A car is a big investment for both first-time and seasoned drivers. No one likes to throw away money on a big investment. The key is to spend smarter and focus on what will extend the life of the car.
The great thing is there are several simple things every car owner can do to make car ownership more rewarding and enjoyable. These 10 tips will help any owner avoid some of the hassles that come with car ownership.
Opt for the Owner’s Manual
Too many people buy a car and never, ever take the owner’s manual out of the glove compartment. But this valuable resource comes with some very useful information. It always includes the manufacturer’s recommendation for basic care and home maintenance for the car. It can help less-experienced owners troubleshoot issues at home for far cheaper than at the mechanic.
The owner’s manual will provide vital information like the type of gas that is best for the car and the proper tire size. It’ll also have guidelines for the type of oil the car needs and how often to change it.
Get Repair Ready
Whether a person buys a brand-new or a used car, regular maintenance is the best way to stay ahead of budget-blowing repairs. Owners that maintain their cars see fewer and less expensive repairs over the life of the car on average.
Big repairs can still happen even with the best maintenance. Manufacturer warranties don’t last forever. Some owners prefer to buy an extended car warranty. It can be a great way to prepare for sudden expenses while staying within a monthly budget.
Good driving habits always pay off with fewer accidents and less wear and tear on the car. New drivers can often take advantage of safe driving certifications through their car insurance. Older drivers can check to see if there’s a defensive driving course they can take to refresh their skills. They may even get a discount on their car insurance for completing it.
In Case of Emergencies
Keeping a few emergency supplies in the car is safe and smart. Some common items that make up a good emergency kit include:
- First aid kit
- Jumper cables
- Spare tire and tire iron
There are many more items that people can include in their kit, and it’s also smart to adjust the kit for longer road trips or driving in remote areas.
Car Insurance Checkup
Car insurance needs to change over time. The kind of insurance a new car needs is different than what an older car needs. Other things that can affect car insurance are moving to a new location, adding a new driver to the policy, and having an accident come onto or drop off of the driving record.
Savvy drivers in search of car insurance call several companies so they can compare quotes. By being proactive and asking about discounts and driving programs, car owners can get the best car insurance for the best price.
A good rule of thumb is to do a regular check of all the lights and fluids of the car. Nobody likes getting pulled over for a missing brake light or turn signal. These can not only generate a fine but are also safety concerns that could potentially cause accidents. Regular checks of all the lights and brakes help owners address these easy to repair issues quickly.
Drivers should also check the fluids in the car often. Most owners can easily check the oil and coolant levels, as well as windshield-wiper fluid.
Windshield wipers often don’t get the attention they deserve. They may seem like a convenience item when the weather’s nice, but when the first good rainstorm happens, drivers realize how vital a working pair can be.
Scans and Codes
Even older cars use computers and chips, and if owners want to check out what’s wrong with their car, they often need a code scanner. A code scanner is inexpensive, and owners can use them to determine if the repair is something they can do on their own.
It can also help when scheduling an appointment with a mechanic because the mechanic has a better idea of what to expect when the owner brings the car in for repairs.
A Trustworthy Mechanic
A trustworthy mechanic is not an oxymoron. Many mechanics work very hard to get to the bottom of a car problem. Developing a good relationship with a mechanic helps ensure they can give the best car care. They can work with the owner to keep the car in the best condition possible.
Finding a good mechanic can sometimes be tough. Checking with friends and relatives and looking at online reviews is a good place to start. The Better Business Bureau is a great resource, and owners should also call and make sure the mechanic services their make and model of vehicle.
Beautiful Outside and In
Regular car washes help preserve the beautiful color of the car. So many things can damage the paint and lower the value of the car, such as pollen and bugs. People who live in colder climates and drive on roads salted by maintenance crews also need to clean their cars, as the salt can cause severe damage to the lower parts of the car.
It’s important to avoid harsh and abrasive cleaners that could scratch the car. Some owners prefer to put a protective wax coating that repels damaging elements. Keeping the inside of the car clean also affects the value of the car. A dirty, smelly car is no fun to drive and could make it much harder if the owner wants to resell it.
Taking the time to do simple maintenance and car care helps to minimize bigger issues down the road. While avoiding every single problem is impossible, going through these easy tips will take a lot of the stress and headache out of car ownership and let people focus on more important things.