How to Properly Maintain Your SUV

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How to Properly Maintain Your SUV

While the term sport utility vehicle (SUV) did not see popular usage until the late 1980s, these vehicle types first entered the automotive scene in 1935. From the 1930s through the mid-1950s, the SUV resembled a wagon-type vehicle with a long wheelbase, such as the Chevrolet Carryall Suburban, Pobeda M-72, GAZ-61, and Willys Jeep Wagon. SUVs continued to evolve through the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s with models like the Land Rover, Jeep Wagoneer, Ford Bronco, Land Cruiser, and Range Rover. Today, top automakers like GMC, Ford, Volvo, and Honda manufacture SUVs ranging from crossover to mid-size and large-size models. Many vehicle owners see SUVs as status symbols, while others love them for their versatility and off-road capabilities. Some SUV models feature the latest state-of-the-art gadgets and leather seating, while other models offer more powerful engines.

No matter which SUV models shoppers select, they have to care for their vehicles to extend their life cycles. Not only does good preventative maintenance keep vehicles looking their best, but it also keeps them in good shape for years to come. When caring for vehicles, owners have to maintain both the interiors and exteriors, the various engine components, and the suspension systems and tyres. When buying SUVs, shoppers can find a wide variety of SUV types at local dealerships, online on various auto seller sites, and on eBay.

Types of SUVs

When maintaining an SUV, the size of the vehicle plays a large part in the amount of fluids needed for various mechanical systems. When changing fluids, owners should consult the owners' manuals for their vehicles. The following table describes the different types of SUVs that are available.

SUV Type

Description

Crossover SUV

Built on a car frame

Features all-wheel drive and an independent suspension

Gets better fuel mileage than larger SUVs

Mid-Size SUV

Truck-based SUV with four-wheel drive

Excellent off-road capabilities

Most do not have independent rear suspension

Large SUV

Worst fuel mileage of the three SUV types

Typically comes with a six-cylinder or eight-cylinder engine

Offers more storage space in the back and a third row for seating

Typically, large SUVs have a higher centre of gravity, which can lead to vehicles rolling over during sharp turns or while swerving during emergency manoeuvres. This is important to keep in mind when choosing an SUV.

SUV Areas of Maintenance

While they are fun to drive and are somewhat safer than smaller vehicles, SUVs do require maintenance on a regular schedule. This can help extend the lives of the vehicles and give owners many years of reliable and safe service. It is important to maintain the various systems on an SUV, including the body, engine, transmission, and other components.

Body

SUV owners need to take special care of the bodies of their vehicles. This includes washing and waxing the body to help protect it from the sun, rain, and other damaging elements. This in turn keeps the paint on the exterior from becoming damaged or rusting. An SUV owner can use a variety of products to place a protective wax coating on the SUV body. He or she should also use a vehicle cover to help protect the SUV if it must sit outside instead of in a garage for any length of time between uses.

Engine

By caring for an SUV's engine, an owner can ensure that it has a long life and does not suffer from any unnecessary wear and tear. This includes checking the fluids on a regular basis and changing any filters and fluids on a regular schedule or when notified by warning lights inside the vehicle. This includes changing the engine oil and oil filter. Oil helps keep an engine and its various internal components cool and free of dirt. The oil filter aids in this process by removing particles and debris from the oil as it passes through the filter. SUV owners should check their oil on a regular basis to see if it needs changing. If the oil looks dark or dirty, it needs to be changed. Vehicle owners should likewise switch the oil filters out when changing the oil.

Transmission

The transmission controls the gearing in relation to changing gears. Manual and automatic transmissions are the two types in use within SUVs. Transmission fluid provides the hydraulic power for an automatic transmission to change gears, engage and disengage, and downshift. Manual transmissions, on the other hand, use the clutch, gear shift, and linkage to operate. Ensuring that the transmission works properly and has plenty of fluid goes a long way towards keeping it in optimal working order.

Suspension

An SUV's suspension includes all of the shock absorbers and linkage underneath the vehicle. This undercarriage system plays a large part in the off-road capabilities of an SUV and should provide plenty of ground clearance when driving the SUV around and over obstacles. One way to ensure suspension durability includes lubricating the chassis at key points on the undercarriage, especially around the joints where the tyres tie into the steering system. Using a grease gun, vehicle owners or automotive technicians can apply the lubricant at these key points. This reduces the noise a vehicle makes, makes the chassis flex better, and lubricates key areas where metal meets metal, thus ensuring the durability of the joints.

Tyres

When it comes to keeping an SUV on the road, tyres play an important part. SUV tyres with plenty of grip have proven to be useful both on and off the road, and owners should check them occasionally. This includes checking the tyre treads and sidewalls for signs of wear or damage. Owners should check tyre air pressure on a regular basis, as well. This ensures that tyres do not become too hot from having low pressure, which can cause excessive tyre wear. Tyres inflated too much can also suffer damage and require replacement.

Lights and Signals

Another important area that needs occasional maintenance is the SUV's lights and signals. These include the headlights, brake lights, turn signals, and hazard lights. Interior lights also play an important part in overall vehicle safety, especially at night in dark locations. Occasionally cleaning lights keeps them bright and clear. Usually this includes using some kind of cleaner or even toothpaste.

SUV Interior

The SUV's interior also needs special care on a regular basis. Vehicle owners should clean seats and other surfaces, especially those made of leather, with cleaners especially made for these purposes. This keeps the materials free of dirt, and, in the case of leather, it keeps it soft and supple. The dash, console, and door panels need a good cleaning to remove any dust, dirt, or stains. This in turn ensures that the upholstery and other materials in the interior of the SUV lasts for years to come.

Other SUV Maintenance Tips

While maintaining the fluids and keeping an SUV clean inside and out goes a long way towards maintaining a vehicle for years, a few tips exist outside of regular maintenance that can also keep a vehicle in top shape and help maintain its value.

Tip 1

Keep the vehicle out of direct sunlight. This protects surfaces from fading or other sun damage.

Tip 2

Keep at least a half tank of gas in the vehicle. This maintains good fuel mileage and keeps the fuel pump from working too hard.

Tip 3

Rotate the tyres every 10,000 to 16,000 kilometres. This lengthens tyre life and decreases overall wear across the tyres.

Tip 4

Follow the regular maintenance schedule provided in the owner's manual. This helps ensure maintenance is performed on a timely schedule.

Tip 5

Keep a receipt for any maintenance or repair work done on a vehicle. That way, when owners go to sell their vehicles, they can show potential buyers proof of repairs and maintenance that they performed on the SUVs.

Finding SUV Maintenance Supplies on eBay

When searching for vehicles or vehicle maintenance supplies on eBay, go to any eBay page and click in the search box. Then enter specific keywords that describe the products you want. This could be terms like 'Armor All cleaner' or 'motor oil', for example. Then narrow down the results list if necessary by clicking on the filter options. Doing this will display only the listings that closely match what you need. Other helpful resources on eBay include the Search Tips page and eBay Shops.

Shopping on eBay allows shoppers to find high-quality products for reasonable prices in a safe and secure environment. When a product interests you, read through the product listings for the cost and any other product details and terms of sale. Ask the seller any other questions that the listing does not answer by clicking the Ask a Question link on the listing page. Finally, check out the seller’s feedback rating before making a purchase. These ratings shows what other shoppers thought of a specific seller.

Conclusion

Most vehicle owners find that performing regular maintenance on their vehicles significantly extends the life cycles of the vehicles and helps maintain resale values over the years. SUV owners can perform maintenance tasks themselves or have automotive shops perform the tasks for them. If they decide to perform the work themselves, they should make sure they have the tools and space to do the maintenance tasks. They should also have ways to safely dispose of any fluids or chemicals used or replaced during maintenance.

Before beginning work, vehicle owners need to ensure that they have the correct supplies and fluids on hand, including motor oil. They also need any appropriate filters and other engine component replacements. If unsure about what types of fluids or equipment to use, owners should consult an automotive technician for more information. When looking for automotive supplies, shoppers can find them in local automotive shops and online at sites like eBay.

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