Congratulations on your new car! We’re sure buying it was no walk in the park, but sorry to say, the work doesn’t end here. Maintenance is an essential part of having a car, but while most people own a vehicle at some point in their lives, not everyone learns how to take care of them. For first-time owners, car maintenance can be daunting, so we’ve gathered a few basic tips to help you keep your hot rod from turning into a junker.
Smeared bugs and dirt in the warmer months, ice and snow in the colder ones—all that debris on your windshield makes it hard to see. Driving with decreased visibility is dangerous, both for you and others on the road, so keep your windshield clean and top off your wiper fluid.
Additionally, don’t ignore cracks in your windshield, no matter how small. Your windshield supports the structural integrity of your vehicle’s roof, so getting into a car crash with a cracked one means damage to your car—and you—could be more severe.
Your tire pressure should be checked once a month and before long car trips. If not properly inflated, your tires will wear down faster, and your fuel economy will decrease. Your tread depth should also be checked once a month to tell when your tires need to be replaced. It’s easy to monitor—just use a quarter.
Your engine needs oil to keep it clean and properly lubricated. In older cars, it should be changed every 3,000 miles; in newer ones, it should be changed after 5,000 to 7,000—check your vehicle’s owner’s manual for the specifics. Either way, your filter should be changed along with the oil. It’s useful to learn how to check your own oil in case you’re unsure how long it’s been since your last oil change.
Use Your Common Sense
Yes, really. If you feel like something is wrong with your car, get it checked out. Those weird smells, sounds, or lights most likely aren’t normal, and they probably won’t go away on their own. While it might be an easy fix now, ignoring it could worsen the problem, leading to expensive repairs or making it dangerous to continue driving. Pay careful attention to your brakes, and never ignore your check engine light.
Keep a Car Care Budget
Cars are, unfortunately, an expensive investment, and the charges don’t stop after the initial purchase. Gas and regular maintenance can be planned for and budgeted, but an unexpected breakdown or accident can saddle you with sudden repairs. It’s a good idea to set aside a car care fund in case of an emergency—it can even be used to pay off a parking ticket or car loan in a pinch.
Find an Honest Mechanic
If you don’t know much about cars, it’s easy to take what the experts say at face value. Unfortunately, there are sleazy mechanics out there who will take advantage of customers with a lack of knowledge. Do as much research as you can before getting car maintenance done, and check out our previous post on identifying dishonest mechanics.
At Advanced Repair, we pride ourselves on affordable and fair car care. Stop in or make an appointment online!