Keeping your car well-maintained makes sense. Not only because of the substantial investment you’ve made in the vehicle and its potential resale or trade-in value but because your car is an outward expression of your character.
First impressions count. How you present yourself matters, and your car is an extension of your personal image. “If he/she can’t be bothered to care for his/her car,” people may think, “then it’s unlikely that he/she cares about family or business responsibilities.” That’s why we’ve written this article; to give you all the tips you need on how to care for your car. So, read these 8 tips to keep your car, and your self-image, in tip-top shape.
1. Wash your car often
Car maintenance isn’t only about taking your car in for scheduled servicing. Maintaining the exterior and interior appearance of your car is just as important, if not more so in terms of your self-image. Yes, cleaning your car should be taken as seriously as your personal hygiene.
You wouldn’t walk around with tree sap, salt, dust, bird and bug splatter on your clothing would you? Neither should your car. Without a regular wash, these elements not only ruin the car paint and contribute to discolouration, but, in all honesty, no one wants to drive in a vehicle, and with a car owner, that doesn’t look appealing. A general rule of thumb for car washing is to wash it biweekly, but this may vary depending on the weather in your area, the environment and your schedule. If you need to remove scratches from your car, you can use high-quality scratch repair kits, or apply some toothpaste.
2. Check tyre pressure
Many individuals don’t know how to change a tyre or even check their cars’ tyre pressure. But, it’s important for your safety, and it helps to extend the lifespan of your tyres. To know what the correct tyre pressure is for your vehicle, check the owner’s manual. Or you can find it inside the bonnet, driver’s door sill or inside the fuel filler cap.
Obviously, tyre pressures vary from vehicle to vehicle. But, for most cars, the recommended pressure is around 2.2 bar. Bear in mind that tyre pressure is something you need to keep an eye on.
This is because tyre pressures change frequently, depending on the kilometres driven and the ambient temperature. A helpful rule of thumb is to check the tyres and add air whenever you fill-up the fuel tank. To check the tyre pressure, do the following:
- For accurate tyre pressure, always check when the tyres are cold. We have mentioned that tyre pressures can change depending on the temperature. To achieve this, rather check your tyres when you’re filling up your tank in the morning or when your car hasn’t been in use.
- Check your owner’s manual to find out what the recommended tyre pressure is for your vehicle.
- Check the pressure with a tyre pressure gauge.
- Top them up whenever necessary.
3. Oil changes are important
Oil is an essential component in the functionality of your car’s engine. When the oil breaks down, it gets contaminated with dust, dirt and debris. But, for the oil to work, you need to clean it often.
Cleaning will help to maintain engine lubrication, cool down engine components, remove particles that are detrimental to the engine and improve fuel economy, as well as the overall health and lifespan of your vehicle. You should change your oil after every:
- 1 609 kilometres (or every six months)
- 4 828 kilometres
- 8 046 to 12,070 kilometres
- 16 093 to 24,140 kilometres.
4. Keep a close eye fluid levels
Checking fluid levels is important as they are the lifeline of your vehicle. So, besides the motor oil, take note of the power steering fluid and coolants. Checking these regularly will keep your vehicle in perfect shape.
The owner’s manual will give you detailed instructions of what you need to do when checking fluids. If you’re unsure, ask a mechanic to have a look. Keep in mind that this is crucial and can save you a large amount of money.
5. Pay attention to warning lights
Cars nowadays have sensors that inform you of mechanical and electrical issues in the car. For instance, most cars will let you know when the air in your tyres is low, or if you forgot to replace the fuel cap.
So, figure out and understand what all the lights mean so that you can understand exactly what’s wrong with your car. This will assist you in the future as you’ll know what and how to fix it. This will save you time and money rather than driving to the nearest mechanic every time there is an issue.
6. Check the air filters
Quite often, people experience car issues due to clogged air filters or loose filters. The air filters’ job is to ensure that no dirt and particles enter the engine. Now, a clogged filter can impact the engine causing it not to work.
To be on the safe side, change your air filters once a year. Or check to see if they’re still fine after you’ve taken a road trip or have been driving a long distance.
7. Check the car battery
Everyone has experienced a flat battery issue at least once. But, with proper maintenance, you’re able to maintain a good battery and prevent these incidents from reoccurring. To achieve this, check the car’s cables and their connection.
Make sure they connect to the terminals, and that there is no sign of leakage or mineral build-up. Clean terminals with a battery cleaning brush if the need arises. And you can add dielectric grease to ensure they stay corrosion-free.
8. Clean the windscreen
To avoid accidents, always make sure that the windscreen is clean and replace the windscreen wipers when they become ineffective or worn. Prolonged dirty windscreens can cause visual impairments which is a road safety hazard.
To keep yourself, and every other person, safe on the roads, make sure you drive with a clean windscreen. And, when the rainy season approaches make this your priority. Ruined wipers will damage your windscreen, causing minor scratches that impair vision.
As with your personal health and appearance, keeping your vehicle in tip-top shape requires a bit of effort, but is worthwhile. Follow these tips, and both you and your car will make a good impression and withstand the test of time. So, what are you waiting for? Go give your car the same attention that you give to yourself. After all, first impressions do count and regular maintenance equals longevity, for you and for your car.