5 Tips to Maintain the Condition of Your Car
If you have just bought a shiny new motor or are looking to extend your car’s usable life and finish, regular maintenance is critical. Here are some easy steps you can take to give your vehicle the best chance of staying in top condition during its lifetime.
1. Look After the Battery
When a car isn’t in regular use, the battery can quickly run flat and ultimately degrade. Therefore, if you have a vehicle that you do not drive very often, it is a good idea to invest in a trickle charger. This device will regularly top up the battery, which will prevent degradation from lack of use.
If the battery is already showing signs of wear, you may need to take additional steps to preserve it. For example, if it seems like the unit appears to be holding less charge than usual, you should consider using a battery conditioner to improve its’ function.
The ultimate goal with these measures is to prevent you from needing to jump-start your car, as this can strain the battery. Additionally, jump-starts can cause damage to the onboard electronics like the engine management system, causing additional wear to the vehicle.
If investing in a trickle charger is not for you, then you should take care to drive your car at least once a week to maintain the battery.
2. Protect the Paintwork
Preserving the paint on your car is vital to keep it looking good. A high-quality finish will not only improve your experience with the vehicle but can also impact its resale price should you wish to move it on in the future.
Generally, the best way to keep the exterior of your car looking shiny and new is to clean it regularly. Things like bird droppings or tree sap can cause irreversible damage to paintwork if they sit too long, so cleaning your car once a week is a must. Respraying a vehicle is an expensive and time-consuming process, and regular cleaning and polishing will help avoid this.
Another way to preserve the aesthetics of your motor is to apply a paint protection film (PPF). This thin film of polyurethane can be professionally applied to a vehicle, protecting the finish from scratches, mineral deposits, UV, and more. If you want to keep it in top condition, you should protect your car with PPF. This is especially important if you drive a luxury vehicle.
3. Be Kind to Your Car When Driving
Driving as smoothly as you can, as often as you can, is one of the best ways to maintain the mechanical integrity of your vehicle.
Using things like the pedals, steering wheel, and gearbox in a smooth and controlled manner will extend these components’ lives. In addition, you should avoid putting too much strain on the engine – this will make it last longer and help you save fuel.
However, there is a balance when it comes to treating the components gently. If you do not rev the engine from time to time, you risk the build-up of carbon deposits, which can cause issues to the function of the vehicle – as a result, revving the engine to the red line once every few hundred miles is crucial for car maintenance.
4. Top Up the Fluids
If you want your car to function correctly, you should maintain its’ fluid levels. If you do not do this regularly, you can cause significant damage to the components, ultimately reducing the usable life of the vehicle.
Therefore, you need to check the engine oil levels once a fortnight using the dipstick under the hood. When you remove the stick, you should verify that the oil level lies between the minimum and maximum levels. If there is too little, top up the engine oil.
The colour of the oil is also something to look out for. If it looks dirty, then it will need to be replaced. Look out for these other signs that your oil might need changing as well.
When you check the oil levels, it is also good to look at the coolant reservoir. Fill this up with a 50:50 mix of distilled water and antifreeze whenever it gets too low. Refilling your windscreen washer reservoir at this point is also advised.
5. Get it Serviced
Finally, maintaining a regular schedule for services will extend the life of your vehicle. You can either base this routine on the passage of time or the number of miles that you have driven. As a general rule, you should take your car in for a minor service at least once a year, and significant work should be done every two to three.
Small Steps for Big Rewards
Overall, the tips described above are measures that don’t require a lot of effort but can significantly increase the lifespan of a vehicle. So even if you’re not planning on keeping your car until it is scrapped, taking steps to maintain it will ultimately increase the amount of money you will get for the vehicle if you sell it.