We outline how to maintain a car so you extend its life and protect its value, with 6 crucial tactics to ensure it stays in the best possible shape.
People love their cars – often they will spend more time considering the purchase of a car than they did thinking about buying a house! Therefore, it’s not surprising that they like to ensure they are washing, caring and maintaining their car properly.
This is also quite welcome… After all, a car is an object with high value. In order to maintain this value in the long term and to ensure that the appearance of the vehicle is always good, comprehensive care is indispensable. This also helps maintain the car’s resale value when you want to sell it.
High-quality polishes for cars, for example, ensure that the paint of the vehicle shines again in new splendor. The correct handling of small parts and regular servicing of the vehicle are, of course, also essential in addition to proper care.
How to maintain a car so it lasts longer
Fortunately, there are numerous valuable tips and strategies that will keep the vehicle looking great for many years to come. The following article shows what these are.
Appreciate the car
It may sound a bit exaggerated as a strategy for how to maintain a car, but this is an extremely important point: You have to like your car – otherwise the risk that it will be given away again after a short time is quite high.
It is also advisable to maintain a good relationship with the workshop you trust and the dealer. After all, these institutions represent important companions for the vehicle and its owner. The mechanic and the dealer are well aware of the car’s weaknesses and strengths, which in case of doubt can save a lot of money and also time.
Regular oil change
Both the car’s oil filter and engine oil should be changed either annually or after every 9,000 miles (15,000 kilometers) – whichever comes first. In addition, however, the manufacturer’s individual specifications should also be taken into account.
Combustion residues and particles are absorbed by the engine oil, which also lubricates the engine so that it is cleaned. The manufacturer’s specifications also indicate which viscosity and grade of engine oil should be selected. In principle, it is advisable to use only high-quality engine oils from renowned brands. This ensures that the vehicle benefits from the high and consistent quality of the engine oil. It is also a good idea to check the transmission fluid and change it when needed.
Original spare parts
If the situation ever arises that spare parts are needed for the vehicle, original spare parts from the manufacturer should always be chosen as a key tip for how to maintain a car.
These are designed to meet the specific requirements of the vehicle and have a guaranteed quality. This cannot always be guaranteed with other spare parts, which are often not manufactured under the proper guidelines.
Regular washing is also a must in how to maintain a car. At the same time as washing, it is possible to check whether there are any dents, scratches or other damage to the vehicle.
When it comes to the washing itself, it is important to proceed correctly. Ideally, for example, the pre-wash is carried out with a high-pressure cleaner and hidden areas, such as those found in the area of the fender, are also thoroughly rinsed out. If brushes are used to clean the vehicle, they should always be as soft as possible to avoid scratching the paintwork.
Special cleaners, a cloth and a brush can also be used to remove dirt and grime from the rims. Incidentally, never use a high-pressure cleaner to wash the engine, as the sensitive parts of the electronics could be damaged by the wetness.
Waxing twice a year
The paint is exposed to numerous stresses in everyday use, whether road salt in winter, bird droppings, insect remains or sunlight. It is important in how to maintain a car that the vehicle paint should therefore be waxed twice a year after a thorough wash. This creates an ideal rust protection.
The paint protection is basically good if water rolls off it in the form of round drops. Incidentally, spot paint is ideal for touching up minor paint damage on your own.
Care when the car is unused for a longer time
If the car is to be parked and unused for a longer period of time, ACE technology expert Philip Hunter advises that it be specially prepared. Thoroughly washing, waxing, and polishing the car beforehand to protect the paint are advised.
Advisable in how to maintain a car that will be parked for some time: remove leaves from the rain drains in the doors, fenders and tailgate. In this way, the rainwater can flow off without any problems.
A dry interior is also important. “Damp to wet floor mats should be dried outside the vehicle beforehand,” advises Hunter. Otherwise it can mold quickly in the interior. A granulate-based dehumidifier helps to keep the interior dry during the idle period despite the lack of air circulation.
If the car can just park, first gear or P is usually sufficient to prevent it from rolling away. “The handbrake should be avoided if possible,” says Hunter. They could rust or freeze in the right weather. Not ideal: Parking spaces directly under trees or on busy streets. In winter, grit and salt can also damage the car. If there is black ice, other cars could slip into your own vehicle.
If you want to protect the car with a tarpaulin against dirt, resin, leaves, bird droppings and dirt, you have to make sure that the badge and license plate remain visible. Even if you drape the tarpaulin accordingly, it can of course still slip and then cover the badge and license plate. The tarpaulins are available for as little as $20 in car accessory stores or hardware stores. Breathable and higher quality covers cost around $100. Folding car garages or marquees require more space and are therefore more suitable for your own property. They also cost around $300.
The experts also advise folding in the side mirrors, charging the battery and slightly increasing the air pressure in the tires before long periods of parking. The tank shouldn’t be completely empty, but it shouldn’t be full to the brim either. It is best for owners to protect their cars in a public parking lot only if it is in a monitored parking area.
Thieves also often are deterred by well-lit and central locations. All valuables should be removed from the vehicle. The cover of expensive car radios can often be removed. It can be stored in the lockable glove compartment or safely at home. And don’t forget at the end: Engage the steering wheel lock, mount an additional steering wheel claw and activate the immobilizer or alarm system when you lock the car.