Know your car!
This is perhaps one of the best bits of advice I can give you, and it is free. We are all excited to get a new car we just can’t wait to get into it roll the windows down turn the radio on and go for a joy ride. Don’t resist go for your ride, however don’t make this a habit the first week have your enjoyment then turn the radio off for a few days of driving it. This will allow you to get to know your car. Listen to it, smell its smell, and notice the way it drives. If you know your car like you know your best friend you will be able to catch any issue coming quickly. Note how it reacts when you turn the key on and off, note how it gets up and goes, watch the fuel consumption. Even go the extra mile and clock your miles per gallon. Most of the time your car will warn you if you have upcoming problems in one why or another, you may smell something out of the norm, or your may notice a shimmy as you drive or you may even notice a hesitation in the car starting when you turn the key. You may also notice more fuel consumption if you start to notice your car doing something out of the norm call your mechanic for service.
Don’t neglect oil changes!
As sad as it is the average family only gives their automobile an oil change about every 10,000 miles. This is a crazy statistic in today world since we pay as much as $40,000 for a nice family car an oil change once every 3,000 miles is a small price to pay to keep your car running strong. We know that part of the problem is the inspection that comes with the oil change many times finds that there are other small issues with the care. However you still have the option to get the oil change and call another mechanic for a second opinion or a better price on the repair. Why would you skip this knowing if there is something creeping up on you in need of repairs is essential to keep running.
Watch your fluids!
If you don’t know where your fluids are and how they should look then ask someone most people can teach you how to check your fluids, and what to look for. Contrary to popular belief fluids do not evaporate out of your automobiles if you have a fluid that is low there is likely a leak someplace. If you notice a discolor of your fluids then this is also a sign of a problem and you should call your mechanic right away. Your fluids are essential to proper function of your automobile.
Check your tires often!
The tires on your car can tell you a lot as far as the front end is concerned. Watch your tires and how they wear. They should be wearing evenly if it appears that they are wearing unevenly it is probably time you call your mechanic. Tires that are wearing unevenly can be a sign of a front end issue and neglecting to fix this can result in needing new tires as well as the repair that started the issue.
What type of engine do you have?
Many people do not realize that we still have a few makes and models that have what we refer to as interference engines. This tends to be something I check before I buy a car. The reason for this is a simple oversight can cause complete destruction of your engine. Interference engines demand timing belt replacements every 60,000 – 75,000 miles. When these timing belts break then the pistons can collide with the valves causing complete internal destruction. When it gets to this point we often recommend an engine replacement or rebuild that can run up as much as $5000 or more. If you purchase your automobile used and it has a interference engine don’t take the word of the seller that the timing belt is fine have it checked and replaced if necessary. Also if your water pump is run by the timing belt don’t get skimpy on having that replaced as well it is a small price to pay since the water pump is a wearable part and if it goes bad it can also cause your timing to slip even with a good belt.
Don’t forget about the body!
This day and age having a car to drive is a blessing so how it looks is not always our top priority. However if you live in some of the northern states in the winter where salt is used to keep the roads clean keeping the exterior of your car as clean as possible can actually make it last longer. Over time this salt eats away at the metal of your automobile causing serious rust. Many time rust is the reason for many auto repair needs. Taking your car through a car wash with a good under car spray every chance you get is always a good idea. It will wash away many of these dangerous corrosive products.
Not just oil changes don’t forget the other fluids!
Did you know one of the number one killers on many of the major components of your automobile is heat. Components in your vehicle can overheat do to lack of fluid or circulation. Take your car to the shop for fluid flushes at least once a year. Flushing your coolant system and your transmission fluid, can give your mechanic a good look at the fluids as well as assure that everything is circulating properly without any leaks. Don’t mistake a dump and change fluid to be the same thing as a flush make sure you are getting a flush done once a year.
Check your lights!
I know this may seem silly as far as keeping your car running for a long time, after all it will cost just a few bucks to put in a light should one blow out. However this is a high danger in causing an accident. I was driving my Dodge Caravan when my blinkers stopped working. I got home with my car however I think I probably got obscene gestures from at least three people. You are not only in the danger of causing an accident but in this case I feared road rage becoming a problem. If your lights do go out while driving use your hand singles and fix it before you drive it again.
Pay attention when your car talks!
Your automobile is equipped with my different ways to talk to you. You just have to listen to it. Watch your gauges, and lights on the dash. If there is no explanation to why a light has turned on you should contact your mechanic. Many times we have seen customers neglect these lights because they took it to a part store for a reading and they told them they needed spark plugs. Many people think this is no big deal and move on thinking they will buy it next payday or something. The problem is these lights are only diagnostic tools they do not give you the exact problem. We have seen the engine light be something as simple as spark plugs to something as major as head gaskets. Using a part store to self diagnose is not the solution with today’s cars many times they are wrong. These lights only tell the mechanic where to start their investigations. Also watch your gauges they should run pretty consistent all the time once you are up to operating temperature. A gauge that is not reading the same today as yesterday could be early signs of a problem.
Love your car!
If your house needed a roof would your put it on? If you child was to become sick would you medicate him as prescribed? There are few times in our life when we are most proud of our accomplishments. Such as when we have kids, buy our first home, and buy a car. We roof our house when it needs it, we medicate our kids when they need it, but the average family does not give their car the vitamin it needs when it needs it faithfully (oil). If you love your car the same way you love the other successes in your life it will take care of your transportation needs for a long time to come.
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