Getting your first car can be awesome, but, as your parents or anyone with the experience will tell you, there’s a lot of responsibility that comes along with getting one. Whether it’s some premium sedan like the Acura TLX or even a budget runabout like the Nissan Versa, you should always go the extra mile to take good care of your car. Not only will this keep your car on the road for longer and lower your overall running costs, but it will also help maintain its resale value for when you want to upgrade or just sell. Here are eight easy tips to follow to keep your car in optimum condition:
1. Drive With Mechanical Sympathy
Some of us enjoy a little bit of an adrenaline rush every now and again and one easy way to get it is either by flooring the accelerator pedal of your new car or hooning around a corner at absurd speeds. While testing out your vehicle’s performance may be fun, not all vehicle configurations are designed to be pushed; imagine red-lining your Acura ILX – a car designed for daily driving: it’s just not a good way to prolong a car’s lifespan. You should drive with what’s known as ‘mechanical sympathy’ – which includes implementing basic things like controlled and smooth operation of the steering wheel, gearbox, and pedals, and maintaining good observation of the road to avoid harsh braking. All of these things will help reduce engine and component wear and improve fuel economy.
2. Maintain the Car’s Battery
If you don’t drive often, then something you will want to take into account is the charge of your car’s battery. If your car’s battery does die, you will end up having to jump-start it with another vehicle or portable jumper set, both of which can strain not only the battery but the engine management system and other electrical components, too. This diminishes the quality and reliability of those components and increases the rate of wear. To avoid this, it’s recommended that your car be started up and driven at least once a week.
3. Evaluate Tires Regularly
Ensuring that the tread on your tires is up to standard and the pressure levels of the front and rear tires are at the recommended psi levels are perhaps some of the most important checks to do when it comes to your safety and preventing an accident. Some higher-end vehicles do come installed with features that constantly monitor tire pressure, but most cars will have to be checked at a gas station or service center. You will need to check your manual to confirm what psi level the tires on your car should be as not all models are the same. Once you know this, it’s recommended that tread, tire health, and pressure is checked on a weekly basis.
4. Stick To The Service Schedule
Keeping to your car’s recommended service schedule is your number one way to prolonging its lifespan and keeping it in top-notch condition. Automakers suggest that most cars be serviced either once a year or every 10,000 miles. Service centers will check things like fluid leaks in the powertrain, tire pressure and condition, handbrake wear, and replace components such as air filters, spark plugs, and possibly the cambelt. Meeting your service dates on time and keeping your service book up-to-date is one of the first things buyers look at to determine whether or not the current owner really took care of the car.
5. Use The Air Conditioning
Oddly enough, using your air conditioning is significantly more beneficial to its long-term effectiveness and your savings than it is not using it. Sooner or later, your car’s AC system will leak its refrigerant gas over time, particularly so with minimal use. While keeping the AC off will improve your gas mileage returns, you will end up having to regas the system after a while in any way, even if you never used the AC. That means you’ll be paying for something you never even got to use, so use it, whether it’s to keep cool in the summertime or to defog the windows in winter.
How To Prepare Your Car For Resale
If you’re wanting to upgrade or simply purchase a new car, you may want to consider trading in or selling your current one. While you will never get the MSRP you paid for your car, how much you get relies on how well you maintain it. Whatever the case, whether you’ll be trading it in or selling it on the secondhand market, there are some must-do prerequisites for the resale of your car, so that you can get the best possible deal. If you’ve been driving carefully enough and have taken good care of your car, there probably won’t be much you’ll need to do, otherwise, here’s everything you can do to prepare your car for resale:
- Ensure that all your paperwork is in order.
- Complete all the essential maintenance.
- Restore the exterior to its former glory.
- Restore and repair any worn cabin items.
- Get your car professionally cleaned.
- Get a valuator to review your car
- Plan to sell at the height of its resale value
Now that you know how to properly maintain a car to prolong its performance characteristics, keep it driving for longer, and lowering its running costs, not only will you be enjoying your car for longer, but you’ll also be able to sell it for a decent price when you’re ready to move on.
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