission or both during this time, so your costs for running a gas-powered vehicle over an EV, even with a battery replacement, would be significantly higher.

Your main replacements and costs will come from:

  • Brakes. The traditional EV braking system will last far longer than a conventional system. A lot of these braking systems will use the energy of braking to recharge the battery, so they will wear less on the brake pads. Tesla even makes claims that you may never have to replace your brakes in their vehicle – they last that long.
  • Tires. You can expect a fairly normal tire rotation and replacement schedule, so you will not be able to avoid replacing tires.
  • Coolant. The car’s battery runs very hot, and you will need to change the coolant on vehicles that make use of a thermal management system. Not all EVs have one of these systems, but if they do, the replacement will be similar to your conventional vehicle’s coolant replacement schedule.
  • Fluids. There are no oil changes to worry about or transmission fluid changes, but you will need to keep an eye on your brake fluid and wiper fluid. Both of these fluids are very easy to replace.
  • Wipers. Wiper blades should be replaced twice per year or when they become worn. These changes are standard across all vehicle types.

If you’re curious about the general pricing for all of the repairs you’ll need to make, we wrote another article on the topic.

Overall, the majority of your maintenance costs will be negligible, especially during the first 100,000 miles of ownership. Brakes can be expensive to replace, and your biggest concern will be your battery.

If your battery doesn’t go below 20% and doesn’t get charged to full capacity, you’ll be able to extend the battery life of your vehicle.

For anyone who drives locally with their EV and doesn’t plan on long road trips, you’ll spend significantly less on maintenance and may not have to worry about your battery losing 10% or 20% of its capacity.

Overall, maintaining an EV is far less expensive than a conventional vehicle.

It’s every driver’s worst nightmare: you’re traveling on the highway at 65 mph, and all of a sudden, your car starts overheating or the engine stops working. The last place anyone wants to break down is the highway. With cars traveling at high speeds in both directions, breaking down puts both you and other drivers at risk.

It’s easy to panic when other vehicles are whizzing by you after you pull over.

Staying calm and being prepared for this type of situation can make the entire ordeal less stressful.

Here are some tips to keep in mind if your vehicle breaks down while you’re on the highway.

Pull Over Safely

The first and most important thing is to get out of the travel lanes as quickly as possible without risking your safety. If possible, move into the shoulder so that you’re not blocking any lanes. Make note of your location for police and other responders. Turn your wheels away from traffic, and put on your emergency brake to prevent your car from rolling backwards.

If you’re able to pull over into the shoulder, make sure that you exit out of the passenger-side door and away from traffic. Stand far away from the vehicle – behind the guardrail if you can. There have been unfortunate cases of people pulling over and being struck or killed by other vehicles while in the shoulder. The goal is to stand as far away from traffic as possible to avoid this type of scenario.

You’ll also want to take steps to make yourself and your vehicle more noticeable to traffic.

  • Turn on your hazards
  • Set up reflective triangles, or use flares
  • Wear a reflective vest
  • Wave a flashlight

If you’re unable to move your vehicle from the travel lane and can’t safely exit your vehicle, stay put (with your seatbelt on), turn on your hazards and call emergency services.

Call for Help and Hang Back

Whether you’re stuck in a travel lane or on the shoulder, you’ll need to call for help. If you have roadside assistance through your insurance company, you can call them.

If you don’t have roadside assistance, you can call for a tow truck. Call 911 if there are injuries or you need further assistance.

Now is not the time to try and fix your vehicle, especially if you have no experience in this department. At the very least, have your vehicle towed someplace safe where you can work on it yourself. Typically, it’s best to just have your car towed to a mechanic and leave the repairs to the professionals.

If the problem is severe enough to make your car undrivable, then you should probably let the experts fix the issue (unless you’re a mechanic yourself or have lots of experience fixing cars).

Make note of any noises or unusual responses your car may have been making before it broke down. Did you notice any steam or smoke coming out from under the hood? Having this information on hand will help the roadside assistance technicians or mechanic offer you the best possible assistance.

Be Wary of Strangers

It’s possible that other drivers may pull over to ask if you’re okay or to offer their assistance. Most of these people are just good Samaritans trying to lend a helping hand, but it’s still important to be on your guard.

Unfortunately, there are some people who have ill intentions and try to take advantage of people in vulnerable situations.

If you’ve already called for help, you can politely inform other drivers that you’re waiting for assistance and thank them for their concern.

Be Prepared

Even with regular maintenance and care, breakdowns can happen. Something as simple as a nail puncturing the tire can make your car completely undriveable. If you’re prepared for this type of scenario, the entire ordeal will be far less stressful.

One great way to prepare is to carry an emergency kit in your vehicle. They’re generally inexpensive to buy and come with all of the essentials you need to deal with a breakdown.

You can also assemble your own kit.

To be on the safe side, consider keeping these items in your vehicle:

  • Cell phone with a charger
  • Jumper cables
  • Jack and flat board
  • Tire-pressure gauge
  • Notebook and pencils
  • Your vehicle’s operating manual
  • Emergency phone numbers
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Flares or reflectors
  • Reflective vest or signal flag
  • Heavy gloves
  • Blanket
  • Candles with waterproof matches
  • Coolant
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Drinking water and unperishable food
  • Ice scraper and snow brush
  • Windshield-washer fluid with wiping cloth
  • Toolkit
  • Umbrella
  • First aid kit
  • Extra fuses

If your vehicle didn’t come with a spare tire, you should consider buying one and storing it in your trunk.

This may seem like a lot of items to keep in your car, but most are small and can easily fit inside a bag or hard case that can be stored in your trunk.

Use Common Sense

If your vehicle is broken down on the side of the road, use common sense to keep yourself and your other passengers safe.

  • Don’t stand close to travel lanes
  • Make sure that you’re visible to other motorists
  • Don’t try to flag down vehicles or hitchhike
  • Call 911 if you need assistance – don’t try to handle a dangerous situation on your own
  • Don’t get out of the car if you can’t get off the road
  • Don’t try to change a flat tire on the side of the vehicle exposed to traffic

Stay Calm

Finally – and most importantly – stay calm. It’s easy to panic or feel overwhelmed in this type of stressful situation, but it’s important to take a deep breath and keep your cool.

If you’re panicked, you may make irrational decisions or become paralyzed by fear. Give yourself a minute to collect your thoughts, breathe and call for help.

Breaking down on the highway can be a scary experience, but if you’re prepared and can keep a calm head, it won’t be as stressful as you imagined. Just pull over (if you can) and wait inside of your vehicle for help if you cannot exit safely.

Are you driving around in an old car? Do you envy your friends and co-workers who have fancy tech upgrades in their cars? If your car is paid off, you don’t have to trade it in and take on another car payment just to get the tech boost you want.

There are many ways to give your old car a technology upgrade.

1. Rearview Camera

Before my 2002 Civic was totaled in an accident, I was really tempted to buy a new car just because I wanted a back-up camera. Now that my new car has one, I couldn’t imagine driving around without it.

I still check my mirrors and my surroundings, but my back-up camera helps ensure that I’m in the clear while I’m backing up. This is especially helpful when I’m at the grocery store where people and children can suddenly – without warning – run behind your car.

Rearview cameras have become so essential in the safety department that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration now requires them in all new vehicles. It’s a standard feature that can save lives.

Here’s the good news: you don’t have to buy a new car just to get a rearview camera. You can buy a quality aftermarket camera that you can install yourself for less than $200. Wireless cameras are also available that are even cheaper.

2. Heads-Up Display

A heads-up display, or HUD, displays your navigation as a transparent image that’s projected onto your windshield.

Many newer luxury vehicles, like those from Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Land Rover, offer this convenient feature. Some models come with this feature standard, but you can also find it as an optional upgrade on most new vehicles.

HUDs can display arrows for upcoming turns, but they also provide information on your mileage, speed, engine problems and more. It does all of this without requiring you to ever take your eyes off the road.

You can find standalone, aftermarket HUD systems (like this) for $300 or less. These systems will project onto a transparent screen that sits on the dashboard right in front of your windshield. Even the aftermarket systems can display your navigation as well as engine warnings.

3. Parking Sensors

Parking can be dangerous. Yes, you’re moving slow, but there are so many uncontrollable factors that can lead to an accident. You misjudge your vehicle’s position, so you clip the car next to you while pulling in. You rush to parallel park and hit the curb or a light pole.

There’s no doubt about it – moving in and out of parking spots is stressful. And sometimes, these struggles can lead to scratched or dented bumpers.

The newest vehicle models can park your car for you. But if you’re not ready to empty your bank account to buy a new vehicle, you can purchase and install parking sensors that will make your life a little easier – and less stressful.

Parking sensors usually activate when you shift your vehicle into reverse. They work by using sensors to measure sound waves. These sound waves help detect nearby objects. When you get too close to an object, the system will sound an alarm or flash lights to warn you that you’re close to hitting something.

Aftermarket parking sensors are incredibly affordable – less than $50.

Many of these sensor systems don’t require you to do any drilling or wiring, so they’re DIY-friendly. But just to be on the safe side, you may want to have a professional install it. You also need to make sure that you choose a system that’s compatible with your make and model vehicle.

4. Seat Massagers and Heaters

After a long day at work, the last thing you want is to get into a car with an uncomfortable seat. Even vehicles with comfortable driver seats can become uncomfortable after being stuck in a traffic jam for an hour.

Now, you can turn your car into a mobile spa with seat massagers and heaters. Car seat heaters were first introduced in 1996 with the Cadillac DeVille. Today, most new vehicles offer this feature. The Ford F-150 even has seat cooling and massaging functions.

If your car didn’t come with these features, you can install them yourself. You can buy seat covers with heat settings for less than $50. More advanced cushion options offer cooling and massage functions.

5. Bluetooth Stereo

Do you normally use your phone to listen to music? Most people use music streaming services to get their music fix, but if your vehicle doesn’t have Bluetooth connectivity built-in, you’re stuck scrolling through your phone to find your next tune.

And in most states, it’s illegal to do this while you’re driving.

Bluetooth connectivity allows you to sync your phone wirelessly to your sound system so that you can change your music or talk to callers over your car speakers.

If your car doesn’t have this functionality, you can replace your current stereo with one that’s Bluetooth equipped. And you can easily find a model that’s under $150.

6. Wi-Fi Hotspots

Have you ever been bored to tears as a passenger on a long road trip? You could have been more productive – or at least had more fun – if you had Wi-Fi on your phone.

New vehicles now come equipped with Wi-Fi hotspots, so you can connect anytime, anywhere. But what if you don’t want to buy a new car?

You can still get Wi-Fi by turning your phone into a wireless hotspot. There are also Wi-Fi adapters and mobile dongles that you can plug in to turn your car into a veritable hotspot.

New technology is making our cars more advanced and smarter than ever before. But you don’t have to spend a small fortune on a new vehicle just to enjoy these advancements. Many of these technologies are available as affordable, after-market systems that you can easily install yourself or with the help of a friend.

For more complicated systems, like those that require drilling and wiring, we recommend hiring a professional to get the job done right.

Car health monitors are great, but what if you didn’t need them at all? Today, we’re going to look at the electric automobile to see what type of maintenance these vehicles really need. Recently, I was able to sit in a Tesla and hear from the owner just how little maintenance these automobiles really need.

It’s not much.

So, what goes into maintaining an electric vehicle?

Brake  Servicing

Your vehicle will need to have its brakes serviced, but the interval for serving brakes is far longer than a standard vehicle. These brakes will convert some of the force from braking into energy to recharge your automobile’s battery.

When you do have to replace the brakes, you can be sure that you’ll pay a lot of money in the process.

Some Tesla owners claim to have paid $1,600 to replace their brakes. But Elon Musk has reassured owners that the vehicle’s brakes really wouldn’t need replacement. He tweeted that the brakes “literally never” have to be replaced.

The regenerative brakes reduce wear and are far more efficient than general brake pads.

What’s very different with an EV compared to a standard vehicle is that an EV doesn’t even need the brakes to be applied “most of the time.” When you let go of the gas, these vehicles automatically start slowing down and will remove the need for two pedal driving.

But the brake is there for those emergency situations when you need to stop rapidly.

Electronic motor resistance will be able to handle most braking for the driver. When, or if, the brakes need to be replaced, the driver will be able to rely on the vehicle’s wear indicator for proper replacement.

Brake Fluid Replacement

Brake fluid should be replaced, and this will be one of your most tedious maintenance requirements every two years or so. The fluid can be tested at a repair center to be able to determine if the fluid is contaminated or needs to be replaced.

Coolant Service

A standard auto requires anti-freeze to be able to cool the vehicle properly. The engine needs this coolant to ensure that it does not overheat and cease working. But what happens when the entire vehicle is operating electronically?

The engine doesn’t get hot.

But there’s one factor that a lot of people are overlooking: battery cooling. Your battery will get very hot, and in fact, without proper coolant, the battery will burst into flames. You’ll need to change this coolant to ensure that the battery lasts a long time.

And you’ll avoid your vehicle catching on fire, too.

Tesla had a coolant change recommendation that was around four years or every 50,000 miles, but then the company came out and said that the change was no longer necessary. Changes are not as “needed,” but you will have to change the battery coolant eventually.

Chevy’s Bolt has a coolant change every 150,000 miles, and this is more on par of when you can expect to have to change your coolant.

Unlike your engine coolant, which can often go a long time without flushing, you definitely don’t want to degrade your vehicle’s battery lifespan by not changing your coolant. A hot battery will degrade faster, and some of these EV batteries can cost as much as $15,000 or more to replace.

Tire Rotation, Balance and Alignment

Your vehicle’s tires are very much the same as in a standard vehicle. Replacing the tires is highly recommended when wear is shown. Of course, driver behavior will dictate the need to change tires earlier due to tread wear.

Tesla recommends that every 10,000 to 12,000 miles, you have the following done:

  • Tires inspected
  • Tires rotated
  • Balancing and aligning as necessary

This is all basic tire wear information, and it will allow you to continue driving safely. Tires that are allowed to become worn down will lose optimal traction and have a longer stopping distance.

Air Condition Servicing

Every EV’s air conditioning service requirements will vary, but the span is typically 2, 4 or 6 years based on Tesla’s recommendations. You’ll want to service the air conditioning system any time that you notice the air conditioner’s performance has dropped.

Basic Filter Changes

Your vehicle does not use oil and doesn’t have OBD 2 scanners, but many do come with state-of-the-art filtration systems. And any time there is a form of filtration, there is a filter that needs to be replaced.

Tesla’s recommended maintenance schedule has two main filter changes required:

  1. Cabin air filter. A cabin air filter can be found in all automobiles, and this is an air filter that is used to prevent pollen and dust, among other particles, from entering your vehicle’s vents. These filters need to be replaced every two years.
  2. HEPA. Some vehicles come with a HEPA filter, but others do not. You’ll want to refer to your vehicle’s manual to determine if your vehicle needs a HEPA filter. These filters are highly efficient, and they’ll need to be replaced every three years on average.

Filter changes are quick and easy maintenance items. You’ll notice that you don’t need to worry about an oil or fuel filter because your EV is highly efficient and doesn’t utilize combustion to propel the vehicle.

Lubrication and Winter Care

Winter is especially hard on all vehicles, and it’s time to take your vehicle in for basic maintenance. The cold will cause your brake’s calipers to lose some of its lubrication, so you’ll want to bring your vehicle in for care every 12 months or 12,500 miles to have the calipers lubricated.

Batteries cannot be maintained by the dealership, but they may need to be replaced at some point. When a battery needs to be replaced, it will cost you a lot of money if it’s not under warranty.

The good news is that Tesla offers a 120,000-mile warranty on their battery, and the Nissan LEAF claims that at 100,000 miles, the vehicle’s battery will still be at 66% capacity. If you only drive 10,000 miles a year, you won’t have to replace the battery for 10 to 12 years – if it needs replacing.

Car owners should be taking care of their vehicles. If the only time that you bring your vehicle into a shop is when the check engine light comes on, you’re going to lower the lifespan of your vehicle.

Maintenance needs to be performed routinely.

New vehicles, such as Hondas, will come with service reminders. These reminders may pop up with a letter and number, or the service may be an illuminated wrench that will require a mechanic to determine your maintenance needs.

But you can also follow a basic schedule that allows you to service your vehicle properly based on certain engine mileage.

This schedule should be followed for older vehicles, and it’s of the utmost importance to follow the schedule that is listed within the owner’s manual. A few of the basic maintenance tips and schedules that you should be following are:

3,000 – 7,000 Miles: Oil Change and Filter Replacement

Every time you’re at the 3,000 to 7,000-mile mark, it’s time to at least perform an oil and filter change. Synthetic oils last longer, but traditional oil should be changed every 3,000 miles or so. Remember to flush out the system and to change out your oil filter.

Reusing an old oil filter will only lead to subpar performance and will not increase the longevity of the vehicle.

This is also a good time to conduct the following inspections:

  • Tires
  • Wipers
  • Washer fluid
  • Power steering fluid
  • Engine coolant
  • Transmission fluid
  • Exterior lights

If any of the fluids are low, be sure to top them off. If fluid levels are severely low, you’ll want to check the vehicle for any leaks.

15,000 – 30,000 Mileage Intervals

When you hit the 15,000 and 30,000 mileage intervals, you’ll be doing a lot of inspection and potentially some maintenance, too. The inspections that you’ll be making are more serious than when you’re at the lower mileage intervals.

Basic inspection will include:

  • Coolant
  • Radiator hoses
  • Suspension components
  • Brake pads
  • HVAC system

You’ll want to check and refill the coolant as needed. You may need to replace the coolant at this time depending on the coolant color. If you notice that the coolant is discolored or there seems to be some debris in the coolant, you’ll need to flush the radiator and refill the coolant as needed.

Fuel filters often need to be changed at the 25,000-interval mark, so keep this in mind.

Air and cabin air filters should also be replaced. These two maintenance items are very easy to perform and will be much easier than a fuel filter to change.

Lube up any areas of the vehicle that need to be lubricated at this time. It’s also a good idea to check the tread on your tires to determine if the tires should be changed. Tires will improve the vehicle’s overall performance, including your vehicle’s stopping ability. Change tires as needed, or change to snow tires if you live in an area with harsh winters.

35,000 – 50,000 Mileage Intervals

Your vehicle is starting to show some wear at these interval levels, so it will be a good idea to have some major services done and possibly a tune-up. Batteries will need to be inspected at this time. If you see any corrosion on the terminals, be sure to clean of the corrosion with a wire brush.

This is a good time to replace an aging battery if needed.

Newer batteries can last 5 – 7 years (or longer) without any issues. You can also go to AutoZone or any local service center or mechanic shop to have your battery tested. Testing is often free and can save you the expense of having to replace an entire battery.

Spark plug wires and actual spark plugs will have to be at least checked at this time.

Wires should be replaced as needed. Different spark plugs last for different intervals, so you’ll need to change them on a must-change basis. You can look for videos online that will show you what different colors or corrosion or buildup will mean on your spark plugs.

The ignition system should also have a thorough inspection as well as your vehicle’s suspension.

Continue making these same inspections at the 45,000 and 50,000 interval mark if you have not needed to do maintenance.

60,000 Mileage Intervals

When your vehicle hits 60,000, 120,000 or 180,000+ mileage, you should be prepared for a few significant maintenance tasks to be made. You’ll be making replacements of many key parts, including your vehicle’s:

  • Brakes
  • Radiator hoses
  • Brake fluid
  • Engine coolant
  • Power steering fluid
  • Timing belt (depends on the vehicle)

A thorough inspection of the vehicle will also need to be performed. You’ll be looking for wear and tear on all of the belts and hoses. If cracks or leaks are present, or you notice that the hose is squishy, it’s time to replace.

Check to make sure that all major suspension components are functioning properly and have also been properly lubricated. Your mechanic will also be able to help you keep your vehicle in pristine condition by recommending any pertinent repairs as they present themselves.

Regular inspections should be performed, and it’s a smart idea to maintain the vehicle before summer and winter.

If your vehicle did not come with an owner’s manual, a lot of manufacturers are now putting them online for owners to download. These manuals will provide you with basic maintenance schedules that should always be followed.

It’s often better to take a proactive approach than to wait to complete a routine maintenance task.

For example, I recently brought my Civic into the shop to have the oil changed as well as the transmission fluid. The fluid for the transmission wasn’t dark, so the shop said that it wasn’t a necessity to have it done immediately, but that I will need it to be done soon. I opted to have the transmission fluid changed immediately because metal particles can get into the fluid and start to degrade the vehicle’s transmission.

All of these maintenance tasks are important, and when performed regularly, you can ensure that your vehicle is running in top condition.

UPDATED: 06.05.2020

Summer is the perfect time to take a road trip. It’s the best time of year to roll down the windows, listen to your favorite music and enjoy the freedom of the open road. But a lot can go wrong when you’re en route to your destination. A little preparation can go a long way in making your trip as stress-free as possible.

1. Get Your Car Serviced

Car trouble will instantly turn your dream trip into a nightmare. Take the time to get your car inspected and serviced before you hit the road.

Summer can be especially hard on your vehicle. The bright sun and high temperatures can lead to tire damage and put stress on your car’s fluids.

Have your tires, fluids and battery checked before you head out. And check out any other issues you’re concerned about while you have your car in the shop.

2. Put Together an Emergency Road Kit

Even if you get your car serviced, you may still run into car trouble. Flat tires, engine issues, dead batteries and other problems can come out of nowhere. Make sure that you pack an emergency road kit to ensure that you’re prepared for these unexpected events.

Make sure that your kit includes:

  • Jumper cables, or an automatic car jumper
  • Flat tire tools
  • Flashlight
  • Hazard flares and reflective triangles
  • First aid kit
  • Bottles of water
  • Blanket
  • Phone charger
  • Portable AC

Having an emergency kit on hand will give you some peace of mind that you have the supplies you need to get through an emergency situation.

3. Pack Snacks and Water

Part of the fun of a road trip is taking your time and enjoying the sights. But if you have to make a pit stop every time you need something to eat or drink, it will take you twice as long to reach your destination.

Depending on where you’re going, it could be 30-50 miles until the next gas station or stop off on the highway. If you’re traveling with kids (or even with some adults), you can expect them to get cranky if they get really hungry or thirsty.

To save you time and keep everyone in the car happy, be sure to pack plenty of snacks and water. Sandwiches are great for road trips if you have room for a cooler. You can restock on snacks and drinks when you stop to fuel up. And if you really feel like stopping for a sit-down dinner, you can do so without everyone feeling cranky.

4. Plan Your Route Carefully

Some people enter their destination into their GPS and head out without ever planning their route. While you can go this route, it may be helpful to plan out your route. Why? Because then you can mark off all travel stations, rest stops, hotels and points of interest along the way.

There are several apps that can help you plan your trip, including Google Maps.

If you plan to stop for the night, we don’t recommend booking a hotel too far in advance. You never know how the trip will go. A few unexpected delays can put you far behind, and the last thing you want to do is rush to your hotel. Instead, plan to book the room a few hours in advance or take your chances by pulling into a nearby hotel and asking for a room.

We also recommend having a paper map on hand, and marking off your route on here, too, so that you know where to go if you lose cell service or your phone. You can also download maps from Google for offline use.

5. Prepare for the Weather

Before you head out on the road, check the weather forecast. It may be sunny and hot at your current location, but there may be serious weather ahead. A bad thunderstorm could cause delays. Pouring rain will force you to slow down, and accidents are more common in heavy rain.

Don’t rush if there’s bad weather ahead. Accept that this is just another part of the road trip experience, and it’s okay to take your time. It’s better to arrive a little later than expected than to get into an accident.

6. Get a Portable AC

I recommend to get a portable AC for your roadtrip which you can use while you are doing a picnic.

But BE AWARE OF SCAMS! I saw a lot of advertisement popping up about portable air conditioners, you should only by from trusted sources.

Here are examples of ads that these people use:

arctic air mini portable ac scam arctic air mini portable ac arctic air portable ac cube

I have personally bought the one below.

https://www.amazon.com/Conditioner-SHSTFD-Evaporative-Humidifier-Rechargeable/dp/B085PS1MHM/ref=psdc_1193678_t2_B0858ZJH7S

I will try and keep this updated with ads that you should stay away from! Stay cool guys.

7. Be Defensive

If you’re planning your trip around a holiday, you can expect the roads to be packed with other travelers. Be defensive. Don’t travel too closely behind other cars, give other drivers room to merge, and be prepared to stop or slow down at any moment.

Warmer weather tends to bring out the worst in other drivers. People are happy and carefree, which means they aren’t always paying attention and can easily make mistakes.

8. Bring Entertainment

The radio can provide entertainment, but if you want to keep everyone happy, ask them to create their own playlists. This way, everyone can take turns listening to their favorite music. If you have kids, they can also bring their headphones and keep themselves busy on their devices.

Along with electronic devices, you may also want to pack magazines, books and other offline things to keep passengers busy and occupied.

9. Take Bathroom Breaks Whenever You Can

Make sure that everyone uses the restroom every time you make a stop. There’s nothing more frustrating than having to stop five minutes after pulling out of gas station because someone has to go to the bathroom.

It could be dozens of miles before you have another chance to stop to use a bathroom, and the facilities may not be as clean as you’d like. Whenever you stop at a travel station, make sure that everyone uses the restroom.

Road trips can be a lot of fun, especially if you go with the right people. But it’s important to be prepared and plan ahead so that everything goes as smoothly as possible. Packing the right gear and planning your stops can save you a lot of headaches and frustration.

 

Mass air flow sensors are a bane for car owners. When your check engine  light comes on, there’s a good chance that it’s alerting you to some form of an air flow issue in your vehicle. The vehicle’s air flow is very important and will take significant amounts of air into the vehicle to keep the vehicle running properly.

But a lot of owners do not know how to correct the issue or why sensors go bad in the first place.

You can also clean a mass air flow sensor which may help it work better or start working properly again.

What’s the Purpose of a Mass Air Flow Sensor?

Your vehicle has a lot of sensors, and this sensor is meant to provide just the right amount of air for the fuel injection system. Sensors monitor the amount of air that enters the system and makes its way to the Engine Control Unit.

The right balance is very precise, and poor engine performance will be one of the main issues when these sensors no longer work properly.

Signs that your sensor may not be functioning properly are:

  • The engine is struggling to turn over
  • The vehicle is having issues starting
  • The vehicle stalls shortly after starting
  • Under load or when idle, the engine hesitates
  • During acceleration, the vehicle will hesitate or even drag
  • The engine “hiccups”

A complete diagnostic check will be needed to be able to determine exactly what’s wrong with the vehicle. A mechanic will be able to check the engine’s code to determine if the sensor is bad or not.

You can also use a code reader or scanner to be able to determine if the sensor is bad on your own.

Why Mass Air Flow Sensors Fail

Sensors are in use every time your vehicle is operating. A lot of manufacturers have repeated issues with sensors, so this is common. You’ll find that these issues plague BMW, Mercedes, Ford, Toyota, Honda – every manufacturer has problems.

The sensor can be:

  • Contaminated
  • Damaged

If you did not install the air filter properly, it can lead to the immature failing of the sensor. There are also many owners which will allow for air filters to be cleaned by soaking it. When these filters are reinstalled, the extra dampness can lead to sensor damage.

There’s also the risk of debris getting stuck in the sensor which can lead to failure.

The good news is that while the sensors are expensive, they’re also easy to fix. Depending on the vehicle, the sensor can be $100 to $400 to purchase. You’ll also want to take this time to replace your air filter and ensure that it’s properly installed.

You do not want to have to replace the sensor again because the filter wasn’t properly installed.

Sensors will also take in a lot of pollution, and if the sensor is dirty, you should try to clean it before replacing it. A lot of mechanics will recommend that you try to clean the sensor so that it starts working again. Cleaning may only be a temporary solution, but it depends if the sensor has another fault that you’ve yet to discover.

How to Clean a Mass Air Flow Sensor

If you want to clean the sensor, you can definitely clean it on your own. A lot of people never clean their sensor, but some mechanics recommend cleaning the sensor each time you change the air filter or every six months.

It’s up to you whether or not to clean the sensor, but it can only help your vehicle run better for longer.

You’ll want to gather a few items before getting started:

  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Plastic bag

I am going to tell you the homemade solution for cleaning your sensor. If you go to your local auto parts store, you’ll find that there are commercial cleaners that can be used that will work just as well.

These commercial cleaners are more expensive than the at-home method, and you’ll need to get to the store, too.

Once you have gathered all of your supplies, you’ll want to remove your vehicle’s sensor. You can watch YouTube to figure this out, but it’s really easy once you locate the vehicle’s air box. Once located, open up the box and then you’ll want to use a screwdriver to get the sensor out of the box.

Do not touch any wires at this time.

The wires are very delicate, so touching them can lead to the wire breaking, which is a very costly repair. You may have to pay up to $100 just to replace these wires, so be very careful.

Everything is disconnected, and now it’s time to commence with the cleaning.

You can fill the plastic bag with alcohol, place the sensor inside of the bag and gently swish the alcohol around. The goal is to have the rubbing alcohol remove all of the dirt and debris off of the sensor.

Continue moving the bag around until the sensor is completely free of any dirt and grime.

It’s time to remove the sensor from the bag and allow it to dry properly. I recommend placing the sensor on a clean cloth that is free from any loose fabric. You need to allow the sensor to fully dry. A lot of people recommend 20 minutes of drying, but it usually takes me a lot longer until the sensor is completely dry.

I recommend performing your cleaning on a night when you have the next day off of work.

You’ll be allowed to let the sensor air dry for the entire night before reinstalling.

If the sensor is still wet when installed, it may become damaged and will need a full replacement. Reinstallation can be performed in the same manner as removing the sensor initially.

Mass air flow sensors will reach a point where they’re no longer a viable option to clean. Replacing the sensor is the only option at this point. The sensor may also last the lifetime of the vehicle, which is a best-case scenario.

Preventing accidents is important, but you’re at the mercy of other drivers on the road. A motorist may opt to dart out in front of your vehicle, and in that split second, your vehicle is totaled and you end up in the hospital.

It happens to millions of people per year.

But the vehicle that you drive will dictate your safety, too. Some vehicles are inherently safe by design; they’re able to withstand impact and protect passengers better than other vehicles.

The safest vehicles this year, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety are:

1. 2019 Honda Insight 4-Door Sedan

Honda has stepped up their vehicle safety with great overlap in the front, good roof strength, good head restraints and seats. Honda includes a front crash prevention system standard in this model along with LATCH for car seat safety.

There are additional safety features available, including lane departure prevention and lane departure warning systems.

2. 2019 Hyundai  Elantra 4-Door Sedan

Hyundai gets a top safety pick only with models that were built after September 2018. The rating is also given only with the front crash prevention system and specific headlights installed. A small car, the Elantra’s overlap, side and roof strength are all good.

The non-optional headlights received a poor rating, so consumers will want to upgrade to the optional headlights.

3. 2019 Kia Forte 4-Door Sedan

The Forte is a very safe vehicle once the optional headlights are installed. The vehicle comes with a front crash protection system and scored a good rating across the board for crashworthiness.

Additional safety features that can be installed are:

  • Daytime running lights
  • Lane departure prevention / warning system
  • Blind spot detection

4. 2020 Kia Soul 4-Door Wagon

Kia’s Soul is another safe vehicle, but it only receives the award for safety when the optional headlights and crash prevention systems are installed. The vehicle’s standard headlights received a poor rating, and the LATCH ease of use is acceptable and could be better.

5. 2019 Subaru Impreza 4-Door Sedan

The Impreza does well with its standard headlights which received a moderate safety rating, but you’ll want to install the optional headlights for best crash avoidance. The LATCH system received one of the best safety ratings, and owners should opt to install the additional crash prevention system.

Front and side curtain airbags work exceptionally well in crash tests, and survival space for the driver was well-maintained during the test.

6. 2019 Toyota Camry 4-Door Sedan

Toyota still receives a great rating with their acceptable headlights, but it’s better to upgrade the headlights for added safety. The LATCH system is one of the easiest in the lineup to use. Front crash prevention comes standard.

Driver and passenger space were both well-maintained during the crash test, with low risk of injury to the legs or feet.

7. 2019 Hyundai Sonata 4-Door Sedan

The Sonata needs to need specific headlights and front crash prevention systems installed to offer the highest level of safety. This mid-size vehicle has poor standard headlights and four additional safety upgrades to make the Sonata safer.

One thing to note is that there is a moderate risk of injury to the driver’s left foot as indicated in the crash test. The front and side airbags worked well to keep the occupant from injury.

8. 2019 BMW  3 Series 4-Door Sedan

The 3 Series, four-door only model is safest when specific headlights are installed. A luxury vehicle, the BMW 3 has multiple headlight options, with the standard headlights receiving a poor rating.

The vehicle has a safe design, but headlights remain a problem. Standard headlights do not offer curve-adaptive or high-beam assist which many of the upgrades offer.

9. 2019 Toyota Avalon 4-Door Sedan

You’ll want the Avalon if it’s been built after September 2018. The vehicle works best with specific headlights installed. LATCH ease of use receives a high rating, and a front crash prevention system is installed standard.

Low risk of injury for both drivers and passengers were noted in Toyota’s internal tests.

Vehicles manufactured prior to September 2018 have not had their safety ratings verified.

10. 2019 Audi A6 4-Door Sedan

The Audi A6 is another vehicle on our list that receives a higher safety rating when the right headlights are installed. Standard headlights seem to perform poorly across the board, as new technologies allow the driver to have greater overall vision when driving at night.

A standard front crash prevention system is installed, and the AWD version of the vehicle performs well when driving in icy conditions.

Note: This list is not in any particular order, as the top picks for safety are handed out to vehicle classes.

Headlights seem to be a major concern for many vehicles. High-beam assist is a newer technology that allows drivers to see further without needing to flick their high beams off and on manually. There is also curve-adaptive technology which allows drivers to see better around curves than with standard headlights.

Low-beam headlights remain a concern when going around curves due to the visibility dropping around sharp curves. High-beams help drivers see better around curves which is one of the main reasons that high-beam assist is able to push vehicle safety ratings higher.

Consumers of all makes and models will want to purchase the optional lighting systems when available.

Keep in mind that many other makes and models made the list, including the 2019:

  • BMW 5 Series
  • Genesis G70
  • Genesis G80
  • Genesis G90
  • Lincoln Continental
  • Mercedes-Benz E-Class
  • BMW X2
  • Hyundai Kona
  • Hyundai Tucson
  • Mazda CX-5
  • Subaru Forester
  • Volvo XC40
  • Hyundai Santa Fe
  • Kia Sorento
  • Subaru Ascent
  • Acura RDX
  • BMW X3
  • BMW X5
  • Mercedes Benz GLC
  • Mercedes Benz GLE

Recent news reports have the Tesla Model 3 receiving a 5-star safety rating. The vehicle is routinely able to achieve the highest safety awards and is one of the safest vehicles made. Reports suggest that the Model 3 received one of the highest safety ratings ever.

Thanks to new automotive technologies, we expect vehicles to continue becoming safer, reducing the risk of death or injury in automobile accidents.

When most people think of high vehicle maintenance costs, they think of luxury, exotic cars. And there’s no question that it costs more to maintain a Ferrari than it does a Honda. But you might be surprised by how much some ordinary vehicles cost to maintain over ten years.

Here are the 15 most expensive cars to maintain.

1. Chrysler Sebring – $17,100

Chrysler brand vehicles have some of the highest average maintenance costs across the board. But the Sebring’s average maintenance cost stands out in their line-up. Over its first 10 years, owners can expect to pay $17,100 in maintenance costs.

The Sebring was one of the only affordable midsize cars that was available in both sedan and convertible. But the model was discontinued in 2010 in part because maintenance costs were so high.

In 2011, Chrysler made some major changes to the Sebring and renamed it the Chrysler 200.

2. BMW 328i – $15,600

The BMW 3-Series dates all the way back to the 1970s, and was referred to by Edmunds as “about as slam-dunk-wonderful a car as there is available.”

The 3-Series was BMW’s effort to replace its outdated 2002 Coupe.

The 328i of today maintains BMW’s tradition, but it’s an expensive model to maintain – $15,600 over 10 years. BMWs, as a whole, are the most expensive cars to repair in the entire industry.

3. Nissan Murano – $14,700

The Nissan Motor Company opened its doors in 1934, but the company established itself as a leader in the industry in the 1970s when drivers were looking for more fuel-efficient vehicles.

The Murano was launched in 2003, and it’s still one of Nissan’s best-selling vehicles. But it will cost you a pretty penny to maintain this vehicle: $14,700 over 10 years.

4. Mercedes-Benz E350 – $14,700

It’s not surprising that a Mercedez-Benz model would show up on a list of the most expensive vehicles to maintain. The brand’s E-Class vehicles have been the definition of midsize luxury vehicles since it was released in 1994.

The E350 is quiet, fuel-efficient and offers superior handling. But this model comes at a high maintenance cost of $14,700 over 10 years.

5. Chevrolet Cobalt – $14,500

The Chevy Cavalier was a mainstay in the compact car segment for more than two decades, but the brand replaced this model with the Cobalt in 2005.

Chevy designed the Cobalt to be more refined and luxurious than the Cavalier, but the maintenance costs are high: $14,500 over 10 years.

6. Dodge Grand Caravan – $14,500

The Dodge Caravan dates all the way back to 1983. The Grand Caravan, which had a longer wheelbase, was introduced just a few years later. In 2007, Dodge ditched the original Caravan, leaving only the Grand Caravan.

The iconic family van costs more than the average Dodge vehicle to maintain: $14,500 over 10 years.

7. Dodge Ram 1500 – $13,300

Dodge has been making trucks since 1917, but it didn’t introduce the Ram until 1981. In 1994, they introduced the 1500, a half-ton pickup.

Today, the Ram 1500 is still incredibly popular, but this vehicle comes at a higher maintenance cost. Most Dodge vehicles cost an average of $10,600 to maintain over 10 years, but the Ram 1500 costs $13,300.

8. Mazda 6 – $12,700

Introduced in 2003, the Mazda 6 is one of the best-selling midsize sedans on the market, but it’s also among the most expensive to maintain among Mazda vehicles at $12,700 over 10 years.

9. Subaru Forester – $12,200

The Subaru Forester was introduced in 1998, although the Subaru brand dates back to 1950. This compact SUV was built on the Impreza platform.

As a whole, Subaru’s cost $8,200 over 10 years to maintain, but the Forester stands out at $12,200 in maintenance costs.

10. Acura TL – $12,100

Founded in 1986, Acura has always been the luxury unit of the Honda brand. The TL was unveiled in 1995 as a front-wheel-drive luxury sedan to replace the Acura Vigor.

The TL was Acura’s best-selling model until 2007 when the MDX outsold it. Sales have declined over the years, but the TL was once the second best-selling luxury sedan in the U.S. behind the BMW 3 Series.

Acura’s aren’t cheap to maintain, but the TL costs $12,100 over 10 years.

11. Nissan Maxima – $12,000

The Maxima emerged in 1982 and quickly evolved into a luxury sedan. The Maxima has always been known for its technological innovations, and in 2016, Nissan rolled the eighth-generation Maxima off the assembly line.

On average, Nissans cost $7,600 to maintain over 10 years, but the Maxima costs nearly double that at $12,000.

12. Chrysler 300 – $12,000

The 300 has been the definition of the Chrysler brand since it was first released in 1955, known then as the Three Hundred. Some consider the 300 to the first muscle car, and it still stands as the brand’s flagship automobile.

The modern 300 first debuted as a concept car at the 2003 New York International Auto Show.

On average, Chryslers have a 10-year maintenance cost of $10,600, but the 300 is even pricier at $12,000.

13. Ford Mustang – $11,900

The public got a first glimpse at the iconic Ford Mustang at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York, and they immediately fell in love. Ford produced more than 400,000 Mustangs in the first year alone.

More than 10 million Mustangs have been produced in the U.S. since then.

Ford vehicles are expensive to maintain, with an average of $9,100 over 10 years. The Mustang is pricier at $11,900 over the same time period.

14. Audi A4 – $11,800

The Audi four-ring emblem is iconic, and the brand is renowned for its German engineering. The A4 was first introduced in 1994 and is now in its fifth generation.

All Audi vehicles are expensive to maintain, but the A4 sits up high on the list at $11,800 over 10 years.

15. Volkswagen Passat – $11,600

Volkswagen was founded in 1937, and was Germany’s version of the “people’s car.” VWs didn’t really gain much traction in the U.S. until 1959 with the introduction of the Beetle, which would become the best-selling import in the U.S.

The Passat was introduced in 1973 and is now in its eighth generation. While popular among car owners, this model still costs quite a bit to maintain at $11,600 over 10 years.