Driving a car that runs perfectly is a joy. Even if you’re not a keen driver, knowing you can rely on your vehicle to take you from point A to point B safe and sound is very important. But if you want your car to perform at its best all the time and enjoy safe and smooth drives for years to come, you’ve got to work for it.
To put things simply, a car doesn’t take care of itself. It’s your responsibility to do that. So if up till now your only interaction with your four-wheeled companion was to get behind the wheel and drive away, it’s time to rethink your habits. As a responsible car owner you’ve got to learn how to take care of your car and keep it in tip top condition. Good maintenance practices will ensure a long and healthy life for your vehicle and will give you peace of mind.
But when you’re new to car care, this might seem like a daunting task. If that’s the case, fear not. We’ve compiled a list with some simple but very useful tips that will help you grasp the basics of good vehicle maintenance so you can give your car the TLC it deserves.
Keep it clean and shiny
First thing first, you have to clean your car, and you have to do it often. Don’t wait for your beloved vehicle to turn into a pile of dust and debris to get it properly cleaned inside and outside. If you don’t turn cleaning into a regular habit, you’ll definitely regret it in time. You know those pesky bird droppings you sometimes find on your car? Well, apart from the aesthetic issue, bird droppings are also very acidic and can damage your car’s paint, and the last thing you want is to get a new paint job because of some annoying birds. So, regular washing and waxing is a must.
Focus on the interior
Speaking of cleaning, you should pay extra attention to your car’s interior. We know a lot of people neglect it and treat it like a storage space. Don’t be like them. Just like you keep your room clean and tidy, you should also clean the interior of your car thoroughly as often as possible. And if while cleaning, you come across cracks and holes on your car’s dashboard or on the inside of your doors a product like Sugru mouldable glue might come in handy and fix the problem quickly. One day you and your car might part ways and if you want to get a good price for it, a nice looking interior will increase its resale value.
Change the oil
It’s time to get a bit more technical, so let’s talk a bit about oil changing. Don’t worry, this is not rocket science, but you must know that changing your oil is absolutely essential for extending the life of your vehicle. Fresh oil prevents dirt build up and ensures your car’s engine works properly for longer. There are different oil brands you can use, so you might want to do some research on that, but the golden rule here is to change the oil every 5.000 to 7.000 miles or so.
Check your tires
There are so many things that can go wrong if you don’t take care of your tires. From problems when breaking to instability, difficulty performing precise maneuvers or the classic flat tire, you can do without these issues. And it won’t cost you much to avoid them either. Checking tire pressure once a month is all you have to do. If you can’t do it yourself, just take the car to your local auto shop and the mechanics will get the job done in no time.
Have the brakes checked
Since brakes are the most important safety feature in your car, we don’t have to stress how important it is to have them thoroughly inspected and serviced by a professional mechanic. The more often you do it, the safer you’ll be when you hit the road. If you have even the slightest suspicion that something might be wrong with your brake system, don’t wait for the issue to get worse and take your car to the auto shop ASAP. And even if your car seems perfectly fine, you still have to get your brakes checked regularly.
Examine your mirrors
It would be great to have an extra pair of eyes to watch the road while driving, but since that’s not possible, the best thing you could do is make sure your front and rear view mirrors are always clean and clear before you get behind the wheel. It takes only a minute to wipe your mirrors clean, so you’ve got no excuse not to do it. Apart from that, you should also learn how to adjust your car’s mirrors to eliminate blind spots and ensure maximum visibility.
Change the air filter
Next on the list is the air filter, or how we like to call it, your car’s lungs. A dirty air filter might not seem like such a big issue, but it’s something that can affect your car’s performance nonetheless. Lack of acceleration, poor engine performance, weird engine noises or black smoke coming from the exhaust pipe can all be signs of a dirty air filter. The solution is simple: check the air filter and replace it every 30.000 miles or once a year and you’re good to go.
Keep it safe
Your car needs good care even when you’re not using it. If you know you’re not going to use your car for a while, take some precautions so that when you’re reunited it will run just like before. Store your car in a safe place, keep it cleaned, keep your gas tank full and have someone start it every once in a while so you don’t have to deal with a dead battery and engine issues later.