The most annoying auto repair issues for a car owner are not the dents and part replacements that come with accidents and age, but the minor problems that turn into big repair bills when left unattended. There are basic maintenance measures that can be taken to help avoid major car issues. Below are five preventative maintenance tips that will help keep your car running at its personal best!

1. Changing Oil – Sometimes, it’s just that easy. Forgetting to change the oil regularly is a leading cause of engine breakdown, and the easiest aspect of engine maintenance to forget. Each engine has a different interval of how long it can go without an oil change, but generally between 3,000 and 5,000 (tops) miles is suggested. Taking a whiff of your current oil supply can be a more analog and definite way of gauging as well; the worse the odor, the more you need a change.

2. Tire Inflation – This seems like an aspect of auto inspection to balk at, but regularly filled tires are not only safe, they are cost effective. If a tire is full, the extra lift provided makes an easier time for the engine to move the car. This makes for a lower fuel bill as well as avoiding a dangerous and potentially lethal tire pop on a busy road.

3. Tire Wear – Monitoring the wear and tear of a tire’s treads is both useful and indicative. Strong tire treads are not only useful but necessary for driving in icier climates, where they aid in safety and mobility. Monitoring the treads and wear of your tires can also indicate larger car issues, like wheel alignment and balance. More worn in treads on one side of the car means the weight is unbalanced, which leads to higher repair bills and uneven auto maintenance. Catching an alignment issue earlier will insure a less costly visit to the car mechanic later on.

4. Air Filter – The air filter is kind of like your car’s wind pipe. Every auto inspection should include replacing the air filter, because if the air filter becomes clogged or too dirty it can decrease the air flow to the engine. This results in dirtier moving parts, as well as reducing an engine’s performance and fuel efficiency. Just like changing oil, there isn’t really an exact benchmark to change your air filter. An air filter’s life span usually revolves around the environment in which you drive the car. Industry suggestions, however, hover around every 15,000 miles for driving on relatively sediment free roads.

5. Emergency Kit – Having an emergency kit in your car is a necessity that cannot be understated. Keeping even the most basic kit of a cell phone, a spare tire, hazard signs, and road flares is essential, especially in driving long distances. You are at the mercy of every driver on the road when pulled over; this is doubly scary on thruway conditions. Certain emergency kit items, like hazard lights and road flares, will keep you safe while you wait for the tow to the car mechanic.

Little problems can grow into big problems at the drop of a hat. Do yourself a favor and keep regular maintenance on these simple auto repairs before peeves before your car becomes a money pit rather than an investment.