Taking Care of Your First Car
Wasn’t it great when your parents were the ones in charge of all the more complicated chores around the car, but you were the one taking it out on a regular basis, only filling up the tank when needed? Well, the time has finally come to learn how to care for your sweet ride from oil changing to regular car washing and insurance.
Even before the excitement of getting your first car has faded, you need to learn as much about it as possible, as every car is different from various points of view. However, basic maintenance and care include several key steps that all cars have in common, so you can start with these essentials and move on to the more complex stuff with the help of your mechanic of choice.
Keep those tires in check
First and foremost, it’s not merely a matter of aesthetics or even law to keep your tires in a pristine condition, but it’s also a matter of safety, much like with your brakes, for example. Make sure that the tire pressure is right, so that they are not deflated or even over-inflated – both situations may lead to a mishap such as a blown tire, or higher fuel usage because your tires are not as efficient as they could or should be.
In addition to pressure, you should rotate your tires every 5,000 miles or more, depending on what your owner’s manual suggests. Some cars can even go double that mileage before you need to go through the process, but it’s wise to keep track of the next “pit-stop” for your tires.
Change the oil regularly
Do you live in a house with a driveway or your own yard? In that case, this can be yet another DIY project for you. On the other hand, if you live in a building, it’s best to let the professionals take care of this particular chore. Maybe this will coincide with the moment to rotate your tires, but all of that depends on the type of your car and how much you drive.
If you’re still uncertain as to the type of oil to use, it’s best to ask around among those who have previously owned that car brand. This simple step is a key piece of the puzzle when it comes to prolonging the lifespan of your engine, as it prevents dirt from building up and helps it run smoothly.
Obtain an insurance policy
First of all, check what the legal requirements are for choosing the policy for your car, as this may differ from one country to another. In addition to the compulsory insurance, you may want to check here and learn more about other policies and what they include, in order to choose the best one for your particular situation. Some policies come with a whole slew of perks such as an organized ride in case your car stops in the middle of the road, or it may cover items of high value that might get stolen.
In addition to cross-referencing the safety features your car already has and checking if certain policies come with a cost reduction due to those features, you can also look into your neighborhood and see if you really need certain types of coverage. Living in a peaceful, secure area may be all the peace of mind you need, while you should also consider the types of hazards such as floods or fires you’d want to include in your policy.
Clean inside and out
Despite that “I’ll keep this car forever” feeling you might have right now, perhaps a time will come when you’ll actually want to sell your ride and find a better, improved replacement. To that end, washing the outside of your car is not enough to keep it spotless and alluring to a potential buyer – the interior neatness also affects how much they will value your car.
Well-preserved as opposed to scratched and chafed leather seats and a fresh-looking dashboard make your car appear as good as new, and consequently much more appealing to its potential future owner!
Prep for weather changes
Anything from water repellents for the spring, to preparing your durable winter tires for the snow and ice, your car should be in mint condition every time there’s a change of season. This is a matter of safety as well as cost-effectiveness, even though the initial investment may seem hefty, it will save you from much greater troubles (and repair bills) down the road.
Other details that keep your ride going in the most extreme temperatures one can handle include coolant, also known as antifreeze, which should approximately be added every 15,000 miles, preventing your engine from overheating and further issues.