Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Affordable Ways of Taking Care of your Car

Buying a car is a major investment for most individuals, being second only to the purchase cost of a house. So why do so many of us neglect our precious vehicles? It is tempting to put off a trip to the garage for repairs or servicing because money is tight in the present economic climate, but the fact is that not taking care of a car properly will end up costing you much more in the long run.

These days, not many working people can afford to trade their car in for a new one every year, so we have to keep them going for as long as possible whilst retaining some trade-in value. New cars and vans in the UK lose some of their value as soon as you drive them out of the dealer’s premises, so why accelerate the process needlessly by neglecting a valuable asset.

Prevention vs. cure

Of course, it sounds smug to say it, but one of the simplest ways to look after a car is to avoid damaging it. Most engine damage happens within the first few minutes of starting up, so always treat the vehicle gently. Also, don’t leave your precious vehicle anywhere that is risky if there is a safer alternative.

Supermarket car parks are notorious for minor vehicle damage – often the offender will just drive off without leaving details.  When parking in such car parks look for a space that is well away from the most popular spaces closest to the shop door.  Ensure that there is plenty of room around your car so that other shoppers can get into their vehicle without banging the door into your car’s side panel.

In addition, think about protecting your investment from the elements – why park somewhere where sea spray can ruin the paintwork, when a sheltered car park is nearby? Why leave it unprotected on the street when you can keep it indoors, only accessible to you and your garage door opener? High mileage is not attractive on any vehicle when it comes to resale, so it also pays to think twice about embarking on long car journeys that are not really essential. It might be more efficient all round to use public transport – it can often be cheaper if you book ahead.

Tyres and brakes

Constant fierce acceleration and heavy braking wears out your brake pads very quickly, so the smoother the drive, the less frequently they will need replacing. Tyres are often neglected, but they need looking after too. Inflating them to the correct pressure makes the tread last longer and helps cut down on punctures, it is also more fuel-efficient and makes the car more responsive. Many canny owners of cars rotate their tyres for more even wear.

Immaculate bodywork

Appearances really do matter when it comes to selling your car, as a beautiful exterior hints at a well-loved vehicle. Waxing the paintwork after cleaning it really does keep that brand new shine, and will protect it from deterioration. If you notice scratches and dents, don’t just ignore them (we’ve all done it!) because this can lead to worse, more expensive problems, such as rust setting in.

DIY maintenance

You can save money on car maintenance by regularly topping up the oil and replacing windscreen wiper blades, or headlamp bulbs yourself. Having a good knowledge of the maintenance manual gives you the confidence to manage these tasks and avoid lots of expensive trips to the garage. We all need to be more familiar with what’s under the bonnet and check regularly for signs of wear and tear.

Servicing and repairs

Cars are easier to sell and may be worth more when they come complete with a full service history. You know it makes sense to keep all records, stick to the recommended service routines and use reputable dealers and mechanics – it will help maintain the car’s value.

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