Be Smart When Caring for Your Car

Be Smart When Dealing with Car CareLast summer, I bought a new car.

I had been driving a hand-me-down truck from my father. From the day I got the keys, the truck had been falling apart. Where do I begin? The windshield wipers didn’t work. The passenger window never went down. If the driver’s side window went down, well, good luck getting it back up. Oh, and the brakes didn’t work all that well. It got to the point where my friends and I used to joke abut playing Russian roulette while driving. Will the brakes work, or won’t they?

Needless to say, it was time for a new car. I had never purchased a new car. I had always driven used rides or hand-me-downs from my folks. But this time, I wanted something brand-new. I had read all of the ups and downs of getting a brand-new vehicle, but I wanted to buy a car that no one else had owned. I wanted to be the one to get the first oil change, and to pump the first gallon of gas. I wanted a car that was all mine from the start.

I started by looking at the variety of options. I checked out the new Honda Civic, a new Scion XB, and a Chevrolet Cobalt. But nothing seemed to fit until, one day,  on my way home from the Scion dealership, I swung by Smart dealership. I knew these would be out of my price range, but I decided to at least take a look. I ended up talking to the guy that would eventually sell me my first brand-new car. Before the month was out, I ended up walking away with keys to a brand-new 2009 Smart.

With my new car purchase, I knew that I would have a new set of responsibilities. I would have to make sure she never ran out of gas. I would have to keep her clean and make sure she always had an oil change on schedule. I would have to make sure her tires were rotated, and that nothing mechanical went wrong. Basically, I was taking care of a new family member.

Her name is Zipper. I have had the car for a little over a year, and I have never been so happy. It was a great investment and my monthly payments are low. But if you are in the market for a new car, recently purchased a new ride, or may buy a new car in the near future, I wanted to share with you some tips on how to take care of your new purchase. Follow these tips, and you will have more reliable transportation in the driveway.

Stick to the Routine Maintenance

Your car goes through a lot. Considering the weather it sits through day in and day out, and the miles you demand of it during the weekends. Your car gets tired. Of course, newer cars take wear lot better than older models, but you still have to take care of them. My car has a scheduled yearly maintenance. Actually, my car has a timer that tells me how many days it was since my last service call and the number of days before my next one is requested. I just had a yearly routine maintenance call on my car. They changed the oil, filled and refreshed all the fluids, washed the car inside and out, and managed to make the ride look brand-new in only a few hours.

Even if you buy a used car, make sure you take care of it. Of course the dealerships will charge you more, but their service and products will be top notch. Take the plunge once or twice a year. Take your car in for a checkup. It will save you tons of money in the long run.

Keep the Beast Well Oiled

Oil is the lifeblood of an automobile. Your car, assuming it is a typical vehicle, needs the oil changed every three or four thousand miles. You can get this done just about anywhere, and can usually find discounts to get your total under twenty bucks. Heck, Wal-Mart even has a place for you to get your oil changed while you shop.

My car, being a Mercedes, only needs the oil changed once a year or every ten thousand miles. Based on various discussions with Smart car owners and representatives at the dealership, I could drive this car twelve to fifteen thousand before getting the oil changed and be just fine. I have had my car over a year and have only put a little over seven thousand miles on it. But she was due not too long ago, so I took her in. Change the oil in your car on a regular basis, and your car will last forever.

Getting a Good Charge

Your car’s battery is so important in getting from point A to point B. Your battery helps the car start, and keeps it running at a stoplight or in the drive-thru. But your battery can easily become corroded, and eventually stop working all together. Make sure that not only are the positive and negative ends of your battery clean and free of corrosion, but that your battery is replaced every so often.

On the Smart car for instance, the battery is below the engine in the back, so if my battery went dead, I would have to take her in for service. With most cars, all you have to do I pop the hood and you can see the battery on the left or the right hand side. And you can buy a new battery almost anywhere. Make sure that if you install the battery you know what you are doing. You don’t want to risk messing up that process.

Check Your Tread

Man first created fire. And not too long after that, he created the wheel. Your car has at least four of these, and you need to make sure they stay in top shape. Tires last for only so many miles before they begin to lose tread. You also have to consider the threat of nails and other natural causes of a flat. Make sure that your tires are not only aired up all the way to a safe and reasonable pressure, but that you get them rotated regularly, and that you have the tires replaced when the tread begins to wear.

There are many other things that you need to pay attention to when driving a new car. Things like the windshield wiper fluid and making sure that other fluids are always topped off. You can stop in your local car shop and have them take a quick look, or take it to your dealer and they will tell you. Of course, the dealer will charge you an arm and a leg. But is a high priced maintenance fee worth it if it saves you from being stranded somewhere in the middle of nowhere? I know that I will keep my car as clean as possible and make sure that her oil is always changed on schedule.

Those yearly maintenance plans are a great investment, as is your car, and I hope to see you on the road soon!