How to Maintain your Car in Top Shape - 6
Schedule, Parts & Labour:
Stick to manufacturer-recommended service guidelines. Pay extra attention to critical items like the timing belt replacement.
Only use original parts, or parts with equivalent quality from reputable manufacturers. Avoid cheaper ripoffs at any and all costs. Buy your spare parts either from the company workshop or outlets of repute.
The single most important thing you can do for your car’s health is change the engine oil on time. Don’t ever overshoot manufacturer-recommended oil change intervals. Personally, I don’t believe in the new 15,000 km intervals and would much rather change the oil @ 7,500 – 10,000 kms tops.
Use synthetic oil, especially if you have a heavy right foot or intend to retain your car for a long time (Related article). Synthetic oil offers vastly superior lubricating and cooling properties, but it certainly isn't a must-have.
Clean / replace your air-filter at manufacturer-recommended intervals (dirt is bad for your engine & turbo). Ditto for all fluids (brake, transmission, radiator etc.). Importantly, respect the indicated min / max levels. Filling excessive oil can at times be as damaging as too little oil.
Service / top up your battery and clean its terminals (white acidic build up) at least once a year. This is an area often ignored by authorised service stations.
Get your wheels (including spare) balanced, aligned & rotated periodically. Personally, I do this every 10,000 kms.
In Indian driving conditions, tyres are usually at the end of their service life when they are 6 years old, or have run 40,000 kms (recommended) - 50,000 kms (absolute maximum). Even if you have tread depth left, the rubber has gotten too hard and the grippy part completely worn out by this time. It might be added that some performance tyres wear out even faster. If your tyre tread has worn out earlier, replace the tyre immediately.
Use valve caps on all tyres. No, they aren't just for show. Valve caps keep dust and dirt out of the valve area and help in preventing slow leaks.
Change your windshield wipers every year (recommended) or two (maximum). They harden with time and from being exposed to the sun.
If you choose to modify, stick to proven, reliable & high quality parts and labour. There is a saying in the modifications world - "Cheap, Fast & Reliable. Pick any two."
If you do get after-market electrical work done (e.g. headlamp or ICE upgrade), stick to a top electrical shop. Pay the premium and do NOT compromise on the quality of install. Ensure that the correctly rated fuses are used and properly placed in the circuit.
If in doubt over a technical problem, search through Team-BHP! There isn't a mechanical issue we haven't discussed yet.