For some, there is no better feeling than buying a new car. Naturally, you want to do everything you can to keep it in perfect condition. With some cleaning and proper maintenance, your car will not only look as good as you bought it, but it will keep you, your passengers, and other drivers safe. Here are some tips to help keep your car always looking like new.
Keep a Close Eye on Your Tires
One of the best ways to keep your car looking like the day you took it off the lot is to understand how to properly maintain your tires. Not only is this for the safety of yourself and other drivers but to also help out with things like gas mileage. Gas mileage? How? The more worn your tires are, the harder your car needs to work to move, therefore using more fuel. Not only are worn tires bad for gas mileage, or could lead to blowouts (which can lead to accidents and injuries) but good tires also maintain good traction and help with water retention on wet roads. You can usually tell when your tires are becoming worn because there’s excessive wear on the tire and uneven tread. A great trick is to place a penny head first into a few of the grooves in your tire. If Lincoln’s head is covered by tread, you’re good to go! If not, it’s time to look at replacing your tires.
Inspecting your tires regularly will help you avoid getting a flat and avoid an accident because flat tires can be a hazardous threat while driving. There are a few preventive measures you can take to reduce the risk of a blowout:
- Check your tire pressure (should be anywhere between 30-35 PSI, but check your car’s specific PSI requirements found on the driver’s door)
- Rotate tires every 5,000 to 10,000 miles
- Avoid hazards like nails, metal shards, sharp rocks, glass, and potholes
- Don’t overload your vehicle
- Pay attention to tire recalls
Always Check Your Fluids
There are multiple fluids that need to maintain certain levels to ensure your car is running smoothly. Here are the fluids you or a mechanic should look at:
- Transmission fluid
- Power steering fluid
- Engine oil
- Brake fluid
- Windshield washer fluid
Paying attention to your fluids is very important because they affect the way your vehicle operates. If you notice a leak or are due to take your car to a trusted mechanic as soon as possible so they can determine where the leak is coming from and fix the issue quickly. Make sure you’re also getting routine checks on all of your fluids so your mechanic can replace or refill as needed.
Regularly Changing Your Engine’s Oil
Typically, your engine’s oil should be changed every 5,000 to 7,000 miles, but if your engine needs full-synthetic motor oil, it could go up to 15,000 before changing. You must regularly check your engine’s oil levels and go in for routine oil changes because your engine’s oil level is arguably one of the most important fluids in your car because, without it, it would not function.
Whether you decide to change your oil yourself or have it done by a mechanic, there are a few things you should know about your vehicle before changing the oil:
- Which type of oil is best for your vehicle
- The oil viscosity
- Whether to use synthetic or non-synthetic oil
- Your vehicle’s mileage
An easy way to check your engine’s oil is to look at the dipstick. There are usually two indicators to look at when checking the dipstick, the highest mark usually suggests your oil level is where it needs to be whereas the lower mark means it’s time to add oil soon. Anything lower than the lowest mark means oil should be added as soon as possible. Be sure to wipe the dipstick off first and then re-dip to get the most accurate reading.
Test the Lights
An easy way to get yourself a ticket is by having a broken or burnt-out bulb on your vehicle. Every so often you should check your head and tail lights by turning them on to see if any bulbs are out. If you do notice a bulb out, then take your vehicle to a mechanic to see if the issue is the bulb or a fuse that needs to be replaced.
Proper car lighting is important for letting other cars know you’re around and allowing you to see better, thus lowering your chances of an accident and having to file an insurance claim or getting a ticket. By taking a few extra steps such as replacing bulbs when they start to dim and cleaning the lenses will help keep them glowing and shining bright.
Replace Windshield Wipers
Your windshield wipers are a necessity when it comes to driving in wet conditions. If you notice your wipers aren’t working like they once did, don’t wait till the last minute to fix them. Worn out or damaged blades can be very dangerous because they can hinder your visibility when it rains or snows.
Changing your wiper blades is an easy task, but if you aren’t confident enough to replace them yourself, it may be best for a professional to do the job. Typically, your wipers are inspected during an oil change, but if you do it yourself check out these steps below:
- Determine the size of the blade (An auto parts store can help with this)
- Remove the old wipers
- Attach the new wiper blades
- Make sure they work correctly
If you don’t want to take your car into a mechanic shop for a simple wiper blade swap, a sales associate at your auto parts store can help you replace your wiper blades free of charge.
Replace Your Engine Air Filter
An unclean air filter can allow dirt and buildup into your vehicle’s engine and hinder its performance. Inspect your car’s air filter on an annual basis and replace it when needed. By keeping up with your engine’s air filter, you’ll reduce emissions, prolong your engine’s life and increase your car’s fuel efficiency.
Inspect Belts and Hoses
Making sure your belts and hoses are in good condition can help keep your vehicle running and help you avoid a breakdown while driving. For example, your serpentine belt winds through your engine and provides power to multiple key components in your car. If that belt goes out it might cause other parts of your car to stop working.
To inspect your car, wait until the engine is off and everything is cool, then gently tug and visually inspect the belts and hoses. If you see any evidence of abrasion, cracks, leaks, kinks, or splits have a technician look at it immediately. Hoses and belts can be among some of the most costly repairs for a car so it’s best to catch them ahead of time.
Get Your Brakes Inspected
Your brake pads need to be regularly inspected. When you drive, pay attention to any brake noises, shaking, or vibrating from the brake pedal. If you notice anything concerning, take it to a professional as soon as you can. Your brakes are what make your vehicle stop and without them, driving can be very dangerous. When you avoid taking care of your brakes, it can lead to brake failure, resulting in an accident. Most people get their brakes checked when they get their tires rotated so if you can’t remember the last time your brakes were checked, we’d advise that you get that done! A brake inspection can be done at home, or by a professional for about $40. A complete brake repair can range anywhere between $300- $1,000 or more depending on your car.
Get Regular Maintenance On Your Vehicle
Most of the basic car maintenance can be done by yourself if you’ve got the know-how, but other tasks may require a professional technician. If your check engine light comes on or you notice something off on your car, then take it to a technician. They will be able to identify the issue by using the car’s on-board diagnostics port.
A reliable mechanic shop will be able to examine and change other key components on your car, for example, the wheel bearing or the alternator. Keeping up with regular tune-ups will not only keep your car in good condition, but it will also help keep you safe.
If you see a light pop on, something doesn’t sound or feel right, go ahead and take your car in. Like owning a home, fixing little problems on your car before they become bigger ones will save you tons of money and headaches in the long run.
Regularly Wash and Clean Your Car
Sometimes we convince ourselves that the only way to get that new car look is by professionally having your car detailed regularly or for the extreme, buying a new one every few years. But maintaining that new car look doesn’t need to be expensive, all you need is a little bit of time and elbow grease. There are a seven things you can do to keep your car looking fresh in between car detailing:
- Regular Washes- A basic car wash every few weeks is a great way to maintain the appearance of your vehicle. Try getting one when you pump gas, you can sometimes save a dollar or two when you buy a car wash with your fill-up!
- Tire Condition- Apply a coat of tire conditioner after you wash your tires. This will help keep them moisturized and shiny.
- Plastic Sealant- The plastic molding or trim on your car will start to look noticeably faded and dull. Some plastic sealant will add vibrance to your trim and basically give your car a facelift.
- Clean Your Windows- In between washes clean your windows. You will notice a major difference in your visibility.
- Wax- Waxing your car has multiple benefits. Not only does it keep your car looking shiny, but it also is a form of protection from airborne debris that can potentially damage the paint. The wax allows these items to come off easily in between washes as well.
- Detail Spray- Keep a bottle of good detail spray and a microfiber cloth in your car. This will help you be prepared for when spills happen or when a bird decides to use your car as a bathroom.
- Clean the Interior- Keeping the inside of your car clean is just as important as the outside. If you have leather seats, it’s recommended that you get a good leather cleaner to avoid fading and cracks. If you have cloth seats get them professionally washed every so often. Regular interior cleaning consists of vacuuming and cleaning the dash, console, and door panels.
Review Your Auto Insurance Policy
Just like regular car maintenance, it’s always a good idea to check up on your auto insurance policy on an annual basis. Reviewing your policy will help you understand the type of coverage you have, your limits and deductibles, make sure your policy is up-to-date and is appropriate for your car.
Maintaining that “new car” look can be an easy task if done regularly. Performing consistent check ups will keep your car running smoothly and keep you and your passengers safe. It also can help you save on insurance in the long run, because the longer you have your car the cheaper it can be to insure when compared to a newer vehicle. Plus, you could save yourself from a few accidents or problems down the line.
If you need assistance in adding more coverage or you’re just wanting to find a more affordable insurance policy, then contact the agents at TGS Insurance. We will find you an auto insurance policy that is tailored to your needs without breaking the bank by shopping your auto insurance policy through our network of 35+ A-rated (or better) carriers. Our agents will provide you with an exceptional customer service experience and will walk you through the process from start to finish.