Buying and owning a vehicle is a significant financial investment. To keep your car in the best condition for as long as possible, it is a good idea to make a habit of getting regular safety checks, referring to the owner’s manual, developing a relationship with a trusted auto repair shop, pay attention to your tires and watch for warning signs your car may be giving you.
1. Regular Safety Checks: Get in the habit of checking a few key items yourself and ask a trustworthy mechanic for an inspection to assist with more advanced systems. Inspect the condition of your wiper blades, lights (including turn signals), brakes, horn, fluids, and tires. By checking your vehicle regularly, you protect yourself and others on the road and are likely to be more in tune with your vehicle’s overall condition and performance.
2. Refer to the Owner’s Manual: The Owner’s Manual will alert you to regular maintenance that you might be forgetting. It is a good idea to have a clear understanding of the different lights, signals and systems in your vehicle. Talk to a reputable auto shop about the proper fluids and oils for your specific car. Finally, keep records of your car repairs and maintenance services with your Owner’s Manual so you can refer back to the work you’ve had done and any warranties that may apply.
3. Find a Trustworthy Auto Shop: Program the name, location and phone number of your auto care provider into your cell phone for quick questions and emergency situations. A good shop will get to know your specific driving style, habits and needs and will strive to be your trusted automotive advisor. They will also help you make decisions regarding your vehicle and may even be able to help you find solutions to emergencies when you’re out of town or unavailable.
4. Pay Attention to Your Tires: Tires are one of the most important safety features on your car. After all, they are what make you go and stop safely. The condition of your tires affects your fuel economy, braking and suspension system. Make sure your tires are rotated, balanced and aligned when necessary, properly inflated and have good tread condition at all times.
5. Watch for Warning Signs: It’s easy to get comfortable in your vehicle and miss subtle clues your car may be giving you. Pay attention to any changes you notice while driving. It might be a slight vibration, noise or smell. If you notice something is different, have the vehicle inspected. Taking care of a small problem is always preferable and less costly than waiting until it becomes a big problem. Most importantly, do not ignore dashboard lights and signals. A trustworthy shop will listen to your concerns and advise you what you truly need.
Today’s vehicles are so advanced it takes very little to keep them going strong. Get in the habit of following the recommendations above and you will preserve the condition of your vehicle for years to come.