Your car does so much for you. It takes you where you want need go. It provides you with a mobile junk drawer into which you can toss all of your various unneeded odds and ends. It gives you a place to snog your date if your flatmates aren’t the kind of people that you want to risk introducing to a prospective love-interest. And yet, despite all of these important roles that our automobiles fill in our lives, we tend to treat them as though they were nothing more than inanimate tools to be abused at our leisure. Of course, they are nothing more than inanimate tools to be abused at our leisure, but if we take the time to keep them clean and in good working order, they’ll repay us with years of gracious service. Here are a few things that you can do for your car today to help keep it on the road, even if you don’t consider yourself a grease monkey.
1. Fix it Yourself
There are any number of minor repairs that you can perform yourself without having to pay a mechanic a single dollar. Windshield wipers, batteries, headlamps, filters, and more can all be replaced on your own with minimum hassle. You can also fix minor scrapes and nicks with some inexpensive fingernail polish. In fact, there are any number of things that you can fix on your car with little to no experience—just do some research and see what can be done, and don’t attempt anything that looks like it might be beyond your abilities. You don’t want to be finishing up changing your brakes only to realize that you somehow have several unfamiliar pieces left over.
2. Respect It
We’re not talking about buying it flowers or saying please and thank you when you’re trying to coax it up a particularly steep hill; we just mean that you need to drive your car in such a way that will keep it in good condition. Accelerate slowly, and avoid stomping on the brakes. Warm the engine before you put it into gear. Shift to neutral at red lights. Keep your tyres properly inflated. Perhaps most importantly, always obey traffic laws and drive defensively, as a collision with another car (or a cement barrier) will hurt your vehicle more than a decade’s worth of using low-quality petrol.
3. Beware of the Weather
Sun, rain, wind, snow, frost… it can all have a detrimental effect on your automobile. Whenever possible, park your car in a garage or in a car port. Failing that, look for any natural or manmade overhangs that can help keep nature’s vile touch off of your vehicle. When driving in bad weather, travel slowly enough to allow your reflexes the time they need to deal with unexpected situations. You can also keep your doors and windows from freezing over in the winter by spraying them down with cooking spray (which will reduce the wear on not only your door handles, but also your hands as well).
4. Give it a Good, Thorough Cleaning
You don’t need to have a professional wash your vehicle to get it as clean as a whistle. Detailing your car is as easy as picking up a few cleaning supplies, a vacuum cleaner, and some household items. Clean the glass with vinegar or a specialized glass cleaner, and wipe it down with a newspaper to prevent streaking. Sprinkle baking soda all over the interior, wait for about a quart-hour, and then vacuum it up (this will help eliminate any strange odors inside the vehicle). Vacuum up any other dirt and grime, and shake out the floor mats outside. Use biodegradable soap and tyre cleaner on the outside. Use a soft sponge and try to keep the car wet the entire time. When you’re ready, dry the entire thing with a chamois.
5. Find a Good Insurance Company
Honestly, no matter how well you treat your vehicle, eventually something is going to go horribly wrong. Whether that means a collision, a break-down, or even a theft, the key to surviving these perils is having a good insurance company. So shop around, get some quotes, and make sure you’re putting the safety of your car into capable hands. After all, there’s only so much you can do by yourself.