If you're a car owner, you know you need to take the best possible care of the vehicle. That way, it's not so likely to break down when you need it most, and you can get lots of use out of it before you eventually trade it in or sell it.
There are definitely all kinds of ways to take better care of your car, not just so it has a longer usable life, but also so you will be safer for as long as you drive it. Let's discuss ways you can protect your car so that it can do the same for you.
You Can Wash It Regularly
There are a lot of driver behaviors you know you're supposed to avoid. For instance, 98% of drivers know about distracted driving dangers, yet many still talk on their smartphones or text while driving.
You should know better than to do things like that, but there are some other vehicle owner behaviors that you might not even realize are hurting your car. For instance, maybe you hardly ever wash the vehicle, or you never do. You might leave it out in the driveway and wait for it to rain if it ever looks dirty.
The problem if you never wash your car, not just with rainfall but with some actual soap and hot water, is that gunk can accumulate on it, especially on the undercarriage. You may not necessarily be able to see all of it unless you get down and look under the car, but it is there, nonetheless.
If you live in an area where it snows a lot in the winter, you have more incentive than most to wash the vehicle. If you don't, salt accumulates under the car, and in time, that will cause it to rust.
You should certainly wash your car at least once per month, if not more often than that. Usually, if you get a car wash frequent user card, you can save money if you take it there once every couple of weeks.
Don't Let the Gas Drop Below a Quarter of a Tank
Assuming you still have a gas-powered car, or if you have a hybrid, then you should try to keep that tank full as much as possible. That way, you'll never run out of gas if you're out on the highway in unfamiliar territory one day.
There are other reasons why you want to keep your tank full. For instance, some drivers don't know that you should never let your gas tank drop below a quarter of the way full if you can possibly avoid it.
That's because your gas cools your electric fuel-pump motor. If you let the gas drop below a quarter of a tank, that pump sucks in air.
This creates heat, and that causes the fuel pump to wear out faster than it usually would. It can fail, and that is a costly repair you'll want to avoid.
Replace the Windshield Wipers Periodically
You might also get the car and have a mechanic inspect it. As long as they don't find anything critical and the vehicle passes inspection, you might feel like there's nothing wrong with it on which you should keep your eye.
You don't need to be paranoid about your car's condition all the time, but you should still watch for certain things even if the mechanic allowed it to get a new inspection sticker. For example, you should watch the windshield wipers to make sure they're still doing a suitable job for you.
Some drivers don't know this, but the average windshield wipers start to fail within 2-3 years with regular use. If you reside somewhere like the Pacific Northwest, where there's lots of rain, you might need to get new wipers before that, like every twelve months or so.
You can tell that your wipers are on the way out if they only streak the moisture that's on your windshield rather than wiping it entirely away. If you see that the wiper is bouncing along the glass rather than gliding smoothly, get those replaced before any more time passes.
Fill the Tires Once Per Month
You should also keep your tire level full to the appropriate PSI, or pounds per square inch. If you let the air drop too low, a flat tire is more likely. Also, you'll get better gas mileage over time if your tires have the right amount of air in them.
You can always stop at a nearby gas station and fill up your tires once per month, if not more than that. Some individuals who drive a lot for work like to fill up their tires every couple of weeks.
You can keep some quarters in the glove compartment since most of the tire filling stations take change. You might use your credit card to pay at some of them now, which is convenient.
Remember that not every vehicle's tires will require the same PSI. You can look in the vehicle's manual to see what PSI your car's tires should be, but you can also find that online if you got a used car and it did not come with the original owner's manual.
A third option to figure out the right PSI is to look at the sticker on the inner driver's side door. Almost every car has a sticker that tells you what PSI the tires should be for optimal performance.
There are many more ways to keep a car performing properly, like checking the fluid levels regularly. You can also park it in the shade whenever you can. That will keep the engine from overheating on hot summer days, and the paint job will also not fade if you can park it in the shade more times than not.
Your car takes care of you, and as a responsible vehicle owner, you should afford it the same courtesy.