When you take your driving lessons, you learn the rules of the road. You pick up what different road signs and warnings mean, and you learn how to navigate the roads legally in a vehicle while keeping yourself, your passengers and other road users safe. But surprisingly it’s not part of the protocol to learn how to look after your vehicle properly. It’s important that you pick up this information of your own accord. After all, what use is being able to drive if you can’t maintain the mode of transport that is going to get you from A to B? So, to help you on your journey to responsible car ownership, here are a few areas you should keep an eye on. From bumper to boot, here’s how to look after your precious vehicle!
Making the Most of Your Warranty
Most brand new vehicles will come with a warranty. This covers you for a certain distance or period of time following your purchase. If anything goes wrong with your car during your warranty period that isn’t your fault, the manufacturer will usually repair or replace the car without charging you. Alternatively, you can take up an independent warranty, such as a Powertrain Warranty. But what does a powertrain warranty cover? Well, it includes your engine, transmission, and the vehicle’s drivetrain.
Changing Your Oil
We are all well aware that we need to change our oil, but our knowledge is often limited to being able to recite that we need to change it “regularly”. So what does this mean? Well, you should ideally change the oil in your vehicle every 5000 to 7500 miles. The oil helps to lubricate the engine and stops parts rubbing against one another. This, in turn, prevents damage which will result in the need for expensive repairs and replacements. You don’t want dirt to build up in your engine either, so keeping the oil clean is an essential part of maintenance. So, keep on top of it. There are plenty of cheap, unnamed brands out there that will try to tempt you with low prices, but when possible opt for a reliable and well-known brand. If you don’t know what you’re doing, check in with a professional who will be able to do the oil change on your behalf.
Checking Your Tyre Pressure
You should check your tyre pressure before any long distance journey. But if you don’t carry out long journeys very often, you should aim to check your pressure around every 7500 miles. This is for your safety as well as the wellbeing of your vehicle, as driving with tyres that have the incorrect pressure for your car’s model can result in poor braking and vehicle handling. It can also result in damage to the tyres which will require replacements which can cost a fair amount of cash. Refer to the manual to find out what pressure your tyres should be and use a reliable gauge to measure their levels.
Change the Brake Pads
Functioning brake pads are perhaps one of the most important features of any car that takes to the roads. You need to be able to break quickly should the need for an emergency stop arise. The better your brake pads are, the faster you will be able to come to a halt. Have them replaced every 25,000 miles. If you feel that they are wearing prematurely, check in with a professional to check them and decide whether you need new ones early. Signs of wear include a high pitched or screeching sound when braking, a reduced responsiveness, or your vehicle pulling to one side (this last identifier is caused by one pad being more worn than the other).
Cleaning Your Car’s Exterior Regularly
Most people think that going to a car wash or cleaning your vehicle down yourself serves a merely aesthetic purpose. Of course, we all want our vehicle shining and glistening. But you should bear in mind that certain marks on your car can actually prove detrimental to the value and permanent appearance of the motor. Bird droppings, for example, are extremely acidic and can permanently work away at your paint if you leave them for extended periods of time. You don’t want to have to get a completely new paint job unless it’s absolutely necessary years down the line. Don’t let it be for the sake of some ignored bird droppings or something along similar lines. If you’re going to carry this step out yourself, make sure to use products that are specially designed for vehicles. General household cleaners could be problematic, as they may contain chemicals that will damage your exterior. If you are ever unsure, treat your car to a professional clean. This will prevent accidents and will leave your vehicle shining.
Cleaning Your Interiors Too
Keeping on top of your car’s interiors can maintain its value for a longer time. Believe it or not, the interiors of your car are really what can make or break a deal when it comes to reselling later down the line. However, this isn’t the only reason to upkeep the interiors. You want your vehicle to be nice and clean for your own purposes too! Create a fresh atmosphere. Polish the dash, vacuum the floors and floor mats and incorporate an air freshener specially designed for in-car use. Like the previous step, ensure that you use specialist cleaning products that are designed for use in your vehicle in mind. Again, if you are unsure, take your vehicle in for a professional clean too.
Keeping your vehicle at its peak will ensure that it’s always in great working condition and can be sold on for the most money possible if and when you do decide to sell. So, it’s worth investing both your time and cash into maintaining it. These are just a few tips. There are, of course, other areas you can focus on. However, sticking with these basics is a good starting point. So, start making checks and changes today!