A car is a depreciating asset and, as such, you need to take care of it to get as much residual value from it as possible. Not knowing how to maintain a vehicle before you buy one is a very bad mistake that could end up costing you in the long run.
Not to mention that you’ll have to deal with more shutdowns and inconveniences. In this article, we’re going to look at a few ways to extend your vehicle’s longevity.
Read the Manual
If you ask the average car owner if they read their car’s owner’s manual, the vast majority will probably say no. And that’s a shame because it could teach you many things about how to treat your vehicle and how to use its many features.
The very first thing anyone should do when they get a vehicle is read the manual and pay special attention to the maintenance schedule. It will tell you when you need to change the oil, among other things, but also what different light indicators actually mean.
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Speaking of light indicators, do not make the mistake of ignoring a signal light, even if the issue looks minor. You should get the vehicle serviced as soon as possible as things could deteriorate very fast and cost you a lot more later.
Use the Right Type of Fuel for the Motor
If you have heard that higher-quality fuel is better for your car, this is not a myth. The octane level of the fuel will have a direct effect on the amount of residue that accumulates in the motor, and the residue is one of the main reasons why motors deteriorate over time.
You have to know that certain types of vehicles will benefit from using high-octane fuel more than others, however. If you own a minivan, you cannot expect to see that much of a difference, but you definitely will if you’re driving a high-performance vehicle. So, make sure that you, again, look at the driver’s manual, as there will usually be recommendations as to which type of fuel would be the best for your car.
Keep the Car Clean
Dirt and grime can make a huge difference in things like corrosion and will also affect the state of the paint. This is why it’s very important that you clean your vehicle often and polish it when needed. You should wash your vehicle at least once every two weeks, but you should do it more frequently if you often ride on dirt roads or if they use a lot of additives where you live in the winter.
Another thing we suggest you do is look for a good car wash service with multiple locations and multiple wash options. Sundance Car Wash is a prime example. This will allow you to get a quick wash if you’re in a hurry, or you can go for a more in-depth hand wash.
Store the Vehicle Inside
If you have a garage, then store the vehicle inside even if the weather is generally nice where you live. Storing it outside might seem more convenient, but your car will be subject to bird droppings, plant material, and harsh sun rays. Sun rays can be very damaging to a vehicle, and cause the color and interior to fade, so do not take this lightly.
Invest in a Diagnostic Tool
Another thing everyone should do is invest in a diagnostics tool. These are very easy to use and will work on the average smartphone. They will allow you to make periodic checks and quickly see what’s wrong if you notice a strange sound.
Pay Very Close Attention to the State of Your Tires
So many people neglect their tires when they drive a car, but if they knew how much of an impact it can have on the vehicle, they would take better care of them. Poorly inflated tires will cause more damage to the transmission and the car’s entire undercarriage. They can also lead to alignment and steering issues.
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So, make sure that the tires are properly inflated and have them rotated regularly. Also, make sure that you replace them before they wear out completely. If you want to save money, consider having the tires retreaded instead.
You also have to make sure that you put as little stress on your vehicle as possible. Accelerating too fast will destroy your motor and transmission over time. Braking too abruptly will also cause damage to your tires, brakes, suspension, and powertrain. So, make sure that you review your driving habits and see where you could improve.
You have to be extra careful if the state of the road is subpar where you are. Ensure that you don’t roll over potholes and know where speed bumps are located. Learn how to read signs to prepare for road bumps as well.
Keep All Fluids in Check
One of the most important parts of any vehicle is the fluids. Without proper fluid levels, you can expect things like power steering and your transmission to wear out before they should. This is why you need to learn how to check and replace the wiper fluid, transmission fluid, coolant, brake fluid, and oil, among other things, if you want to keep your vehicle running for a long time.
Don’t Discard Additives
Some people assume that oil and fuel additives are snake oil, but that’s not the case. There are some additives out there that can help keep your fuel injectors clean, for instance. But you have to do your research on them and look for actual evidence before you spend money on them.
All of these tips will allow you to keep your vehicle running and in good shape for as long as possible. Remember to read the documentation on any vehicle first to know exactly what you should and should not do, and to also know when it’s time to let it go.