You’ve purchased your first car, have gone to the nearby parks and reserves, brought your friends around, and all the fun stuff that driving and owning a car lets you. It’s liberating and empowering. Many people believe that a car is integral to personal freedom, and it’s hard to argue with that when it enables you to go to places otherwise inaccessible on foot.
But a car is not like other devices where it’s pick up and use until you can’t use it anymore. No, a car is a lot more… personal. Yup, we’re talking about car maintenance. Since a car is something that you entrust your life with, you need to make sure that it’s performing in tiptop shape. Neglecting your car can lead to a lot of bad things. And for first-time owners, it can be overwhelming at first. There’s a lot of things to think about, a lot of stuff to keep track of, but that’s what this guide is here for. We’ll look at things that first-time car owners should keep in mind.
Read the Manual
Much like any other consumer goods, a car comes with a manual. And like anything you’re buying for the first time, it’s best to read the manual. Don’t throw it away like some people do, keep it with you. It explains all the car’s features (you’ll probably discover something new too), specifications that the car needs, and also information about the maintenance. And if your car didn’t come with a manual because you bought it second-hand, worry not! You can probably find one for your car’s model online.
Clear the Glass
Make checking your car’s glass surfaces a routine. Clean them with soap and a soft sponge to make sure that debris or insect carcasses don’t stay. And check if anything’s broken or cracked. Especially your windshields and side mirrors. A broken windshield or side mirror is a safety hazard since it obscures your vision. If you find that they’re cracked, get your side mirrors or windshield professionally repaired as soon as possible, since there can be penalties depending on where you are.
Check Your Tyres
Every once a week or so, check your tire pressure with a gauge. The manual should indicate the optimal tire pressure for your car, and it’s best when it’s maintained within that range. This is necessary because you’ll feel your car moving differently when the pressure is receding. Depending on the roads you drive, you should check your tire pressure at least once a week, more if you drive in an area with rough roads. Especially for used cars, if you’re not positive that the tires are new, make checking their pressure part of your maintenance routine.
Is it really necessary to get your oil changed? Yes, of course! You might have heard your friends say that only change their motor oil every 3,000 miles, or 5,000 miles, or even 7,000 miles. But what should you follow? Again, it’s best to have the manual for your car because it should indicate how far your car can go before you need to change motor oil. Motor oil is absolutely vital when it comes to cooling the engine’s components, maintaining lubrication, and it also improves your gas mileage! So while you can take the time to change the motor oil yourself, it’s best to go to a professional especially if it’s your first car.
Check the Wipers
Windshield wipers can leave streaks and marks after a few months of use. Since it relies on friction to keep things off of your windshield, it’s a good habit to include this as part of your checks too. Leaving it out can only result in a more expensive repair or replacement of your windshield- remember, replacing a windshield wiper is cheaper than getting your windshield replaced.
Other Maintenance Tips
So far, we’ve talked about the technical aspects of car maintenance. Keep your car in good shape doesn’t end there, however, as there are other smaller tips that will help make your general usage a lot better.
Keep the Interior Clean
Getting your interior dirty can impact your overall experience. Don’t leave food inside the car as it can stink up your car later. Don’t put stuff on your backseat as well, if you’re carrying packages or other items, it’s best to put them in the trunk- especially if you don’t know where they’ve been.
Beyond the obvious aesthetic benefits, washing your car also helps in prolonging its life. Our cars are subjected to a myriad of different harmful factors, like sunlight, pollution, rain, dead bugs, grease, and a lot more. These things can cause corrosion or damage to your paint.