The reason why most people barely get five years of service out of their cars is that they don’t look after them properly. So long as the check engine light is off then you’re good to go, right? Wrong! A lot more goes into the proper care of a car than that. Here is the complete lowdown that could save you tons of money, and possibly your life, in the long run.
1. Cleaning your car at least once every 30 days
The importance of cleaning a car, both the exterior and interior is often a simple but mostly overlooked practice. It could alleviate long-term mechanical problems. Because grim and dirt tend to build up in places where they ought not to be. For effective cleaning, you’ll need a topnotch vacuum cleaner for the inside and a quality car wash for the outside.
2. Change your oil regularly
There is generally a grey area about the standard requirement for oil (you can find out from your local mechanic what suits your car best). But what professionals do agree on is that you should change yours regularly. As a general rule of thumb, do so as soon as your distance gauge hits the 7,000-mile mark. Be sure to use a reputable name. Not changing your oil could eventually send your engine to the mechanic’s ICU and you could be staring at an eye watering bill upwards of a thousand dollars.
3. Keep tabs on tire pressure and practice frequent rotation
A new tire will set you back between $300 and $800 dollars so it’s important that you make the most of what you have. You can do so by rotating tires every 7,000 miles to facilitate even wear and by ensuring correct tire pressure which avoids problems such as a flat tire, reduced gas mileage, body imbalance, and ineffective braking.
4. Know how to deal with scratches
You’ll need a quality polish and wax for this purpose and it’s important that you steer clear of buffers- unless you’re looking at some very deep scratches- rather use your hand and a microfiber towel or a clean, cotton cloth for removing car scratches. For maximum effectiveness, apply the product to the cloth then use your finger to gently apply pressure on it and swipe along with the scratch back and forth for about half a minute. The scratch should be gone and you can clean up with the microfiber towel to better the polish. If it won’t budge though, you’ll need a more aggressive compound with heavier grit.
5. Replace your breaks periodically
It’s really a no-brainier why you need to get your brakes checked out by a professional every so often as aside from saving you hundreds of bucks in replacing failing brake rotors, it’ll also save you a trip to the ER. Preferably, have your brakes changed after every 25,000 miles.
6. Ensure your car is properly stored in case you’re not going to use it for some time
If you are not going to be around for a while, leave your car with a full tank and have someone start the engine every now and again to ensure the battery is in good shape. Alternatively, you could also get a battery tender that achieves the same purpose i.e. alleviating discharge.
A car is a long-term investment that should be treated as such. If you take good care of it then it will do the same for you.