Owning a vehicle is a massive and expensive responsibility.
In order for it to run properly — and to get the full value out of it — you have to take care of it. That doesn’t just mean filling it up with gas and changing the oil every now and then. There are other preemptive measures you can and should take to ensure that your car lasts as long as possible.
If you’re a new car owner, or someone who doesn’t put much effort into maintaining their car, consider these six ways to keep your vehicle in top shape.
- Choose a Reliable Car
The first way to get the most bang for your buck is to purchase wisely. Do your research to find out which car brands and models are the best based on industry standards and customer reviews. Ask your friends about their cars , too — what they like and what they don’t. Test drive a few vehicles and ask the dealer about safety standards, gas mileage and the general lifespan of that particular vehicle. You don’t want to purchase a car hastily. Buying a car based on looks and popularity versus quality will only disappoint you in the end.
- Schedule Regular Maintenance
You know the old saying — if it’s not broke don’t fix it. The complete opposite is true for cars. In order for your vehicle to stay in good shape, you have to take care of potential problems before they arise. Get the oil changed, tires rotated and brakes checked regularly and on time. Doing so will prevent costly repairs due to negligence. The mechanic will let you know when your next scheduled appointment will be, which is usually every 3,000 miles or every six months — whichever comes first.
- Pay Attention to Signs of Disrepair
If your car is showing signs of disrepair, remedy the situation as soon as possible. There’s nothing worse than having your car break down when you’re in the middle of driving because you weren’t proactive enough to take care of the issue right away. Even if you can’t afford the repairs, try to. It will be easier and cheaper to fix a problem when it first begins than when it has caused maximum damage.
- Keep It Clean — Inside and Out
A dirty car is the telltale sign of an unorganised person, so it’s a good habit to keep the car clean inside and out. Wash the car regularly — about once a month — and make sure the inside stays clean, too. Don’t throw food wrappers or cartons on the floor and don’t leave drinks in the cup holders. All of those things are unsightly, can damage the interior of the car, and are potentially hazardous to drivers if they get underneath their feet or pedals.
- Don’t Let Others Borrow It
Nobody’s going to take care of your car like you do, so don’t let anyone borrow it if it’s not an emergency; even then, offer to drive. So many things can happen to your car while it’s in the possession of someone else. They can hit any number of things while they’re driving — rocks, branches, curbs, trees — that will put you in a bind. Your insurance will be charged and you might even be stuck with paying for repairs to the car if your friend isn’t that great. If you keep the vehicle in your possession at all times, you will greatly reduce the potential for damage to occur.
- Drive Safely
Driving safely not only prevents accidents that will damage your car, but it puts less strain on the car’s parts so they’re less likely to wear out as fast. There’s no need to race down the highway at an incredible speed. You put yourself and others in danger while causing your car to work harder than it should be working. By pushing your car’s limits, it will need maintenance and repairs more often — which is expensive — but even with maintenance your car will eventually succumb to the stress you’ve put on it, ultimately shortening its lifespan.
Have even more tips on how to keep cars up and running and in good shape longer? Let me know in the comments below.