Just like we should take care of ourselves by going for a check-up or following a healthy diet, the same basic principles apply when keeping our cars in the best possible condition. Much like people, cars need on-going maintenance to stay healthy and work to their best abilities.
Unfortunately, with this on-going car maintenance often comes expense. Digging into savings to pay for car repairs, MOTs or aesthetics can cause difficulties, but there are a number of small tricks that can keep your car in shape whilst avoiding costs. These simple steps can be performed regularly and are likely to save you money further down the line – minimizing those unwanted repair costs. Here are 8 tips to remember on how to keep your car in tip-top condition.
1. Check your oil regularly
Oil is the bloodline of your car. Without it, the car isn’t likely to go far or, at least, very quietly. To keep your car in the best possible condition, we’d recommend having the oil checked regularly (around once a week) and changed every 4,000 – 4,500 miles (6,400 – 7,200KM).
Whilst most oil manufacturers will claim that their oil can last 10,000 miles, it is generally best practice to use the same oil for no more than 5,000 miles in order to maximize your engine’s reliability over the long term. This will also help to avoid any potentially costly issues later down the line. If you’re unsure on how to check the oil of a car yourself, you can ask your mechanic to demonstrate how to check your oil properly or consult your user manual.
2. Maintain your brakes and battery
Modern cars will have braking systems that are designed to be replaced from time to time for maximum braking efficiency. If you notice any change in your brakes or suspect any problems at all, take your car to have the brakes checked immediately. Any problems with your brakes can be extremely dangerous.
With regards to maintaining your car battery, we would recommend keeping it clean and greased. Ideally, you should aim to clean the battery terminals with a wire brush every 6 to 8 months and coat the battery with grease made for high temperatures to keep it in strong working order. If you have a non-maintenance-free wet-cell battery, you should check the battery’s water level every 2 to 3 months.
3. Pay Attention to Warning Signs
It may seem like an obvious tip but, if your car is flagging an issue on the dashboard, don’t ignore it. If you are unsure how to deal with the problem yourself, you can usually find the solution to the majority of common complications in your owner’s manual. Failing that, a mechanic will be able to advise on the best possible course of action. Remember, ignoring a warning light or delaying a repair could trigger irreparable damage to the car and result in far more expenses.
In order to save costs on the smaller tasks for your car, it’s a good idea to educate yourself on the basics and establish a good rapport with your mechanic, in the hopes that they will demonstrate how to fix it yourself. It is also advised to always get a quote and shop around for your mechanic before you take your car into the shop. Using a reputable mechanic is always important but that doesn’t mean you have to over-pay to get quality service.
4. Keep Your Car Clean
It may not seem like the most important factor in keeping a car in good health, but the cosmetic appearance of our car is an important and cost-effective factor as well. Simple things, such as keeping the exterior of your car clean, regularly waxed and making sure dents are taken care of will help to better preserve the value and life of your car. This will also help to prevent expensive long-term issues such as rust or fading.
In terms of keeping the interior clean, a regular vacuum is also needed. Remember, the interior of a car is often key when it comes time to trade the car in or sell. While many may not care about the oil or tires or whether the radio won’t work, if the interior looks unkempt and dirty, the deal is off. So if you ever want to make a profit from your car or trade it in or sell it, vacuuming will make a big difference and will have a return on investment. Find out more on how to value a car when buying or selling.
5. Use the Right Tires with the Correct Inflate
Tire gauges are cheap and easy to use so be sure to check your tires regularly and ensure they are properly inflated to the manufacturer’s specified pressure. If you’re unsure about the specified pressure, this information can often be found in your car’s user manual or you can ask your local tire dealer how to identify tread wear indicators. Remember – tires should be replaced when tread wear indicators are showing between the treads.
To keep your car in excellent working condition, it is advised that you check your tires every other day for pressure and every week for wear or damage. At the very least, you should check your tires every time you use the car.
6. Ensure Car Windows, Mirrors and Lights Are Fully Functional
It is advised that you check your windows, mirrors and lights regularly for cracks or any potential problems. If you have any breaks, you must replace these as soon as possible.
If you have a small crack in the windshield, no matter how minor, get it fixed immediately and do not ignore it. Thankfully, modern auto-glass techniques mean that it is unlikely that you will need to replace the entirety of the glass. Instead, an auto-glass provider can usually inject resin into the crack which will make the glass appear brand new – and save you a lot of money. However, leaving the crack could result in the entire windshield smashing whilst you are driving – causing injury to yourself and your passengers and a very expensive clean-up.
7. Keep All Fluids Topped Up
Much like the oil, the fluids of the car are a driving force of any vehicle. If you want to keep your car in excellent working condition, brake fluid, coolant, power steering fluid, transmission fluid and all other fluids need to be checked at least once per week. If you’re unsure what the best practices are for checking your fluids, consult your user manual or ask your mechanic to demonstrate the best method for checking these.
8. Get a set of new alloy wheels
If you’re looking for a way to revamp the look of your vehicle, getting a brand new set of alloy wheels can totally transform the look and style of your car. Wheels are an excellent way to combine classic designs with modern trends and the Stuttgart Alloy Wheel range, for example, means that you can choose from a vast selection of premium wheels to best suit your tastes and preferences that are guaranteed long-life and durability. Find out how to maintain alloy wheels.
If you’re looking for a way of breathing new life back into your car with a set of alloy wheels, you can find out more information and shop a wide range of high-quality wheels at Stuttgart Wheels or find your local stockist here.