How to Keep Your Car in Good Shape for the Long Term

When you decide to invest in a new car or truck, it’s important to make sure that you protect your investment by taking excellent care of your new vehicle. You bought a new car for specific reasons. Often those include wanting a stable, working vehicle, upgrading for better features and driving, and sometimes outgrowing a smaller vehicle. When that’s the case, you need to be able to take care of it so that it can serve those goals for a long time to come. How can you keep your car looking great and in fine working order for the long run?

Watch How You Drive

If you’ve had your license for a while, it can be easy to get casual about the way you drive, and this leads to accidents! Give yourself sufficient time to get to where you’re going, so that you don’t need to drive erratically. It might feel more powerful to zoom around in traffic, only saving you two minutes is not worth putting your life and your car in danger, not to mention those around you. Watch out for those curb checks and take the extra seconds to check all your mirrors when changing lanes. If you have a blind spot, add a blind-spot mirror to eliminate it. Consider adding a “deer whistle” to prevent early morning accidents.

Change the Oil

Your car is a machine, and machines need lubrication in order to continue to work properly. If you want your car to keep working well, it’s not optional to change your oil on schedule! There should be a sticker in the upper left corner of your windshield that states when your last change was, and when the next is due. If you have trouble finding time to get your oil changed, as many do, or have small children where it’s complicated to get out of the car, find a fifteen-minute service option where they check your car and change the oil with you still in it! The cost of a large company doing a simple change is often comparable to doing it yourself.

Take it to Professionals

It can be tempting to want to do all of your maintenance yourself, especially when money is tight. This isn’t always a bad instinct, if you have a lot of time and a little talent. However, if you are a busy professional or cars aren’t your specialty, getting your car diagnosed and cared for by a mechanic is the best idea. When you get your oil changed, often you can get a report that says what things might need maintenance in the future in your car. You can take this info and budget over time to get things done in the order of necessity. Word of mouth can help you by recommending trustworthy mechanics before you have an issue.  

Apply Paint Protection

If you’ve shopped for used cars before, you know what happens to resale value when the paint begins to peel. Often it starts on the roof and hood, where the most sun damage occurs, and it can look like dandruff or sunburn in car form. You can better maintain the resale value of your car by applying paint protection. A car without dandruff looks more professional and has better resale options in the long run.

Care for the Interior

The interior of your car needs frequent care as well, not just right before resale! Car interiors need sun protection if they are leather or vinyl, and carpets need vacuuming to help them to be both useful and looking fresh. Detailing can be inexpensive, and there are usually services nearby, though having time to detail yourself is helpful. If you are an extra busy person, there are detailers who will come to your home to clean your car and keep it in good condition.

Keep Comprehensive Insurance

If you, like many Americans, are being extra careful on your budgeting, it might be a temptation to keep only the minimal amount of insurance on your car. However, if you’ve spent a significant amount on a new vehicle, getting comprehensive insurance is critical. No, it can’t technically keep your car looking good. It can, however, protect both you and your vehicle in an emergency, and restore both to good working condition! For example, often the cost of roadside assistance from an outside company is similar to that of getting entirely comprehensive care including roadside from your insurer. Check around and make sure you’re getting the best option for your family.

Check Your Fluids

It can be easy to be driving along and not pay much attention to anything going on under the hood! But when your oil is checked, the mechanic should also be checking your fluids. If anything is lacking or has a leak, it’s important to know and be able to get fixed. Just like a human body can’t function if it gets dehydrated and overheats, a machine is the same, so look under your vehicle regularly for leaks. Especially in extreme weather, such as freezing cold or boiling temperatures, this step in caring for your car is crucial.

Pay Attention to Lights

Pay attention to stoplights, of course, but also those lights on your dash, which are there for a reason! Learn what the lights individually mean—there should be a note in your car manual in the glovebox. Knowing what the lights mean can keep you from feeling anxious about caring for your car. If you get a light and don’t know what it means, you can go to your mechanic’s, or to an auto parts store, where often they have machinery to tell you what is wrong.

Your car is a lifeline to so many things, and keeps you functioning in society. You need it to get to food, work, and back to shelter, to take people to and from activities, and to get to your hobbies. In many ways, it’s an extension of yourself. Taking better care of it will help you keep doing all the things you love!

Read this next: How to Improve Chances of Winning in a Case Against an Insurance Company

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