Car Care Tips for New Car Owners

Whether you are 16 years old and brand new to independent driving, or a first-time new car owner, your top priority should be safe driving. But there is more to being a safe driver other than skill and knowledge; it is equally important to know how to take good care of your vehicle and stay on top of routine maintenance. This ensures optimal performance and efficiency, which in turn supports safer driving. As a newbie to automotive responsibility, it is strongly encouraged to review and understand the basics of car care, and then keep up with your vehicle’s factory scheduled services.

Continue below to learn some fundamental car care tips for new car owners.

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Indianapolis Car Maintenance and Repair 317-475-1846

The Importance of Routine Car Care

If you want to be the safest driver you can possibly be, then you will need to add routine car maintenance to your list of priorities. Regular car care allows your vehicle to perform its best and last much longer. Routine and proper car care can also reduce the frequency or likelihood of mechanic expenses for costly breakdowns and auto part replacements.

Although the detailed factory scheduled maintenance checklist varies depending on the type of driver you are and your car’s make and model, there are a few basic services and needs that all car owners will need to implement in order to maintain a safe and reliable vehicle. From fluid changes and radiator flushes to tune-ups, wiper replacements, and more, you can be a better driver if you take good care of your car.

Recommended Automotive Services for All Car Owners

Fluid Changes

Your car uses several fluids, seven in fact. They all need to be swapped out or refilled regularly for optimal performance and longevity. These include motor oil, radiator fluid (coolant, transmission fluid, brake fluid, power steering fluid, battery fluid (usually just water), and windshield wiper fluid. Refer to your owners’ manual, or look it up online, to see how often all of these need to be replaced. As for wiper fluid, you can often detect the need for a refill yourself. As for oil changes, the average recommendation is every 3,000 to 5,000 miles, but this can vary depending on how often you drive and other factors.

Battery Service

You can expect to have your car battery replaced every 7,500 miles or so, which is usually around 48 months. You will likely start to see the signs of a failing battery, such as dimming lights, stalled engine, and sluggish performance. Be sure you always have a set of jumper cables in your trunk so that you can jump start the battery if it dies.

Tire Care

Your tires are arguably one of the most important exterior features of a car. After all, they make actual contact with the road, while providing traction to keep there, and in control. For this reason, it is important to take good care of your car tires with routine rotation and balancing, as well as regular tire pressure inspections and air refills. Try to have your tires serviced every 6 months, or every 7,500 miles.

Brake Service

Along with your tires, your brakes are also vital automotive components necessary for safety. Be sure to have your brakes checked and serviced every year. A typical automotive brake inspection should include an inspection of all lights, hoses, lines, and electrical components, as well as cleaning, brake fluid replenishment, vehicle alignment, brake pad replacement, brake rotor replacement, and a test drive.

Engine Inspections and Tune Ups

Along with your routine oil change, your engine will need a basic inspection and a few tweaks, and perhaps even a little cleaning, while it’s in the shop. This level of engine service should be done at least once every year.

Exterior Car Care

It is also important to keep your car clean. Neglecting to wash your car regularly will subject it to years of piled up residue, which can cause paint erosion, rust, and more. This type of damage will also have a devastating impact on a vehicle’s overall resale value. Of course, it is also recommended to keep the inside of your car clean as much as possible for optimal driving safety.

Does your car need some routine maintenance? Contact Northeast Auto Service at 317-475-1846 for superior, ASE licensed auto repair and service in Indianapolis, Indiana. We service all make and model vehicles.

You Should Also Read:

How to Jump Start a Car Battery
Collective Car Care Tips and Tricks You Need to Know
Car Tire FAQS

Indianapolis Auto Mechanic
Indianapolis Auto Mechanics 317-475-1846

General Factory Scheduled Maintenance for Cars and Trucks

Factory scheduled maintenance services for cars and trucks are an important part of vehicle care and preservation. It is crucial to regularly care for your car or truck to promote longevity, sustainability, and performance. There are several routine maintenance cars and trucks require; some blatantly obvious, while others not as much.

Continue reading to learn about some different types of factory scheduled maintenance services recommended for cars and trucks.

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Oil Changes

Having the oil changed in a car or truck is mandatory in order to achieve safe and proper vehicle performance and functionality. Oil changes should happen once a year or every 7000 miles; depending on the make and model vehicle. In larger vehicles, such as semi-trucks and diesel powered engines, an oil change should be made every 3,000 miles or twice a year.

Additional Fluid Changes

Oil is not the only fluid that requires changing in a car or truck. Brake fluid, windshield wiper fluid, transmission fluid, coolants, power steering fluids, battery fluid, and more are all examples of liquids that require changing in vehicles.

Tire Rotations

Tire and wheels need to be rotated and balanced on a professional balancing machine every five thousand miles. This process ensures even tire wear and tear. The weight on the front and rear axles of a car or truck differ, which means the wear and tear will be uneven. Switching places and balancing the wheels promotes better drivability and avoids running a flat.

Battery Replacements

When a vehicle begins requiring jump starts, or has dimmer headlights than usual, it may be time to change the car battery. Most people can accomplish this at home, themselves because it is a relatively easy project. A car or truck battery basically just snaps and plugs right in place, making it an easy DIY job for anyone. Typically, car and truck batteries need changed every 3 to 5 years, give or take. It also just depends on the vehicle make, model, and condition.

Filter Replacements

Along with fluids and batteries, filters in a car or truck need replaced after some time. Air filters, fuel filters, cabin filters, and more all require replacement after a few thousand miles.

Coolant Flushes

Coolant fluid is a viscous liquid that supports the temperature levels in a car or truck engine. Flushing the coolant, also called antifreeze, promotes maximum performance in vehicle’s heating and cooling systems. A vehicle’s manual will retain information about when to change out the anti-freeze and how often to flush the coolant.

Bulbs, Hoses, and Belts

Headlights, tail lights, indoor lights, rear lights, check engine lights, and more all need bulb changes every so often. On top of bulb replacements, hoses and belts require a small degree of regular maintenance as well. For example, belts can become squeaky overtime, and hoses can start to leak. These areas and more require minimal routine maintenance for optimal performance and sustainability.

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Is It Safe to Drive My Car?

When you are aware that there are mechanical issues with your vehicle, you may worry if it’s safe to drive. Many people cannot get to a mechanic right away due to pre-scheduled priorities, like work, school, and daycare. So this question is a common one among today’s drivers with a busy schedule. Although some automotive problems can be put to the side for a few days, like oil changes and windshield wiper fluid refills, there are others that can’t be ignored for even a minute; that is, if you still want to drive.

Automotive Repair

Every component on a vehicle serves a purpose, whether aesthetically or functionally. Internally, the components in your car or truck play a vital role in the “safeness” and reliability of its operation. For this reason, most mechanical issues should be dealt with immediately, either on the spot or the morning after.

With that being said, there are certain mechanical issues that should allow you to transport your vehicle to a local automotive repair shop, safely. But there are others that will require a tow truck service to avoid putting yourself and others in harm’s way. For instance, if your vehicle requires tire rotation and balancing service or windshield wiper replacement, you are safe to drive to the mechanic for professional assistance. However, if you have an overheating car engine, or damaged exhaust, a call to the towing company is necessary.

Here are some more examples of when it is safe to drive to the mechanic, and when it is not:

Safe to Drive…

• Oil Changes
• Tire Rotation and Balancing
• Air Conditioning Repair
• Automatic Window Repair
• Door Lock Repair
• Alarms
• Cruise Control
• Lights
• Strange Sounds
• Alignment Work
• And More

Not Safe to Drive…

• Brake Repair
• Major Engine Work
• Radiator Repair
• Exhaust/Muffler Repairs
• Transmission Repair
• Fuel Injector Repair
• Fuel System Repairs
• Fuel Tank Repairs
• Blown Tires
• And More

Always Consult Your Mechanic

The extent of your vehicle’s mechanical problems can range in severity, so there may be special circumstances that will allow you to safely drive to your mechanic even if your problem is listed under “not safe” above. Ultimately, in order to know if your vehicle is safe to drive, contact your local automotive repair shop and speak with an ASE licensed mechanic that can assess your vehicle’s potential damage and offer professional advice on whether or not you can drive it to them.

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Northeast Auto Service

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Call Northeast Auto Service at 317-475-1846 for answers to your car repair questions. We are ASE licensed and experienced car mechanics that offer a wide range of repair and maintenance for all make and model vehicles in Indianapolis, IN. If you are unsure if your car is safe to drive, just give us a call and we’ll give you a professional opinion you can trust! Our rates are the most competitive in town, but we also offer auto repair coupons for additional savings! Call 317-475-1846 for auto repair
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What Does Transmission Fluid Do?

All vehicles require certain lubricants and fluids in order for them to operate safely and smoothly. Fluids like motor oil, coolant, brake fluid, power steering fluid, battery fluid, transmission fluid, and even windshield wiper fluid are vital for the safe operation of a vehicle. Motor oil is important for the lubrication of all the moving parts within an engine’s crankcase, coolant is heat transfer liquid that keeps the engine cool, power steering fluid promotes smooth and easy steering, battery fluid powers the battery that provides ignition and lights, windshield wiper fluid provides visibility, and then there’s transmission fluid. What does transmission fluid do, you ask? Continue reading to learn more about this commonly overlooked, but important, automotive fluid.

The Purpose of Transmission Fluid

In order to understand what transmission fluid is used for, it is helpful to have basic knowledge of what a vehicle transmission does and how it works. Transmissions come in either automatic or manual. Cars with manual transmissions are also referred to as clutches or stick-shift vehicles. Automatic transmissions are the most common, and probably the type you drive. In basic terms, a transmission’s purpose is to convert speeds and torques along a vehicle’s drive train. This means it automatically changes a vehicle’s gear ratios, allowing it to drive within its narrow range of speeds, but still also providing a wide range of torque and output speeds.

Transmission fluid is intended to lubricate all these inner working parts, while also controlling and reducing heat produced from friction. It cools and lubricates so that everything stays in sync and in optimal working condition. It is an oil-based liquid with a red-like color, and can be purchased at any auto parts store or automotive store. As a car owner, you do not need to check your transmission fluid levels. Instead, have your car or truck serviced regularly, every 6 months or 5,000 miles, by a licensed mechanic. Factory scheduled maintenance includes oil changes, filter changes, tire rotation, and all other fluid changes and flushes, including transmission fluid.

Transmission fluid can last a lot longer than the other fluids in your vehicle, so it will only need replaced every 30,000 or 40,000 miles. A licensed mechanic will be able to assess your fluid levels and inform you of the ones that need refilled or replaced. Operating a vehicle with low or no transmission fluid will result in severe damages and deterioration of the vehicle’s transmission.

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4 Ways to Increase Vehicle Performance

If your vehicle is reaching its “senior” years or just seems to need a pick-me-up, there are some simple tricks to instantly increase the performance of your ride. All cars and trucks need regular factory scheduled maintenance, like oil changes and tire rotations, for optimal overall performance and longevity. If you have taken a backseat to these automotive necessities, it’s still not too late. You can bring your vehicle into an Indianapolis automotive repair shop for diagnostics and maintenance. From there, you can stay on track with routine vehicle care. In any case, increasing your car’s performance will cost you money, but it can also save you from costly repairs and breakdowns later on. If you want to instantly enhance your vehicle’s drive, try out these helpful tips for immediate performance gratification and upgrade!

Clean Out Your Car

Empty the trunk of your car. Clean out the back seats and remove all unnecessary items like clothing, books, DVDs, and trash. Remove any heavy items or equipment that might weigh down your vehicle. The more weight a car retains, the harder the engine has to work and the more fuel is consumed. By removing unneeded or unnecessary weight, you can increase the miles you get per gallon and reduce monthly fuel spending. The best part about this helpful tip is that it costs zero dollars, takes only a few minutes, and renders instant benefits!

Use Synthetic Oil

If you do not already use synthetic oil, it is suggested to make the switch if you want a better performing vehicle. Synthetic oil provides the most protection and lowest friction for diesel and gasoline engines. It is much cleaner than standard oil and provides for more efficient lubrication because it breaks down at a much slower rate. This type of oil only costs about one dollar more than alternative oils, and well-worth the upgrade in the long-run!


Purchase one of the several types of additives on the market and pour it in your car’s coolant reservoir. These additives work as a wetting agent and reduces the coolant temperatures as much as 30 degrees Fahrenheit. It also protects against corrosion and rust. When you add it to your vehicle’s antifreeze, it instantly improves heat transfer. AS for cost, one bottle will set you back only 8 or 9 dollars!

Spark Plugs

For instant performance upgrade, have your vehicle’s spark plug wires changed. This will improve engine performance. High-performance spark plug wires have extremely low resistance without electronic interference; and carry a much stronger signal to the spark plugs. This task only takes a licensed mechanic about an hour and costs under 50 dollars for a decent set of wires.

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What is a Tune-Up and Does My Car Need One?

Everyone has had their vehicle inspected at one point or another; but regular scheduled maintenance is just as important as gasoline for your car. One inspection is just not enough. Cars are valuable assets that need consistent care and attention. Oil changes, brake replacements, and fuel are just a few things that are mandatory in order to have a fully functioning vehicle. Along with all this regular maintenance, tune ups are a common service that is similar to getting an inspection. Continue reading to learn what a tune-up is and if your car needs one or not.

Auto Tune-Ups

A tune-up is like a makeover and grooming session for your car. The basic goal of a tune up is to inspect the inner parts of the car, diagnose any issues, and find and fix areas that need repair. There are many steps in the tuning process, and depending on what make or model, can differ slightly. In general, a tune up includes things like replacing spark plugs, adjusting the timing and idle settings, engine inspection, filter replacements, carbon deposit removal, fuel injector services, and more. Tune ups are very important and help increase the life of your vehicle.

When Does My Car Need a Tune Up?

Every vehicle is different when it comes to scheduled auto maintenance. Expert mechanics suggest having your vehicle tuned every 50k to 80k miles. If you are unsure on when to have your car serviced, refer to the owners’ manual. It will have instructions and charts on what services your car will need, and when.

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If you are interested in more information about auto tune ups and routine maintenance, call North East Auto in Indianapolis, IN today. We are licensed professionals with over 20 years of experience. Visit our website at, or call us at 317-475-1846 anytime.