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How to Take Care of Your Vehicle: A Guide for First-Time Car Owners

first-time car owner

Being a car owner could be everything you’ve dreamed of since you were a kid. But with that kind of power comes great responsibility — following through with car maintenance. You’ll need to do a few things to get your car looking good for years to come.

Tip #1 Make sure your car is clean

You might think that maintaining the cleanliness of your car is a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how much dirt and grime accumulate on the inside of your car over time.

For example, you’ll want to make sure that crumbs and other food particles in the back of your car don’t eventually turn into an unappealing mess. You’ll also want to give your dashboard a good wipe-down to remove any stains and spills.

Tip #2 Change your oil and filters regularly

Over time, oil and filters break down, which means that your car could be running with dirty oil and filters without you even knowing about it. If your oil is particularly dirty or burnt, it might even cause damage to the engine.

As a rule of thumb, you’ll want to change your oil and filters every 3 months or 3,000 miles (4,828.03 kilometers), depending on which comes first. However, it differs between every car, so it’s better to follow what’s recommended by your mechanic or dealer. By changing your oil and filters regularly, you’ll be keeping your engine, and the rest of your car, in tip-top shape.

Tip #3 Check the tire pressure often

Proper tire pressure is extremely important because it can not only affect your car’s fuel efficiency but can also impact its handling and braking performance. All you’ll need to check your tire pressure is a tire pressure gauge, which you can pick up at most gas stations, and it’s as simple as putting the tip of the device onto your tire’s metal stem and pushing the gauge in until it “clicks.”

If your tire pressure is low, you can easily fill it up using an air pump at a gas station. If your tire pressure is high, you’ll have to be a bit more creative to get rid of some of that air. You can either drive your car to speed or simply pop your tires and let some air out manually.

car maintenance

Tip #4 Keep up with your car’s maintenance

Keep in mind that it isn’t always necessary to bring your car into the shop for routine maintenance, such as oil changes and filter replacements. For instance, if you drive a Subaru, it would be in your best interest to find a mechanic that has experience with the car’s model. This way, if you ever encounter a Subaru gasket leak, your mechanic will know exactly what to do.

Tip #5 Keep your tires properly aligned

Misaligned tires are dangerous because they can cause damage not only to your car’s tires but also to the suspension, as well as the fuel efficiency. To keep up with your tires’ alignment, all you need to do is check your tire pressure every once in a while.

If the information on your sidewall says that your car should be aligned after 50,000 miles (80,467.2 kilometers) or six months, make sure you go to a professional. This will help you avoid costly repairs later down the road.

Tip #6 Do not ignore your warning lights

When you buy a new car, it might seem like it’s perfectly normal for your “check engine” light to be on when you start it up in the morning. However, if you don’t go ahead and address the problem, you might find yourself dealing with a much bigger issue down the road.

Your “engine light” is not only there to tell you that something is wrong with your car, but it is also there to alert you before the problem gets out of hand.

Tip #7 Schedule an appointment to get your car serviced

It can be all too easy to ignore those scheduled appointments when you first buy a new car. However, if you don’t go ahead and get your car serviced as soon as possible, you might find that you’re stuck in a vicious cycle where your car keeps breaking down over and over again.

To avoid being in this situation, you might want to do some research into your dealer’s warranty and see if you can get your car serviced before the warranty expires.

Tip #8 Know how to wash your car properly

Unlike a lot of other household chores, washing your car does not have to be a dreaded task. If you know what you’re doing, washing your car can actually be a very fun and rewarding experience.

Some of the most important things to remember when you’re washing your new car is to use a clean sponge and to only focus on one panel at a time. By doing this, you will avoid causing swirls and scratches that can lead to paint fading and rusting.

These eight simple car maintenance tips should help get anyone off on the right foot with their new vehicle. Not only will these tips save you money in repairs down the road, but they will also keep your car looking good and running smoothly for years to come!

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