Car care is an ongoing process and one that does not require a lot of time and effort on your part. It covers all aspects from interior to exterior parts, to general things you can do to.
The following are some of the basic practices to adopt to help keep your car looking new as well as run smoothly for many more years to come.
- Washing your car.
This should be done every month, but it is not enough to use only water and regular soap. Make sure to use high quality car wash shampoo, wash mitt and microfiber drying towels. A lot of dirt, dust and grime can accumulate on the car’s body that can leave a stain if left for too long or slowly rust the paint.
For instance, bird droppings are acidic and should be washed off regularly, if not immediately. The acidic nature of these droppings can lead to the slow corrosion of the car’s paint.
So can the accumulation of snow, around tires and on the bed of the vehicle.
While washing, ensure that you scrub tires properly too and also check wind blades for accumulations of dust or snow that might cause scratches on your windscreen if left for long.
Most car shops offer to spray wax on your car after washing to help keep the paint looking new. This is not as significant as washing your car properly, but it does help.
- Protecting the paint
Car wax helps protect the paint on the car from further damage and can also help cover up small chips and scratches from rusting. There are also paint protectants and sealants available that can be done after washes. All of these are going to help protect the outer layer from extreme sun damage or snow and help contain aging.
While car wax should be done once or twice a year, sealants can be used a lot more frequently, after every car wash as well.
- Protecting tires
Tires do not require a lot of care, except for an optional tire shine that can be done with a special tire shine spray and cloth. However, tires should be paid special attention to during washing to help make they appear shiny and new.
Checking tire pressure should be part of your car routine, along with having tires rotated and aligned every few months, or at certain miles as instructed in the car’s manual.
- Take good care of the car’s interior
Consider investing in a good car vacuum, especially if you have a lot of passengers in your car most of the time. Car vacuums are efficient at cleaning out the seats and floors and even between corners. You should especially consider one if you travel with pets like cats and dogs that tend to shed hair which is difficult to clean out otherwise.
Also, consider getting good quality floor mats for your car so the car floors do not get covered with dirt from shoes. It becomes a lot easier to clean out the floor mats and put them back than it is clean out the car floor carpet directly.
- Use antifreeze regularly
Car’s engines tend to heat up fairly quickly and without an anti-freeze or coolant of any sort, the engine will overheat and can easily leak. Coolants help prevent overheating and also help reduce oil clogging.
- Take care of where you park your car
Make it a habit to store your car’s shade in the car itself, so when you are unable to find shaded parking you can cover it up yourself. It is important to protect cars from sunlight, especially during summer months, because heat is one of the main reasons of damage to paint.
Heat also cracks dashboards, melts plastics and can start to chip off of your car’s seats covers very soon.
- Getting good car insurance
Car insurance is absolutely essential and should be a preliminary step to driving. Some companies offer to cover accidents while cheaper ones have many restrictions. Consider your options carefully and choose a reliable, well known company, even If it seems costlier. It is definitely worth the peace of mind with which you will drive your car.
- Checking spark plugs and battery
Spark plugs do not need to be inspected very frequently, but are an important part of the car’s interior and should be looked at every few months for rust, deposits of carbon or other damage. Driving with bad spark plugs can cause lack of acceleration and lead to lesser gas mileage. As a general rule, consider getting spark plugs inspected every 30,000 miles so you don’t run into a lot of other problems caused by worn out spark plugs.
Batteries should be given a look along with spark plugs and wiped clean of dust and dirt accumulation. Also consider charging with a proper car charger.
- Checking air filter system
The sole purpose of the air filter system is to filter out harmful pollutants, dust and pollen to provide clean air to you for breathing. Car air filter systems are designed for maximum efficiency and maintenance is essential. Air filters that have clogged up, or accumulated dirt will affect acceleration and can in severe cases can cause engine failure. Checking the air filter does not require a lot of time and replacing air filters is not heavy on the pocket either.
- Checking Engine oil
Oil changes are required frequently as oil can harden up over time and form into a sludge, making it difficult for it to flow into the engine. Extreme temperatures can increase the formation of sludge, as does driving with heavy loads or putting strain on the engine for long hours. Always use oil recommended by the manufacturer and ensure you use the right type of oil, too. Oil changes and use of anti-freeze can be done together.
Apart from the above mentioned practices, there are lots of smaller details you should keep in mind, like keeping a car repair kit with some basic tools in your car at all times, and some extra oil too. It is also advised to save up car maintenance receipts from car washes so you can easily keep a track of all that needs to be done.