Gianetta Palmer is a writer, copywriter, and essayist. Her work has appeared in EverydayHealth.com, Healthline, and The Dyrt Magazine. She is the author of Scrunchie-Fried and writes a lot about car insurance in her spare time.

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity-backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He also has an MBA from the University of South Florid...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP®

UPDATED: Jun 24, 2020

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Each and every week, you give your car a beating with your daily commute. Whether you drive a ton of miles every day or constantly deal with stop-and-go traffic, your car could benefit from some regular, quick-and-easy maintenance at the end of each week.

After all, the better you maintain your vehicle, the longer it will last without hitch. You’ll save money on repairs, and you’ll never have to stress about it potentially breaking down in the rain on a highway.

Best of all the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says it good for the environment when you do proper auto maintenance.

Top Tips to Keep Your Vehicle From Heading to the Costly Mechanic

MaintenanceTip
Check and change the oilCar Engine will last longer.
Flush the cooling system and change coolant once a yearUse distilled water. Tap water will ruin the coolant system faster.
Change out transmission oilChange out at service intervals.
Wash VehicleSalt especially will eat / ruin a nice car.
Park in the shadeSunlight will ruin the interior and paint of a vehicle.
Check / Replace brake fluidWater can get into the brake lines.
Tire PressureLow pressure means tires can be ruined faster.
Engine warm upLet your engine idle for 30 secs to a minute, then drive.
Lubricate U-jointsMoving parts need to be greased.
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Finding the time to perform vehicle maintenance isn’t always easy, especially during the week. Fortunately, there are a few quick and easy tasks that you can do on the weekend to keep your car in good shape. Not a car buff? No problem.

Each of these 5 tasks are quick and easy to perform, which means you won’t have to waste your entire Saturday watching car maintenance videos on YouTube before getting started.

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1. Clean your headlight covers

showing before and after shots of using headlight restoration compound
Using a headlight restoration compound can make your headlight look new. Not only is this a good maintenance procedure, but as well as safety.

If you drive at night, then you know just how important it is to have good visibility. Dirty headlights, however, can make it hard to see potential obstacles in front of you as you drive, increasingly your likelihood of being involved in an accident.

Graph showing the cost of repairs to a vehicle when proper maintenance is not performed.
Most of the parts will wear down and need to be replaced. However, without proper maintenance to your vehicle the parts (components) wear out faster. As illustrated repairs can be expensive.

 

By cleaning your headlight covers every Saturday or Sunday, you’ll prevent them from getting cloudy, and ensure that your visibility at night is as good as it’s ever been.

The process is simple and incredibly cost-effective. Headlight restoration compounds can be purchased for under $10. Once applied, and then allowed to dry, the compound is easy to wipe off with a clean rag as mentioned by Popular Mechanics.

With this easy vehicle maintenance task, you’ll never have to worry about driving with poor visibility at night ever again.

Top Selling Headlight Restoration Kits

RankingProduct Overall Rating
1Meguiar's G3000 Heavy Duty Headlight Restoration Kit4.5 / 5
2SYLVANIA Headlight Restoration Kit4.6 / 5
3Mothers 07251 NuLens Headlight Renewal Kit4.1 / 5
43M 39008 Headlight Lens Restoration System4.5 / 5
5Turtle Wax T-240KT Headlight Lens Restorer Kit4.0 / 5
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Note: These are the top sellers on Amazon.com

2. Check your car’s tire pressure

showing a person checking their vehicle's tire pressure
It is important to check your vehicles tire pressure especially after cold or warmer weather. Maintaining proper tire pressure help them to wear evenly which prolongs the life of the tires and improves fuel economy.

There is no easier, yet more important vehicle maintenance tasks that you can do to ensure that you have a safe and fuel-efficient commute.

With an inexpensive digital tire pressure gauge, you can check your car’s tires in less than 2 minutes.

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By maintaining adequate pressure (get the pressure specifications from your car’s manual, or from inside from driver-side door), your ensure that your tires last longer, and you’ll also save on gas by improving your car’s fuel efficiency.

Graph showing the cost of transmission and engine repair from 700 to 3000 dollars
Two of the repairs can easily be avoid with proper oil levels, timely changes, and checking transmission fluid. Improper maintenance schedules could cost a driver $7,000 in some instances.

3. Clean and inspect your vehicle’s battery

A clean car battery will last longer, and more importantly, stand up to the extreme conditions it will face during frigid winters and scorching-hot summers.

Believe it or not, cleaning your battery is a rather simple process, and can be done with common household ingredients.

Baking soda and water solution for car battery
Using a simple solution of baking soda and water will do wonders on a dirty car battery.

Use a solution of baking soda and water, and then scrub off any corrosion that may be hindering the performance of your battery.

Always remember to disconnect the battery prior to cleaning, and don’t forget to wear rubber gloves. It’s always a good idea to check the expiration date of the battery to make sure you aren’t long overdue to buy a new one.

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4. Check your car’s oil

One car maintenance task that you absolutely should not overlook is checking the oil.

This process can be done in less than a minute, which means there’s no excuse for not getting it done during the weekend.

To check your oil, make sure your engine is off. Pull the dipstick, and the wipe it to ensure it’s clean.

showing the minimum and maximum level on a dipstick
Your vehicles dipstick will have a minimum and maximum line. Make sure the oil level is between the two levels. The proper time to check your vehicles oil is after a it has been warmed up and on level ground. Photo courtesy of Evans Halshaw.

Re-insert the dipstick, pull it back out, and check the oil level markings. The markings should always be at the full line.

5. Check the coolant system

There’s nothing worse than having to pull off the highway because your engine overheated.

By spending a quick minute or two checking to ensure that your coolant level is where it should be, you’ll likely prevent that nightmare.

showing a coolant reservoir
Your coolant reservoir should look something like the picture above. You want to make sure you have proper levels. Be sure to check this rather than opening the radiator cap. If the reservoir doesn’t reach the full line add a 50/50 mixture of water and coolant. Photo courtesy of sae.org.

If you find that your coolant levels are low, it would be wise to top them off, and then check again the following week to determine whether or not you have a leak that needs to be addressed.

You should have to wait for your mechanic to perform simple car maintenance tasks on your vehicle. By doing these 5 mentioned tasks each week, you’ll ensure that your car is running smoothly for the long haul.