How long would you like your car to last? From a financial perspective, you need to make your car last as long as possible.
Cars are more expensive than ever, approaching an average of $40,000 for a new car. It’s commonplace for car loans to last seven or eight years now.
Without the basic knowledge of car maintenance tips, your car can quickly lose value. It loses a lot of value in good condition, you want to prevent your car from negative equity.
That’s what happens when you owe more than the value of the car. You don’t have many options.
The bottom line is that you need to keep your car running smoothly for a long time to realize financial gains.
Read on to learn the best car maintenance tips
1. Have a Car Maintenance Budget
Your car can have negative financial consequences and you might not realize it until it’s too late.
One of the areas where people get caught off-guard is in having a car maintenance budget. Most Americans can’t afford to pay for an emergency repair.
You should set aside money each month for emergency repairs and for regular maintenance. You don’t need to set too much aside for a new car because a new car is unlikely to break down suddenly.
2. Keep a Car Maintenance Checklist
Car manufacturers and auto repair professionals recommend that you get your car serviced every 3,000 miles. This includes changing the oil, air filters, and rotating the tires.
There are also major maintenance tasks that happen at various mileage points. At 30,000 miles, you should replace the steering fluid.
At 60,000 miles, you’ll replace the timing belt, which is a necessary and major job. You’ll also replace the spark plugs.
You want to keep a calendar, journal, and checklist of your car maintenance. This helps you track what’s coming up and what work has already been performed.
This helps you maintain the car over the long haul and sell the car at a higher value. It also prevents work from being done twice.
For example, a mechanic could recommend something that’s already been done. Without those records, you might forget and pay for unnecessary work.
3. Be Familiar With Fluid Colors
Cars are full of fluids to help the engine operate efficiently. A leak or depletion of fluids could cause the engine to wear down.
Parts in the engine are likely to overheat. These parts can warp under intense heat and pressure and cause major engine issues.
If you spot any fluids under your car or check fluids regularly, you should know what the colors mean.
Clear liquid is likely to be condensation from your car’s air conditioner. This is just fine and nothing to worry about.
Pink, red, or brown fluid is transmission fluid. This needs to be addressed right away. Red or brown could be from the power steering.
Yellow or brown fluid is from the braking system. Brown to black fluid is likely to be engine oil.
Learning these colors and the location of the different systems will help you identify and address leaks quickly.
4. Perform In-Between Inspections
You want to make sure that you catch issues before the Check Engine light comes on. There are a few ways to manage this.
The first is to check your car on a weekly basis. Look around your car for fluids in certain areas. Look at your tires for wear and pressure.
Every 9,000 miles, get the car inspected by a professional mechanic. They’ll tell you if there are unseen issues that you have to address.
5. Check Your Driving Habits
Your driving habits impact the longevity of your car. Frequent hard starts and stops can stress and wear down the engine.
Another issue is if you like to see how close you can get to running on fumes. Keep your car’s tank at least a quarter to half full. The fuel pump will draw in air instead of fuel, which can ruin the fuel pump due to overheating.
6. Don’t Overlook Car Paint Care
It’s important to protect the car paint job. Anything from excessive heat to hail can chip and damage your car.
It can make your car look like junk over time.
A car cover protects your car from the elements, but you might not want to cover and uncover your car every day.
Paint film provides a layer over the paint to protect it from road and weather elements.
7. Detail Your Car
Your car’s interior should be part of your maintenance plan. A clean interior helps you maintain the value of the car. It creates a great first impression, too.
Here are a few new car maintenance tips for the interior. The first is to clean up stains right away. If they sit for a long time, they’ll be there permanently.
Vacuum the car at least once a month and wipe down all of the interior surfaces. You can use car polish to get that brand new shine.
Detail the exterior of the car to get rid of the dust and debris that can wear down your car over time.
These little things can make a huge difference in the life and value of your vehicle.
Car Maintenance Tips to Make Your Car Last
A car was never seen as a financial investment. It’s always been a tool to get you from Point A to Point B. Cars cost more, which means you have to make them last.
These car maintenance tips show you how to take care of everything from the paint job to the interior. Put these tips into practice and you’ll have a car that lasts well beyond your auto loan.
If you enjoyed learning about car maintenance, you’ll love the other articles on this site. Check out the other articles for more car maintenance tips.