A Guide To Maintaining Your Vehicle
We all love our cars. In fact we probably love them so much because we rely on them for transportation and our livelihood. It might be in our blood, passed down through generations, but cars are a huge part of our lives. So maintaining them means giving our time and energy towards a better running vehicle. There are all sorts of bonuses to keeping a clean and well taken-care-of vehicle. For one, your car will last longer. You might even get better gas mileage. And the zen feeling of organizing the interior is priceless. All of your friends will be impressed when they cruise in your vehicle.
There aren’t many of us who have time to keep a fully maintained car. So we take it to the mechanic or to the car wash. We take it in to have the oil changed. But if you are more apt to save money than to spend it, you might want to learn how to do these things yourself. Plus feeling the satisfaction of taking care of your own car or truck is great. Reading this guide will inform you of all the ways to have a better car. From cleanliness to cheaper car insurance, the snowball effect from taking care of your car is endless.
Getting a cheap car insurance rate could be possible if you just maintain your vehicle. Newer cars cost more to insure for the most part. So take your older vehicle that runs just as well as a new one and you can save a lot of money and time. Plus with a used car that is paid off in full, you need less insurance. New cars need love too especially if you lease. Leasing a car means it isn’t really yours. You could even get charged more if you turn in a vehicle at the end of your lease that has not been properly maintained. Most leases require you to do a minimum amount of oil changes, tire changes and so forth.
Changing your oil every 3-7 thousand miles is a must. Depending on what kind of car you have, getting frequent oil changes is the first step to a “healthy” car. You can choose to take it in to get the shop and have an oil change done. This could be the dealership where you bought the car or even Walmart. But if you choose to take it in, make sure that you understand what they are doing to your car. Some people prefer to have synthetic oil added and others like a specific brand. When you take your car in, there might not always be the same mechanic dealing with your car. And every oil change might be a little different. Some problems that can occur with an oil change at a shop is:
- Rushing your vehicle through the process because the shop is busy that day.
- Not properly tightening your oil filter on by hand. This can lead to leaks.
- over charging or adding on “extras” to your bill.
- Not getting quality customer service.
The “positives” about taking your car in for an oil change basically range from the fact that it is convenient to the fact that they might do a better job. Even though you have to wait for the car to be completed, a lot of times a professional can do this in much less time than you can. Having an oil change done by a professional also means that you won’t have to learn to do it yourself or buy the tools to make it happen.
One of the most important things you can do to protect your car is get the best car insurance you can afford. Luckily car insurance rates are based off of many factors. If you are in an accident you will want to be covered for any damages to your car. It is also a risk factor to others when you are out on the road driving. That’s why most states require you to carry a minimum amount of car insurance. That might look like this:
- Bodily Injury Liability Limits: $30,000 per occurrence/ $15,000 per person
- Property Damage Liability Limits: $5,000 per occurrence
These cheap car insurance options will only protect the other party involved in a crash. There are other options which will protect your and your own vehicle.
When you purchase a new car or when a bank gives you a loan for a car, you will need to have more coverage.
That might look like this:
- Collision coverage means that your own car will be covered in case of an accident.
- Comprehensive coverage will also cover things like theft and minor damages.
- Medical coverage for you and your passengers- Medical coverage can make a huge difference for your security and safety.
- Towing and roadside assistance- You may not only need this for a crash, but if you break down. Roadside assistance can save you time and money.
- Rental reimbursement- You could be covered or reimbursed for a rental car when you are involved in a crash.
- Uninsured Motorist coverage- this will make sure that you are still covered even if someone without insurance hits you.
- Full glass coverage- this is additional coverage for your car to cover glass windows and doors.
- Loan/lease coverage- when you have a loan or a lease out on a vehicle, your coverage needs to be different. Most of the time a full policy is required.
Getting the correct amount of cheap car insurance for your car is key in maintaining a vehicle that you intend to have for a long time.
Here is a list of things to check off your list every month. These things will help keep your car running well.
- Check your tire pressure every 7,500 miles. This means every 2-3 months. Checking your tire pressure and rotating your tires often could mean the difference in having a good alignment on your car or a bad one. Getting the correct tire tread for your lifestyle is also important. Not checking your tires often could lead to a lot of problems. Bad braking is one of these issues. Many times, the store where you purchased your tires will rotate them regularly for free.
- Replacing brake pads every 25 thousand miles or more can help with braking issues. And let’s face it, braking is important. When you are thinking about the safety of yourself and others, braking is the number one thing that can save lives.
- Check your headlights and tail lights and make sure they are working properly.
- Always have at least a quarter of a tank of gas. In hybrid cars this is especially important because not having the proper amount of fuel in your car can drain the battery.
- Check your spark plugs every 30 thousand miles. New Spark plugs will give your car new life. They are easy to replace yourself or you can bring them into a shop. This is regular maintenance for every car. Not changing your spark plugs can lead to getting bad gas mileage and could possibly effect the engine.
- Transmission oil is just as important as engine oil. Make sure that this is checked and replaced when you get an oil change.
- Change your window wipers every fall before the rainy season starts. And make sure you buy the correct kind specifically designated to your car. There is nothing more annoying than when your wipers aren’t working correctly. This can also be a safety hazard.
- Put in anti-freeze every 15,000 miles. By doing this you can regulate the engines temperature balance. Anti-freeze and coolant are two things you will need and usually can be found in one mixture that you can buy at your local auto store. This will help keep your radiator functioning normally. You can find this for about $15 a gallon.
- Make sure you check if there are any recalls on your vehicle. Sometimes the part that is being recalled can be replaced. Every year there are hundreds of recalls. Make sure your vehicle is not one that is on the list. But if it is, you can promptly take care of the issue.
- Make sure you keep the receipts from all of your maintenance and check ups. This way you not only know when your car was last serviced, but you could potentially use them as a write off.
- Check and replace your air filters twice a year. If you live in an area with heavy smog or smoke, you can replace them more often. This is easy to do by yourself but if you feel more comfortable, have the shop replace them when you have your oil changed.
Protect Your Car
Protecting your car can look like many things. It comes in the form of great cheap car insurance. But you can also buy an alarm to prevent break-ins. There are extra mirrors you can purchase so that you don’t have as many blind spots. Most cars nowadays come with back-up cameras, but if they don’t you can install a bumper alarm so you can tell how close you are to the car in front or behind you. This mechanism will beep when you are nearing an object. Protecting the look of your car is also important.
Clean off any bird poop or sticky residue from your car immediately. This will help with paint chipping and fading throughout the year. Also think of where you park your car. Is it sitting in the sun a lot? Is it parked in a safe location? Are you parking it on a busy street? Take care of the interior of your car by cleaning it out often and purchasing rug protecting mats. When you protect your car, the value is kept. When you want to eventually resell your car, people will look at how it has been maintained.
Park in the shade whenever you can. Not only will this make the exterior paint last longer, but the interior will too. The plastic of the dashboard can crack from sun exposure. A windshield is like a magnifying glass and when the sun hits it, it can make for a very hot interior. Lastly, make sure you always drive safely. Preventing your car from getting damaged is very important. You can also save on your cars engine and gas by using cruise control whenever you can. Try not to speed up and then use your brakes. Inconsistent driving is hard on your car.
Easy Ways To Love Your Vehicle
When you want to save time but also want to love on your car a little, make every second count. When you stop at a gas station to fill up, make sure you utilize this time to clean your windshield and empty trash from your car. If you get into this habit it will make sure your car is looking like new every time you fill it up. You can also check your tire pressure at the gas station. It might take a couple extra minutes, but this is an important thing to do. Some cars will let you know when your tire pressure is low. Take this symbol on your dash seriously.
Many gas stations have an easy drive through car wash. Once a week utilize this while filling up your tank. You might even save on your gas when you sign up for a car wash too! Go on a Monday morning when there won’t be a line.
For legal reasons you will want to keep your car registration and cheap car insurance forms inside your glove box at all times. Keeping your glove box organized and free from clutter is a good idea. That way if you need to access these documents in a hurry you can. Throw out the old insurance papers and replace with the new ones every time your premium is renewed. If your car has been recently smogged, keep this paper work handy as well. The owners manual is always an important document to keep in your car. Not only does is tell you how to take care of your car, it has information regarding your specific vehicle which you may need.
To ease the stress on your car and its brakes, put your car in neutral at red lights. When slowing try taking your foot off of the break and letting the car ease into a stop instead of braking abruptly. Never turn the steering wheel severely one way or the other. Avoid traveling at high speeds and gradually add speed when on freeways.
If you are going out of town for a long period of time, make sure you store your car properly. This could mean putting it inside a garage or storage unit while you are gone. This could also mean getting a car cover so that it is out of the elements. You can easily replace your window sealant before winter so that none of the outside moisture gets into your vehicle.
With so many ways to take care of your car, you might want to make a list. Keep this information in a calendar so you don’t miss important dates such as your oil change appointments. Keeping a car looking like new takes time and money. But it will also keep the cars value high if you ever want to resell.