We all want our beloved car to last as long as possible on the road. After all, some of us invested a small fortune in it and expect it to run well and look good whenever we take it for a drive. But, this is not always possible since your vehicle starts to depreciate the moment you drive it from the showroom floor. While mileage has something to do with it, daily driving habits and its general condition also diminish the value, appearance and performance of your car over time. Fortunately, there are many solutions for taking care of your precious set of wheels and have it age gracefully with each kilometer. So, let’s take a look at some of the things you can do habitually to look after your car.
Regular service and maintenance
Manufacturers often suggest that vehicle owners stick to a regular maintenance schedule to ensure optimal performance, safety, efficiency and reliability when driving. Consult the owner’s manual to familiarise yourself with the servicing intervals as well as other information such as the recommended tire pressure and what type of fluids work best with your car.
Replace your oil
Your engine will eventually consume all its oil over time, therefore it needs to be replaced at frequent intervals. Changing your oil at regular intervals helps keep your engine cool, clean, and lubricated which can slow down premature wear.
Go easy on the pedals
Pulling away too fast, or slamming on the brakes can be damaging to your car’s suspension. Stepping on the pedal too aggressively on a regular basis will contribute to a shorter lifespan of your suspension system and lead to early maintenance and replacement.
Rotate the wheels
Each tyre needs to be detached and refitted at a different position at regular periods specified by the owner’s manual. This helps to reduce uneven wear and tear on the tread, thus prolonging the life of the tyres. It is usually recommended that you switch tyres diagonally - front right to rear left and front left to rear right.
Steer clear of potholes
Driving around potholes or slowing down if they cover the entire road could help you avoid a great deal of problems in the future. The bump can cause damage to tyre, rims, suspension, and exhaust pipe, leading to costly repairs.
A build-up of mud, dirt, or dust on your exterior can be damaging over time so it’s best to have your car washed regularly. Polishing your car not only helps remove grime and salt to keep the exterior shiny and clean but also protects the paint job against the formation of rust.
When parking in public spaces, try to go for an undercover lot where exposure to environmental damage is minimal. The same applies when parking at home. Always try to keep your vehicle in your own garage to prevent body paint fading and chipping off due to sun exposure as well as other potential body damage because of hail or falling tree branches. It’s worth noting that parking on the street can also affect your Car Insurance, as insurance companies consider where you park your car when assessing risk.
Avoid heavy loads
Transporting heavy loads may eventually take a toll on your vehicle. The more you cram into your car, the more fuel you’ll use. Exceeding your car’s weight capacity can put extra pressure on suspension, braking and exhaust systems, which can leave you with a hefty bill from the repair shop.
Combine short trips
Consider running all errands in a single driving session. With frequent short journeys in a single day, your car will not have a chance to reach its full operating temperature. This is because the oil doesn't lubricate the engine properly until it's warm, which puts more stress on its components.
Hands off the gear stick
Resting your hands on the gear stick is a habit which can be bad for the transmission. The gear stick is connected to a control rod located inside the gearbox that has selector forks. The purpose of this selector fork is to connect to a rotating collar in a short amount of time. If you rest your hand on the gearstick, you’re applying stress to the selector fork, risking premature wear.
Just by adopting these simple habits, you can maintain the quality of your car and preserve its appearance and performance for as long as possible. If the manufacturer’s Motor Warranty has expired, it’s even more crucial to keep on top of the basics so you don’t end up with costly repairs.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as mechanical advice.