Savvy drivers recognize that maintenance is essential to keeping their vehicles running strong for years on end. Such maintenance ensures vehicles are safe to take out on the road, and basic upkeep also protects drivers’ financial investments in their cars and trucks. 

Drivers who are not mechanically inclined tend to put their vehicles in the hands of a trusted mechanic to perform routine maintenance like oil changes. 

• Brake inspections: Brake inspections are best left to the professionals, who can check the thickness of brake pads and look for other indicators of excessive wear. The automotive resource Cars.com recommends having brakes inspected during routine tire rotations, which many automotive professionals suggest should be done every six months.

• Car wash: Carwashes might not be the first task drivers associate with vehicle maintenance, but they can prevent long-term damage to cars and trucks. Damage from bird droppings and road salt and ice melt products in the winter can damage a vehicle’s paint job and its undercarriage. Wash the car on your own, go through a professional car wash, or hire an auto detailing company to perform this maintenance

at regular intervals and whenever you notice a significant buildup of dirt and grime on the car’s exterior.

• Air filter: The air filter on a car or truck prevents debris, dirt, and other contaminants from getting into the engine. The auto insurance experts at Allstate® advise drivers to inspect their vehicle air filters once a year. Air filters in need of replacement may appear dirty, and reduced fuel economy, unusual engine sounds, and reduced horsepower are some other potential indicators that an air filters needs to be replaced.

• Windshield wipers: Windshield wiper blades are easily overlooked, but various automotive experts recommend replacing wiper blades every six to 12 months. Old wiper blades won’t perform at peak capacity, dramatically reducing visibility during heavy rain and snowstorms.

Vehicle maintenance is not exclusive to tending to what’s under the hood. Keeping a car running smoothly for years involves routine tasks that many drivers need to pay attention to.