Top Car Care Tips For Your Ride

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Daily car care to keep your ride in great shape

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Why Looking After a Car is Important

Buying a car, regardless of how much you've spent, is an investment, and investments require looking after. Regular car care is the best way to ensure your vehicle functions at its optimal level and retains its value as long as possible. It's even been said that the condition of someone's car says something about their character, but more than that, a car that is well cared for is less likely to yield problems and be easier to sell. How to maintain a car and basic, regular car maintenance does not have to be daunting if you approach it methodically and keep a guide or checklist to remind you. Here are some handy, practical car-care tips.

Regular Car Maintenance Checklist

Naturally, the smooth functioning of the machine that is your car is vital, and while there are some daily car maintenance tips to follow, we offer a more exhaustive car maintenance checklist that will help you keep track of routine maintenance on a car. Here is a brief summary of this guide to remind you what needs to be checked:

  • Engine oil should be changed according to the schedule to help regulate temperatures and keep things lubricated
  • Checking for leaks in the cooling system and making sure there is enough coolant is one of the most important car-servicing tips
  • Power steering and transmission fluid need to be checked as well, and keeping an eye on your differential and transfer case fluid on off-road vehicles like the Toyota 4Runner is just as important.
  • Check battery water if necessary, unless your car has a maintenance-free type.
  • Brake wear and tear should be monitored closely - remember, light, small vehicles' brakes don't necessarily last longer than big cars' if they spend most of their time in stop-start city driving. A hard-working, heavily laden van will wear out its brakes quickly too.
  • Make sure you know the condition of your shocks; worn shocks and suspension struts should be replaced without delay
  • Attend to any dashboard warning lights and strange noises you may suddenly be hearing
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Car Maintenance Checklist freepik.com

Daily Car-Care Tasks

How to take care of your car is not limited to mechanics only and routinely checking up on what's under the hood. A quick check-up of your car every morning before driving off is always a good idea. Here is a guide on daily checks you can do to help ensure your car is in tip-top shape:

  • Stretch your legs. Walk around your car and check the tires. A puncture may have developed on your previous trip, and driving with a half-deflated tire can be very dangerous. It's also a good time to note any worrying bulges on the sidewalls.
  • Check underneath. Puddles that appear underneath your car overnight are a good indication of a leak somewhere.
  • At the gas station. A good time for additional checks is when you're topping up your fuel tank. Check tire pressure and adjust accordingly.
  • Visibility. Keep your windshield and windows clean and streak-free to ensure optimal visibility. Check washer fluid and ensure your windshield wipers are in good condition - cracking or perishing wipers will not wipe clean, meaning you won't be able to see properly in adverse weather conditions.
  • Light up. Headlamps, taillights, and parking lights need to be in working order at all times, get a passenger to help you check these.
  • Clear out. Make a habit of clearing out rubbish and keeping the cabin free of clutter - not only is it dangerous to have items falling about as you drive, but leaving food items, soda cans, and the like lying about the interior inevitably results in stains and sticky residue. Many family cars like the Ford Explorer and Dodge Journey have clever storage solutions to keep trash in one place until you can remove it when you stop.
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How to Keep a Car Interior Looking New

Keeping your car in top shape starts with keeping it clean and free of clutter before you even consider adding extras such as snazzy carpets or seat covers. Clean the interior of your car properly, clear out any trash, empty the ashtray, and vacuum the carpets often. Sedan cars and those with large trunk spaces can also easily become roving storage zones - clear out bags, clothing and shoes, toys, or work items that you may have forgotten about.

Clean grit and dust out of the air vents with a brush and treat the dashboard with a purpose-made product that cleans it, but avoid silicone-based products that cause the dashtop to shine and reflect in your eyes. Another good tip is to use proper leather-care products on your leather seats. Knowing how to keep your car interior looking new should not be too much work if you keep it clean and put in some effort on a regular basis.

How Can You Make an Old Car Look New Again?

Old cars don't need expensive restoration to look their best. And, you don't want to overcapitalize on an old car unless it's a rare and valuable classic. How to make an old car look new again - or almost new - often comes with good detailing:

  • A good wash and wax, professionally done, is the first step in this process
  • Have it buffed to remove scratches and swirl marks from the paintwork
  • Find a high-quality product to restore the black plastic moldings to their former luster
  • Yellowing and fading plastic headlights can be restored with an easy DIY kit

Conclusion

One of the most important things to know about cars is that they need constant care to look good and function at their best. Always get a car serviced on time and definitely checked up before long trips. Looking after your car means time and effort, yes, but this is never wasted when you consider the money you've invested. This also reduces the likelihood of breaking down. Good car-care habits will ensure a noticeably better resale value when the time comes to sell it and forms an important part of how to prepare a car for sale.

FAQs

Can I use regular dishwashing detergent to wash my car?

While this certainly is better than not washing your car at all, it's generally advisable to make use of purposed car shampoo that is not abrasive and will not strip the wax off your paintwork. Wax and a sealant are ideal for keeping your paintwork protected, so any detergent that is harsh and removes these layers should be avoided.

How frequently should a car’s air filter be replaced?

The owner's manual is your first port of call here, and in normal conditions, there shouldn't be a need to replace this more than every 30,000 miles. However, if you live in a dusty area and/or traverse dirt roads regularly, you may need to replace the air filter more frequently.

What does it mean if my engine oil has a milky appearance?

It could mean that coolant fluid has found its way into the engine oil, possibly by way of a faulty head gasket. This is a serious problem that could ruin your engine and you should have a mechanic fix it without delay.

How frequently should timing belts be replaced?

Ask your mechanic or dealership if your car has a timing belt and how frequently it should be replaced. This information can also be found in your car's owner's manual. Typically, this should be done every 50,000 to 90,000 miles, but it varies from car to car. Some cars have timing chains that can run for much longer between changes, but the parts and labor will be more expensive.

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