For some, learning how to take care of your car can be confusing. What goes where? How often does it need a service? But a regular routine of TLC can mean a longer life for your vehicle, and cheaper running costs overall.
The average age of all cars still in use in Spain is 11 years and rising. As car design advances, it isn´t long before technology takes over and with more modern vehicles becoming safer, knowing a bit about maintenance is crucial, and it’s worth it to keep it running at peak performance while you have it.
Taking care of your car can also improve mileage and reduce your overall maintenance costs.
Here are our top tips for taking care of your car:
1. Read the Manual
It might seem like an obvious thing to say but from televisions to automobiles, so many of us ignore the most important accessory that accompanies our purchase, the manual. Become familiar with your car’s manual to take care of it properly. The maintenance schedule, proper parts, and other details vary from vehicle to vehicle.
Always refer to your manual if you have a question about your vehicle care. It’s a great resource for troubleshooting vehicle issues.
If you do not have an owner’s manual, you can usually obtain one from the dealer or online.
2. Keep it Clean
Cleaning your vehicle regularly is not only important to keep it looking good but scrubbing your car or running it through the car wash isn’t just about making it sparkly. Dirt, salt, sand, and other debris that can get on your car leads to rust.
It’s the biggest problem in the winter if you live somewhere with snow or ice. But it’s a good idea to wash your car regularly year-round to remove anything that could cause it to deteriorate.
Waxing your car after you wash it gives you a little more protection against weather elements, bugs, and other things outdoors.
3. Regular Maintenance
Oil changes are probably what come to mind when you think of regular maintenance. The timing of oil changes depends on your vehicle and the type of oil you use. Full synthetic oil requires less frequent changes.
Other routine maintenance tasks include checking tyres, replacing fluids, replacing filters, and checking belts. Your owner’s manual should give you a schedule for those tasks, but you will be better off asking a qualified mechanic to carry out the work. Maintaining the maintenance schedule and records adds value to the car if you choose to sell it.
4. Inspect It Regularly
Look at little closer at different parts of your car to make sure they’re still in good condition.
Replace windshield wiper blades regularly to ensure they work well. If they’re torn or worn out, they can scratch your windshield.
Check the filters regularly to make sure they’re not dirty. If they are, replace them.
Turn on your headlights and check to make sure they’re working. Look at the lights on the back as well. Have someone help you check the brake lights with you.
5. Drive Carefully
The easier you are on your car when you drive, the better it should hold up over time.
Excessive speeds can be hard on the vehicle, but how quickly you accelerate and decelerate can be more important. Stepping on the accelerator or brakes hard can be difficult on the vehicle.
Aggressive driving and sharp corners can also be hard on your tyres.
Avoid heavy loads in your vehicle, including trailers that you tow or roof racks.
6. Fix Problems Quickly
If you notice any issues with your car, have it checked out right away. Little squeaks, bangs, or shakes might not seem like much, but they could be a sign of something bigger.
Problems often get worse if you let them go on for too long. You could end up with major engine problems if you don’t handle things quickly.
7. Care for the Tyres
We talk about tyres quite a lot. Scroll through our page for more tips on tyre care. They might not seem like one of the most important parts, but your tires are responsible for getting you safely to your destination.
Keeping them properly inflated is the easiest way to do that.
Each 1 psi drop in your tire pressure can decrease fuel mileage by 0.2%. That doesn’t sound like much, but it adds up if your tyres are a lot lower than normal.
Low tyre pressure also increases the chances of major problems due to the extra friction created. The tires can overheat, wear prematurely, or cause a blowout. Blowouts can lead to crashes and leave debris in the road that puts other drivers at risk.
Check tyre pressure regularly, especially if you think one or more tires look low.
Replace your tyres before the tread gets too low.
8. Maintain Fluid Levels
Your car relies on lots of fluids to keep things running smoothly. Your mechanic should check those fluids when you take your car in for routine maintenance. But it’s a good idea to check them regularly between appointments to ensure you keep them full.
Check your oil between oil changes to make sure it falls between the minimum and maximum levels on the dipstick. Note how the oil looks. If it’s dark and dirty, it’s time to change it.
Make sure your coolant reservoir has enough antifreeze in it.
You’ll also want to top up your windshield washer fluid regularly, so you can see clearly with clean windows.
9. Protect Your Car
If you have a garage or carport available, park your car there as much as possible. This protects it from potentially damaging weather elements, including UV rays and hail.
Avoid parking under trees when possible. Branches could fall on your vehicle, and some trees drop sap, pinecones, and other debris that can damage your paint.
10. Use Quality Products
Using quality products on and in your vehicle can make it last longer. Choose original manufacturer parts when you need to replace something.
Use high-quality fuel and oil in your vehicle. Low-quality fuel can be dirty, which can affect your fuel filters and fuel injectors.
Saving a few euro on lower-quality products usually isn’t worth it if your goal is to extend the life of your car.
Learn How to Take Care of Your Car
Figuring out how to take care of your car isn’t too difficult once you have the basics under control. The time and effort to handle those basic care tasks pays off with a vehicle that lasts longer and uses fuel more efficiently.