Getting things done in life is all about the small things; and nowhere is this truer than with car maintenance. The Department of Transportation reckons that on average, the cars that run on American roads are about ten years old. On average, a car is not scrapped before it turns 13. This isn’t as pathetic as it seems to sound. Cars these days are built to last; you usually wouldn’t have to scrap a car before it hits 250,000 miles. And even then, it’s usually scrapped only because the cars’ incidental components, door handles, the seats, and such, begin to fail – not the car itself. We believe that if you could practice all the car care tips you ever read and keep it healthy and running for as long as all this, you could actually save a quarter of a million over your lifetime. You won’t have to deal with car payments as much or high insurance costs either. And if you start saving for a new car early on, you could even have enough cash to buy a new car outright when the day comes around.
If you want to see if your car will last as long as all that, here are car care tips to start you on your way:
The first one, the granddaddy of all car care tips, would be to read the manual thoroughly and then stay in compliance with the maintenance schedule. Now this would seem pretty obvious, and barely worth mentioning; but people just can’t seem to believe that what they can’t see under the hood could actually matter at all. To begin with, not following the maintenance schedule can void the warranty on your car when it’s new. If you need a little help with your maintenance schedule, try the maintenance feature that will map out all the maintenance milestones for your model of car, and tell you what it should cost. Remember, if you happen to like to use your car for towing purposes, for driving through dusty off-road routes, or for driving in really cold climate, you need to follow the severe use maintenance schedule they publish, which typically requires that you bring it in once every 3000 miles. It would help if you set aside $1000 each year for this.
A part of a responsible maintenance schedule would be to never let a chance go by for a free problem rectification – via a free recall. Most car care tips try to not overextend, and limit themselves to giving you tips on oil change and routine maintenance. But there is more to it than that. The way you use your car has a lot to do with what you need to get done, come maintenance time. Consider the kind of stress you place on the engine. When you first own a new car, the way you drive over first thousand miles or so is critical. That’s the break-in or run-in period, and it’s the time when all the brand-new parts of your engine really settle into one another groove. You need to make sure that you drive below 55 miles an hour, that you don’t pull any sudden acceleration moves, and that you expose the engine to a variety of driving speeds. If your car has a tow package, make sure you don’t use it any more than you absolutely have to – to avoid the stress on your car.
You need to make sure you follow the maintenance schedule for oil changes; the usual is once every 3000 miles. If you don’t drive all that much, you could probably get by on no more than one oil change a year; just make sure you use synthetic oil, and all should be well. Each time you drive your car in for an oil change, consider it your excuse to tighten the hoses, belts, fans and to take a look at all the fluids. The mechanic will probably go through all the basic points for an extra $10.
With enough car care tips, you could become a pretty fair mechanic yourself. And that is about the best way to care for your car. Have a routine: make sure your battery is clean and free of bulges or corrosion; check your tire pressure (you get a gauge for about $25), and learn how to hit all the points that need tightening. Learn your car’s manner; walk around your car at least once a week to check for strange smells, and strange noises.
It may be hard to believe, but keeping a car clean can actually extend the life of the car. A clean car not only looks better, but it is also more valuable. Many people lead busy lives and washing the car is the last thing on their mind. It really takes only a few minutes, once a week, to keep a car clean and protected. It is important to consider that keeping a car clean should include both the interior and the exterior. This will ensure the appearance of the car is in the best condition possible.
There are many reasons that cleaning the exterior of a car can extend its life. The number one reason is that washing a car prevents rust. Rust can cause serious damage to vehicles. It can cause parts of the vehicle to fall off completely. It is very unsightly to see a car that has rust damage. The damage obviously causes the value of the car to greatly decline. Dirt and dust that builds up on a car can scratch the paint. Regularly washing the car will keep this from happening. Even small scratches can cause a decrease in the value of a car.
During the wintertime, people often go for months without washing their car. After all, the temperature is freezing, and the snow continues to come down. This is a big mistake. During the winter, cars need to be washed at least once a week. The salt that is on the roads to melt the snow and ice can attack the sheet metal and undercarriage of the car. It can eat away at the area and cause substantial damage. Car wash bays are available even in cold temperatures that are equipped with drying mechanisms to help reduce the chances of doors and windows freezing due to the cold weather.
Keeping the interior of the car clean is also important. Regular vacuuming will help keep the carpets from looking old and dingy. Rubber floor mats are also a good way to protect carpeting and the mats can be taken out and washed. Placing towels or plastic lining under child seats helps protect the seats and avoids stains. Leather cleaning pads are available to clean leather seats. This helps keep leather looking new. Covering windshields on sunny days protects the dashboard from cracking. These easy cleaning tips keep a car in excellent condition, extending the life of the car and keeping the resale value high.
Not to leave out the exterior, make sure you wash off the road salt around the tires, and that you wax it up nice and good. It should protect your resale value for the day you need it.