Many people learn the hard way that cars need regular maintenance. You don’t want to wait until something goes wrong before getting it checked out. If you want your car to continue running as well as it looks, you have to be willing to set aside a little money every so often to get things tuned up, updated, and checked out. While there are so many things that you could keep your car in good condition, here are the top nine ways to help your car go the distance.
- Wash Your Car
Believe or not, washing your car is not just about how it looks. Sure, you want your car to be clean and look good, but regular washes and waxes can help preserve the paint and avoid rust from building up on your vehicle. Vacuuming and cleaning the interior will help the carpets and upholstery last longer, also. Some auto dealerships will offer interior and exterior detailing every so often when you buy a car with them. Take advantage of that.
- Go With the Flow of Weather
If you live in an extreme weather area where it can get very hot or extremely cold, you’ll want to make sure that your car is prepared for the elements. This could mean snow tires or chains, better coolant and other things. The extreme changes of temperature can be harsh on a car, so make sure your vehicle is ready for it.
- Pay Attention to Recalls
If the dealership that your vehicle came from recalls your car for some reason, don’t ignore it. Generally, it will be a situation that can be fixed, and the dealership will take responsible and you won’t have to pay for it. Just get it done, even if it’s a hassle. Stay updated on recalls by searching the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website to make sure you haven’t missed anything.
- Check the Check Engine Light
If your check engine light comes on, there are many places, including your dealership, that can figure out what’s wrong. They can then look up the car’s error code, and find out exactly what you need to do. It could be something like the catalytic converter or it could simply be a loose gas cap. You won’t know until you get it looked at.
- Pay Attention to Your RPMs
RPMs = Revs Per Minute. It’s the dial on your dash board that counts one, two, three, four, etc., when you press the gas pedal. Be balanced. Redlining it is never a good idea, but idling too often can be damaging also.
- Follow the Manual
Your owner’s manual can tell you how to maintain your specific engine and transmission. Follow its advice, and you will extend your car’s lifetime, saving a lot of money when you do.
- Keep Tabs on the Little Things
Fluid levels, tire pressure, tire tread, headlights, signals, break lights, license plate lights: all easy things to check that you don’t require a trip to the body shop. Plus, if you don’t check for some of these, the police will let you know, with a ticket when they do go out. Tire rotations should be done every 7,500 miles, and alignment should be checked every 6,000 miles or so.
- Get Oil Changes
It’s not a scam. True, it has been proven that getting it done every 3,000 miles is excessive, but it does need to be done regularly. Dirty oil — or worse, no oil — can severely damage your engine. Would you rather spend thousands on a new engine or new car when you destroy your engine or $20 on an oil change every few months?
- Get a Check Up When Needed
Even if nothing appears to be the problem, if your car starts acting weird, have your mechanic take a look at it just to be sure. Early detection is always best.
This tips can save you a lot of heartache and money, if you will follow them.