Basic Tips for Maintaining Your First Car

A man cleaning car with cloth, car detailing

Your first car is one of those memorable experiences. It gives you the freedom to go wherever you want to go. Just like anything else you own, a car requires maintenance and care. Taking care of your car does not require much, but it needs maintenance on a regular basis. If you take care of your car, it will take care of you.

Read the Manual

Every car has a manual. If your used car does not have one, then you can look up your car’s manual on the internet. It is a good idea to read it and become familiar with any scheduled maintenance recommended for your vehicle. The driver’s manual has information about your car’s features and parts. The manual also recommends tips for types of oil for your car and what the air pressure should be for your tires. Knowing these things beforehand can prolong the life of your car and keep it running.

Inspect Your Car

Frequent car inspections are very easy for you to do yourself. Check your fluid levels (e.g., oil and radiator coolant) to make sure that they are full and clear. Keep your radiator coolant or antifreeze at the acceptable range to keep your car from overheating. You can do other small inspections, such as checking your windshield wipers, headlights, and tires to make sure they are in good condition. A monthly tire check for nails, cracks, and air pressure can keep them rolling safely. Become familiar with the normal sound of your engine. So if you hear something different you know to get it checked.

Keep a Regular Maintenance Routine

In your manual, there are service recommendations from your car’s manufacturer to maintain the condition of your vehicle. After a certain number of miles, the manufacturer recommends service maintenance. During a maintenance check-up, ask your mechanic to check the air filter, brakes, belts, spark plugs, and fluids for their condition.

There are other things you can do in-between maintenance checks by your mechanic. For example, change your car’s air filter every six months. It is easy to do this yourself. You can also buy one at your local auto parts store. Some auto stores will change your air filter for free. Keep your battery cable connections clean and tight so electricity can flow properly. The oil is the life of the car, so keep it changed regularly. Just remember, if your car is older than 2002, change the oil every 3,000 miles. If it is newer, change it every 5,000 miles.

Keep an Emergency Kit

No matter how well we maintain our vehicle, something can still go wrong. Keep an emergency kit in your vehicle so you can be prepared.
Here are some basic things you can include in your kit: Inflated spare tire and jack; flares or reflectors; flashlight; jumper cables; first-aid kit; empty fuel container; rain poncho; cloth gloves; and more. If you live in are with a climate of snow, keep a small shovel, a water-resistant blanket, and an ice scraper or brush in your car.

If you are equipped and keep up the maintenance of your car, you can stay safe while enjoying your vehicle for a long time.

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