As most drivers know, keeping your car in good condition is a great feeling. Not only does it feel fantastic to drive around a shining car that’s been well looked after, it also means it retains some resale value for when you want an upgrade. In addition, keeping your car well-maintained can drastically improve its lifespan. Unfortunately, keeping your car in good condition can be harder than it first seems. It requires a considerable amount of dedication, some monetary investment, and of course, effort. But with these 9 useful tips, you’ll be able to keep your car in fantastic condition and give it the attention it deserves without too much hassle.
1. Clean off dead insects and bird droppings as soon as possible
Dead insects and nasty bird droppings can ultimately damage your paintwork and cause disgusting marks on your car body. Get a wet sponge with a little soap and wipe them off as soon as possible, or else you might face expensive care costs just to clean up the stains and remove the mess once it’s baked into your car body. If possible, keep a cleaning kit in your car and pull over as soon as you notice some mess on your windscreen, or inspect your vehicle before driving it in the morning. The goal is to not leave these stains on for a long period of time or else they can be more difficult to remove. There are insect removers that you can buy and specialised wipes to help you remove bird droppings as well.
2. Keep basic car maintenance tools in your car
If you’re going to keep your car in fantastic condition, then you need to keep some basic maintenance tools in the trunk. For starters, keep some cleaning equipment such as a sponge, soap and preferably some wet wipes as well. Keep some bin bags as well to clean up messes in the back or to throw rubbish away, and don’t neglect to keep a charged hand vacuum as well to clean up any debris and crumbs. If you drive in the snow often, then a de-icer will come in handy as well as something to scrape ice off your vehicle. Next, you want to keep basic DIY tools in the back if you’re quite handy and know your way around the engine. Some basic tools include a spanner, wrench, pressure gauge, pliers, screwdrivers and gloves. It’s also a good idea to keep your car’s manual with your tools so you know your way around the vehicle.
3. Check your tires and keep the pressure at a steady level
One of the most important aspects of your vehicle are the tires. They’re the only thing keeping your car’s belly from scratching against the ground and they effectively keep you moving. When you drive your vehicle for a long time, the tires will eventually wear out and their pressure levels will start dropping. Buying a pressure gauge is the first step to keeping your tires well-maintained. You want to ensure that the pressure isn’t too low or too high. There are plenty of websites to check your ideal tire pressure, so make sure you’re doing your research and looking up the correct psi. In addition to the pressure levels, you also need to worry about tire damage. If you’ve ever driven over something sharp such as a nail, bits of glass or metal, then you need to inspect your tires to make sure the damage isn’t severe. In most cases, damage to your tires can be fixed if it’s detected early, so make sure your regular car maintenance includes a full examination of your tires.
4. Maintain fluid levels in your car
There are several different fluids that need to be maintained in order for your car to run optimally. For starters, oil is needed to lubricate the engine and keep the parts working correctly. Next, you need to think about transmission fluid to keep the transmission lubricated. Radiator fluid is also important because it keeps your engine from overheating. If it’s too low, then your car might overheat and you’ll be stranded in the middle of traffic—not a situation that anyone wants to be in. Lastly, there’s brake fluid which keeps your vehicle from sliding into other cars during your drive. Although it might seem expensive to maintain all of these fluids for your vehicle, it’s an essential component in keeping your car in great condition.
5. Battery maintenance and signs of failure
One of the most obvious signs of car battery failure is a car that refuses to start. If you want to dodge expensive repair costs or tow charges, then all you need to do is maintain your battery and keep it in good condition. Before you perform any work on your battery, make sure you’re wearing safety equipment such as latex gloves. The first thing to do is check for corrosion in the battery. Clean any residue from around the car battery and make sure you’re cleaning the cables as well. You also want to inspect the battery for cracks in the event that something is causing it to leak. If there is a crack or signs of leaking, then you need to replace the battery as soon as possible. If all is well, then the next step is to check the level of electrolyte in the battery. This usually means filling the battery cells with distilled water after a brief inspection by looking down the holes. If it’s unclear, then use a flashlight to inspect the inside of the battery. If you don’t use distilled water, then there’s a chance that the life of the battery will be drastically reduced because other chemicals will be introduced into the cells and contaminate the battery.
6. Take extra defensive driving lessons
One of the best ways to take care of your car is to simply drive it properly. However, this isn’t always possible because most accidents won’t be caused by you, but other reckless drivers on the road. The best way to avoid crashing is to take additional driving lessons, more specifically a course in defensive driving. These courses will teach you how to become a defensive driver that’s more aware of their surroundings, and you’ll learn fantastic tips and tricks on how to identify and stay away from reckless drivers. If taking lessons seems expensive or time-consuming, then it’s possible just to look online for defensive driving tips in order to get an idea of what it means to drive defensively. A lot of it comes down to carrying out lots of checks on your vehicle and its passengers to ensure everyone’s safe, and it also involves staying awake and being aware of pedestrians around you.
7. Mix hand car washes with machine washes
Don’t always go for machine car washes. You also need to invest in hand car washes, either done by yourself or from a reputable service. You can look up some of the best power washers that can handle cleaning your vehicle, invest in one, and then clean your car yourself. Although it’s fairly time-consuming to clean your car by hand, you’ll be able to get into all the small areas and also clean the interior. This ultimately gives you a cleaner vehicle and you’ll be able to inspect individual components of your vehicle. However, it’s understandable that not everyone has the time to manually wash their car, which is why it’s fine to take your vehicle to a machine wash now and then, just don’t neglect to check your vehicle with your own eyes once in awhile.
8. Prepare your vehicle for every season
If the weather changes often where you live, then make sure you’re always adjusting your vehicle for the weather. For instance, if it’s going to snow a lot, then try to keep your car inside of your garage so that it’s not being coated with snow overnight. Carry de-icer with you and a scraper to remove bits of snow and ice from your car. If it’s summer, then ensure you carry some extra bottles of water in the vehicle to stay hydrated during long drives and swap out your winter tires for regular ones. It’s a good idea to keep a three-season tire (also known as a summer tire) and a winter tire that offers more traction during colder conditions.
9. Keep your car out of the sun whenever it’s parked
Much like your body, you want to avoid exposing your car to the sun. Keep your car in the shade when possible, park it inside your garage at home, and give it a cover if you won’t be using your vehicle for a long time. If you’ll be driving the car around in the sun, then consider getting a windshield sun protector as well. If you have luxurious leather seats, consider getting covers to sit over them and protect the material from being damaged by the sun. Waxing your car can also help to protect your car body from the sun’s rays, but it’s a time-consuming process that might put some people off.