Great Habits For Caring For Your Car

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Perhaps you’ve recently bought your first car, or you’re about to move out from home for the first time. Regardless of the reason, you’ve probably got a lot to learn about taking care of your car. So many people have access to a car when they’re young, and get used to their parents taking care of maintenance. When the car becomes their responsibility, it can quickly fall into disrepair! To make sure you don’t have to deal with this kind of upset, there are several things you need to pay attention to. Here’s some good habits for taking care of your car.

Every other time you fill up, be sure to clean your windshield. Every time you take your car out, the windshield is going to gather dirt, bugs and other bits of debris. If it gets particularly dirty, it can obscure your view of the road, and become a pretty serious safety hazard. To avoid this, you need to get into the habit of cleaning it regularly. Soak the whole windshield with cleaning fluid, and use a sponge to scrub away any of the accumulated dirt. Start in the center, and move outwards by scrubbing in larger and larger circles. Finish off any streaks with a few wide, vertical wipes. It’s especially important to remember this when you’ve finished a long highway drive. All that dirt can build up at incredible speed!

Another habit you should try to adopt is checking your tire pressure regularly. This will not only make sure you stay safe on the road, but can end up saving you quite a bit of money. When tires are over or under inflated you’ll find the car is much harder to handle and brake. When you keep your tires at the right pressure, you’ll also get more use out of them, and better fuel efficiency. You should understand how temperature and motion affect the pressure in your tires. When checking your pressure, make sure your tires are cold for an accurate reading. The best way of doing this is to buy a pressure gauge, and use it before setting off. Alternatively, you can drive slowly to the nearest possible gas station, after your tires have had at least four hours to cool down.

You’ll also need to check the oil in your car regularly. Motor oil is an absolute necessity for your car. It lubricates all the different moving parts in an engine, ensuring they don’t grind into each other too much and damage the core of the machine. Aside from that, it helps heat transfer away from the combustion cycle, and holds all the harmful by-products of combustion. If you run a car for long enough without enough oil, it may become unusable! Your owner’s manual may have recommended checking your oil every time you stop for gas. However, once every other time is generally more than sufficient. All you need for this job is a clean paper towel. Stop your car somewhere with level ground. After turning your engine off, give it five minutes for the oil to drain into the pan. Simply pull the dipstick out, wipe it off with a paper towel, put it in again, and pull it out, keeping it the right way up. If the oil mark is between those two little dots, you’re good to go.

We’d all save a lot of money if we could do all of our car maintenance ourselves. However, there are certain things you should really leave to professionals like the ones at Oil changes, replacing transmission fluid, tire rotations and so forth should be carried out every now and then. Don’t let dealerships or mechanics scare you into bringing the car in all the time. Often, these sources will try to get you coming in for maintenance you don’t need that much. A lot of dealerships will tell you to bring your car in once every 3,000 miles for an oil change. However, most modern engines will be able to go an extra 2,000 without needing one. If you want a reliable source, look in your owner’s manual. If your car is pre-owned, you should be able to find the manual fairly easily through Google. Keep to the ideal schedule, and you’ll steer clear of a lot of expensive work on your car. Certain jobs are universal in how often you should do them. Try to change the oil every 5,00 miles, and install a new air filter every 12,000 miles. Both of these jobs can be done yourself. It won’t save you a lot of time or money, but can be satisfying if you’re particularly into cars!

Finally, make sure you’re washing your car regularly enough. Grease, grime, smog, bugs, and so on are constantly battering your car. This can break down the paint, and then get to work damaging the metal itself! If you don’t wash your car regularly, it obviously won’t stop you driving around. However, long-term damage from neglecting to clean it can really hurt the vehicle’s resale value further down the line. So what’s the ideal frequency for cleaning your car? This depends largely on the climate you’re driving in. If you live on the coast or in a city, and there’s a lot of pollution and sea salt around, then you should be having it washed two to three times per month. If you live in a rural area, or somewhere far from the coast, then once a month will be perfectly fine. During the winter, you may need to up the frequency a little. During these months, huge amounts of mud, salt and dirt can quickly build up in the car’s undercarriage. Finally, don’t use your car as a bin! This is not only off-putting to your friends and family, but massive, bold stains can really bring the resale price down!

Keep these pointers with you at all times, and you’ll get a long, trouble-free life out of your car. It may be a hassle to stay meticulous about the state of your vehicle. However, it will save you all kinds of trouble in the long run.


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