The Top Ten Parts to Maintain on Your Vehicle

October 21st, 2022 by

A close up shows a tire kicking up water.

We’ll be the first to say car maintenance isn’t the most exciting part of owning and enjoying your vehicle. That being said, we’d argue it’s probably the most important. Without proper maintenance, you can’t count on your vehicle to always be there for you and to get you to your destination safely, whether that’s simply getting to work each day, picking up your kids after school, or heading out of town for a weekend of fun. One of the main reasons we pride ourselves on our Nissan Express Service is that we can provide exceptional Nissan vehicle service quickly and efficiently, all while fitting into your busy schedule. You can get back on the road with the confidence that our expert service team has ensured your vehicle is in top working order.

Maintenance and upkeep on your vehicle might not be riveting, but it’s vital, and a lot of it is pretty simple upkeep. Most importantly, there are certain key parts and components on your vehicle that you should typically prioritize above others to keep it running beautifully. Above everything else, follow the schedule for service and maintenance provided by Nissan or your manufacturer if you have a vehicle from another brand. But alongside that, here are some key things to keep your eye on and give special attention to regularly.

#1 – Tires

To start with, the single most important part of your vehicle when it comes to routine maintenance is the tires. Since these are the only point of contact between your car and the road, they’re absolutely essential to not only the performance of your vehicle but how well you can maintain control. About once a month, you should check the pressure in them to make sure they have enough air, and check the tread to see that your tires don’t need to be replaced. It’s also a good idea to glance at your tires every time you approach your vehicle to make sure none of them are noticeably flat or damaged.

#2 – Motor Oil

The oil inside your engine is as important as the tires on your car. The engine in your car creates power through a series of controlled explosions that generate tremendous amounts of heat and energy. Your motor oil keeps all the moving parts from damaging each other and helps avoid excessive heat build-up in the engine. Check your oil once each month to ensure you have enough of it and that it still looks good; it should be amber and fairly transparent, not dark and sludgy.

#3 – Other Fluids

Your motor oil isn’t the only fluid you need to check fairly regularly; there are plenty of other liquids throughout your vehicle. While you’ll want a professional to check things like transmission and brake fluids, you can regularly check your coolant levels and other things like your windshield wiper fluid. Make sure you have plenty of coolant and antifreeze in the winter and replace your wiper fluid when it’s low. You can get wiper fluid with antifreeze when the temperature drops, which is perfect for clearing ice off your windshield.

#4 – Lights

Driving around with lights that aren’t functioning properly is not only unsafe, but it can also result in an expensive ticket if noticed by the police. It’s a good idea to check all of the lights on your vehicle every month or so; have it parked securely, turn on the lights, and then get out to check that they’re on and bright. You can also have someone help with this to make it even easier. It’s safer and less expensive to notice an issue and have it fixed quickly than to get a not-so-gentle reminder from a police officer.

#5 – Windshield Wipers

Another item you don’t want to learn that needs to be replaced the hard way is the wiper blades on your windshield. The rubber in the blades will wear down naturally over time, plus they’re fairly delicate and easy to damage in general. It’s a good idea to test your wiper blades about once a month, especially if you haven’t used them in a while. Replacement blades are pretty inexpensive and easy to replace yourself, so there’s no excuse for poor visibility in storms or during the winter.

A technician is shown inspecting a brake caliper.

#6 – Brakes

The brakes are equally important as your wheels when it comes to keeping your vehicle in control, but they’re a lot trickier to check. If you have some experience working on your car, you might feel comfortable getting it lifted up on blocks and looking at your brake pads to see if they need to be replaced soon. For most of us, however, it’s better to simply make sure you take your vehicle to a shop regularly so they can rotate your tires, replace them as needed, and check your brakes to see that they’re still in good shape. No matter what you do, brakes will wear out eventually, so you’ll have to replace them at some point.

#7 – Belts and Hoses

You won’t need to check these every month, but it’s a good idea to keep an eye on the various hoses and belts running through your vehicle. Again, many of these are in tricky spots that are hard to get a good look at for most of us in our garage, so professional assistance is great. Replacing a worn belt or hose is a great way to avoid a much larger and more expensive issue, so staying on top of things and being proactive can make your life a lot easier.

#8 – Battery

The absolute last thing you ever want is to learn that your car’s battery is dead when you’re out in the middle of nowhere or by the side of the road at 2 AM. It’s a good idea to have your battery checked twice a year to ensure it still holds a charge well and doesn’t need to be replaced. We recommend checking your battery before the winter, as the cold can make your battery less efficient. A new battery can be pricey, but it’s a lot better than being stranded somewhere.

#9 – Air Filters

There are a couple of different air filters on your vehicle, and it’s a good idea to have them each replaced on a fairly regular basis. The air filter for your engine ensures that the air going into the engine, which gets mixed with fuel, is clean of dirt and pollution that can muck up your vehicle; this should be replaced about once per year. There’s also a cabin air filter that helps remove dirt and dust from the air that comes into the cabin of your vehicle, which should also be replaced every so often. This is especially important if you suffer from allergies.

A technician is shown checking the gap on a spark plug during a Nissan Express Service.

#10 – Spark Plugs

Finally, the spark plugs in your engine are necessary for the explosions that power everything; without them, your car won’t start. If your engine is running rough, you might have a spark plug that’s dying on you, so checking and replacing them as needed is vital. This is a much easier and cheaper solution to engine issues than if you ignore them today and have to deal with a bigger problem down the road.

Regularly Checking These Components Is Key

In general, car maintenance is all about dealing with small, simple things as they come up to avoid worse problems later on. By keeping an eye on these parts and components of your vehicle, you’ll be in great shape to catch a minor inconvenience before it becomes an expensive nightmare. Any time you’re unsure of what an issue might be, or if you simply need routine service to keep your vehicle running beautifully, you can visit us at Thomas Nissan of Joliet, and we’ll be happy to address any of your concerns.