News Column

Car Care Tips

June 23, 2014

Yusufu Mubiru

A car is an important personal investment, but owning one, whether it is a new car or a used car, takes a lot of hard work. It has to be well taken care of to ensure its reliability and prevent breakdowns. Used cars especially need extra attention as they are more difficult and more expensive to maintain than new cars. You can save a trunk-load of money by keeping your car, rather than replacing it on a whim. Usually car care requires a determined mindset.

Almost any car will last for decades if you take care of it, but some cars are more prone to trouble than others. Japanese cars are legendary for their reliability, but don't dismiss American cars, which have improved somewhat these last few years and are usually cheapest to repair. European cars can be troublesome as they age and tend to be the most expensive to fix. If you are going for a European car, consider buying a gently-used car with 20,000 or 30,000 miles so that you save money on depreciation.

Follow the maintenance schedule in your car's owner's manual properly. Do exactly what it says to do, exactly when it says to do it, and resist the urge to do more. Be aware that some cars may need expensive car care at higher mileages. Many car owners manual today recommend increasing the interval between oil changes. But frequent oil change is still necessary especially if you are maintaining a used car.

Do not accelerate your engine during start-up as this quickly adds to the wear of the car's engine. Accelerate slowly when you begin your drive. Shift to neutral at red lights to give the engine some time to rest. Be car considerate and you will be rewarded with longer time between repairs.

Wash your engine at least every four months. A clean engine runs cooler than a dirty one. A clean engine also enables you to easily spot leaks and service its components. You may have your engine professionally steam cleaned or you may opt to do it yourself.

Dealerships have the proper tools and training, but they are expensive and some are downright shady or shoddy. As your car nears the end of its warranty, start looking for a good mechanic. Ask friends and family for recommendations. When you find a mechanic, tell her (or him) that you plan to keep your car forever and that you are looking for a long-term business relationship. Hopefully, this will make them realise that asking you to make unnecessarily repairs will drive you away. There are also professional car-care service centres that can check your car at regular intervals. It will also help to have your car regularly inspected by a trusted mechanic.

If there is anything that makes your car look newer than it is, it's the body. The body represents the outer look of your car and if you keep it shiny and protect it from corrosion, it will always give a new look. Here is how you can take good care of your car's body:-

Your car's paint not only keeps the car looking good, it also protects the metal underneath.

Wash your car regularly and wax it to remove any bugs and dirt that can mount up and easily wear away the paint on your car. Waxing your car also keeps it shiny and glossy.

Remove any deep scratches, stone chips or paint marks left by other objects before the rust starts to mount on to the body of your car.

The maintenance of the interior your car is as important as its exterior. A nice and clean interior gives your car a great look and also affects your health. You can maintain the interior of your car by: Cleaning its seats, doors and carpets, Cleaning and polishing the dash board of your car regularly.

Always be on the lookout for strange noises, unusual smells, vibrations, or anything that just does not feel right. Don't let a mechanic or dealers tell you "that's normal".

Most cars can and will run for decades, but there are certain circumstances when it's time to let go. If your car is involved in a severe accident that bends the frame or body structure, it might be difficult to repair the car to like-new condition

No matter how careful you are, accidents or damages are inevitable. In this case, you need to have a car insurer you can trust. Choose a car insurer who replaces damaged parts only with original parts from the manufacturer and who can give you guarantees on repairs.

For more stories on investments and markets, please see HispanicBusiness' Finance Channel

Source: AllAfrica

Story Tools Facebook Linkedin Twitter RSS Feed Email Alerts & Newsletters