A new car — or a used car that’s new to you — is a constant source of joy and excitement. However, it can also be a source of worry. After all, a car is a big investment and you will want to get as much use out of it as possible. Sadly, many drivers, particularly new drivers, overlook some simple precautions that could help them add thousands of miles to their cars’ lives.
Car maintenance isn’t just for breakdowns. Scheduled maintenance deals with small-scale wear and tear on the vehicle. While these types of problems may not look serious, over the long term they can cause a lot of damage to a car. The car’s manual will give recommended maintenance intervals; although it can be tempting not to go in for a check-up when there’s nothing obviously wrong, it’s important to remember that it’s regular maintenance that helps to keep it that way.
Insurance also plays a role in extending a car’s life. In the event of an accident, proper insurance will help the vehicle get the parts it needs. This is especially important for first-time drivers, who struggle to find the cheapest possible insurance. Young drivers insurance can help keep a new driver’s first car on the road for years.
Keeping tyres in good condition is important not only for road safety but also to help reduce wear and tear on the car. Drivers should check their tyre pressure every month and inflate as necessary. Reduced tyre pressure can decrease fuel efficiency and increase strain on the car. Regular rotation helps prevent uneven wear and can extend the lifetime of a set of tyres. Some drivers put off replacing worn tyres because they’re worried about the expense, but decreased safety and performance can have much more serious costs over the car’s lifetime.
Many of the most important steps in keeping a car in top running order don’t require a mechanic or a garage — they’re easy to do at home with a few simple tools and a little practice. Among the most important tasks to do regularly at home are changing fluids — engine oil, of course, but also brake fluid and coolant. The car’s filters should be changed regularly to prevent them from becoming clogged. Clean oil and air filters help to keep the engine running smoothly and can prevent more costly problems down the line.
Keeping a careful eye on a car’s brake pads is an important part of extending the life of the brakes. Worn brake pads can cause damage to the brake rotors; needless to say, replacing an occasional set of pads is much less expensive than replacing the rotors themselves.
Many small car problems can be treated easily if they’re dealt with quickly, but can develop into much more serious dangers if left unattended. For instance, small chips in a windscreen are relatively easy for a garage to deal with, but over time they can develop into larger cracks that can mean the whole thing has to be replaced. Similarly, scrapes to a car’s paintwork can seem like a minor irritant. If they aren’t quickly covered up with touch-up paint, however, rust can set in. Rust in a car’s body panels can spread, making expensive repairs necessary.
Keep careful records
One of the most important aspects of proper car care is keeping careful records. A record of maintenance is absolutely essential, but a record of petrol purchases and mileage can help to diagnose any problems that may be reducing the car’s fuel efficiency.