Buying a brand new car is a considerable investment, especially if you’ve been saving up for it for a long time, and you’re determined to acquire it only with your own hard-earned cash. The moment you take it out of the dealership is likely to be one of the most memorable milestones in your life. You’ll probably feel sentimental, happy, and proud all at the same time. It’s therefore only logical to want to keep your vehicle running and looking like brand new for as long as possible. In this short guide, we’ll fill you in on some of the measures you can take to make this possible for your beloved ride.
Read and follow the manual
Just like your home appliances and household gadgets, your car comes with an owner’s manual. This document will show you what to do and when to do it in order to keep your car in good working order.
When it comes to the maintenance of your car, there are a few things that you can DIY, even with minimal automotive experience. However, for the best results, it’s ideal to have a qualified mechanic perform all the needed procedures for the proper upkeep of your vehicle. As such, make sure to find a trusted service provider who can handle the regular maintenance of your car. A service centre with extensive experience in handling your car’s brand is likely to provide you with better value. If you own a Toyota, then go to a shop with a proven Toyota service record. This way, you can rest assured that the mechanics know your vehicle inside and out.
Don’t ignore the light
It can be worrying to see the check engine light of your car turn on. This is especially true if you have limited knowledge and experience in dealing with car troubles. It’s frustrating when you know something’s wrong but you don’t know exactly where the trouble is and therefore can’t do anything about it. For a bit of first aid, inspect everything that you can check on your own. For example, an improperly screwed-on gas cap can mess with the pressure inside the tank and make your car’s onboard system interpret it as an emissions leak. This is one of the things that can trigger the check engine light.
If you’ve already done all you can on your own and the light still persists, take your car to a service centre as soon as possible. It doesn’t matter if the light is yellow (less urgent) or red (requires immediate attention). Get your car checked by professionals to have them diagnose and fix the problem before it gets worse.
Make sure to maintain the right pressure—tyre pressure, that is. Under-inflated tyres can cause premature wear and tear on your tyres and wheels, not to mention result in less-than-ideal mileage. Apart from sagging, another indicator of under-inflated tyres is poor handling. Meanwhile, over-inflation can result in poor traction, or it can even cause your tyres to burst. In general, handling will also feel “harsher” with over-inflated tyres. It’s best to keep a tyre gauge in your glove box so you can periodically check if your tyres are at the right PSI.
Keep it covered
As much as possible, park your car under a roof, or use a car cover to protect the paint from the elements. Primarily, you want to prevent overexposure to the sun as it can cause the paint to fade. Other elements you want to protect your car from include bird droppings that can corrode the paint, small falling branches from trees, hailstones, and even rain, which may carry impurities. If your car does get rained on, make sure to wash it ASAP to get rid of the pollutants that the rainwater could have showered on your car’s surface.
Ideally, you should give your car’s exterior a good washing once a week. You’ll notice that your car is easier to clean this way since the dirt and grime haven’t had the time to dry and settle in. However, make sure to find any deposits like crusted mud, and gently remove them before you commence with soaping and scrubbing. Use a mild detergent and a soft cloth for washing, and make sure to rinse thoroughly to remove all traces of soap. Most importantly, you should dry your car completely after each washing. A good quality chamois or microfiber cloth is the perfect tool for this task, since these are more absorbent, and they are not abrasive. Note that drying your car completely will prevent the appearance of water spots caused by the minerals in the water. These minerals, when they accumulate, can cause damage to your car’s paint later on.
Wax and polish
Some people think that waxing and polishing are the same things, but they actually serve different purposes. Waxing makes your car shine, and it is ideally done after every washing. Polishing, on the other hand, doesn’t make your car shine. Instead, it removes minor scratches on your car’s paint and restores its smoothness. Polishing should be done at least twice a year, or more often depending on how much superficial damage your car’s paint job has suffered. A quick note: waxing is easier to DIY compared to polishing. You may want to bring your car to a service centre if you’re looking to have the latter done.
With these simple steps, you’re sure to maintain your car’s showroom quality for years to come.