Our cars, for the most part, take excellent care of us. They carry us to and from our destinations, keep the wind and weather off us and make hauling cargo a breeze. Unfortunately, a lot of people put their car care on the back burner because they think they don’t have time to do it. What can you do to take better care of your car, and to make sure your car is always there to take care of you?
You wouldn’t skip a trip to the doctor if you felt sick, and you shouldn’t skip a trip to the garage if your car starts acting up. Even if it’s purring like a kitten, keeping up with your regular maintenance schedule is a good tool for keeping it that way.
Check your owner’s manual for a manufacturer maintenance schedule for things like oil changes, filter changes, tire rotations and tune-ups to make sure your car is running at peak performance at all times. If you’re a little handy, you can do a lot of these tasks at home, so there’s no excuse for not taking care of your car.
Bring It Inside
You wouldn’t leave your kids out in the cold — we hope — so why would you leave your car outside at the mercy of the elements? If your garage is dirty or cluttered, take some time to clean it up so you can park your car inside. It also gives you a more comfortable place to work on it, and a place where you can tear it apart without running afoul of your local homeowners’ association or code enforcement officer.
Take some time to clean your garage door while you’re at it. A dirty door can dump dirt and debris all over your nice clean car, or your nice clean interior if you’re driving a convertible. Plus, letting dirt and grime build up on your car door means the grime could be making its way into the moving parts of your door, leading to an eventual mechanical failure.
Wash Your Car
Keeping your car clean, especially if you live in an area where dust or pollen are an issue, might seem like a chore, but cleaning the interior and exterior of your car can help extend its functional life. Wash your car’s exterior regularly and give it a good wax a couple of times a year. Wax helps prevent scratches and dings in your paint and clear coat, which in turn helps prevent rust.
Cleaning the interior of your car, in addition to making it more comfortable to drive or ride in, helps protect your upholstery. Besides, no one wants to ride is a gross car that’s full of dirt or garbage.
Change Your Headlights
This advice should be common sense, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t even bother to change their burned-out headlights because they don’t ever drive at night. If your headlights burn out, not only are you at risk for a ticket, it’s harder to see when you’re driving in the dark, which puts you at a higher risk for accidents.
Change your headlights as soon as you notice they’re burned out. Just make sure you use gloves to handle the new bulbs. If you touch a headlight bulb with your bare skin, the oils on your hands can cause the bulb to superheat and burn out that much faster.
While society has conditioned us to throw things away and replace them as soon as they break, there’s no reason to do that with a car. A well-maintained car can and will last you for years of good use before you need to upgrade or send it off to the scrap heap. Don’t neglect your car, and it will take care of you for a long time to come.