Taking care of your car is something that many car owners fail to do properly – when it is something that you use everyday, it can be easy to fall habits of poor driving, a lack of maintenance and servicing, the use of your car as a space for storage and clutter, and more. To many, a car is seen more as a utility made to take damage and fulfil its main purpose as transport, where the care and thoughtfulness that would be given to any other item of a similar value is forgotten or overlooked.
While this is a characteristic of a significant number of car owners, the subset of drivers who avoid inefficient and unsustainable approaches to car ownership benefit as a result. In caring for and maintaining your car, you’ll be able to drive your car for longer, and will enjoy the driving experience in the process.
How your car performs and drives is important, but a more manageable place to start is with the inside of your car. This is where you’ll be while you are driving, and is the aspect of your car that passengers will be most aware of – as a result, you’ll want to avoid everything from general clutter to stains and spills.
The best approach to a clean and welcoming car interior is to ensure you carry out regular cleaning. This means decluttering, vacuuming, and using some upholstery cleaning supplies if necessary. If you have leather seats, using a leather cleaner and conditioner occasionally is also a great way to keep your seats looking new.
In terms of the floors of your car, vacuuming and use of a stain remover where necessary is ideal, as this can quickly become the most dirty part of a car. Investing in some floor mats can also significantly cut down on the time you’ll need to spend cleaning.
Finally, surfaces such as the dashboard, steering wheel and windows should be wiped down, and any air conditioning vents should be dusted as well.
Once the interior is looking nice and new, shift your attention to the car’s exterior. While you might be tempted to drive to your local car wash (which can be a great option if it suits your needs), you’ll be able to do a more thorough job, and at a lower price, if you take on the task yourself.
While it sounds like a straightforward task, car washing is something that many people get wrong. Firstly, set some goals; a good car wash will leave your car clean, protected, and won’t cause any damage (this is another reason as to why you should avoid automated car washes). Now, in achieving these goals, consider the following tips.
Ultimately, washing your car on a weekly basis will mean that your car is always looking its best, looks new for longer, and is easier to clean.
The maintenance and upkeep that you do yourself is very important, but there will be regular requirements that you might need to get help with. Whether it is under the hood, in the cabin, or even in terms of damage to the exterior, any car will need regular fixes and changes in order to run smoothly and maximise its life.
The frequency at which you’ll need to take your car in for servicing will depend on the make and model of your car, as well as its age and general condition. With this being said, the overall recommendation will likely be between six and twelve months.
Car servicing is often a very involved process, and can be a hassle – this often means that car owners procrastinate and delay their car maintenance responsibilities. In approaching your car’s servicing requirements, there are a few things to keep in mind if you want to have a smooth and easy experience.
Firstly, find the right service provider or mechanic. Many car owners will continue to revisit the same mechanic despite problems and a sub par service, as a result of what can feel like a lack of options (or a lack of ways to find them). While this was once true, services such as Enji Australia make the process straightforward by connecting car owners with mechanics based on your specific needs (location, car make and model, type of service you are looking for). Otherwise, you can always look through your local business directory, or even take recommendations from friends, family and colleagues – just make sure you don’t get stuck with a service you aren’t happy with.
In finding a good mechanic or service provider, you’ll want to be looking out for a few things in particular. A positive car service experience will be provided by an expert that is experienced, professional, a good communicator, and convenient. Finally, go to someone that is specialised in what they do – this will depend on if you need specific services such as car electrical services or dent and scratch repairs, or if you have a car model that requires expertise.
The final thing you can consider in your approach to taking care of your car for the long term is in how you drive. Bad driving habits can significantly reduce the life of your car, and will be economically and environmentally problematic, too.
Good driving habits will include everything from precautionary measures before you get on the road, to how you drive. You should ideally minimise accelerating and braking (drive as smoothly as possible), drive with tyres that aren’t too flat, and (against common advice) avoid driving with your car in neutral.
In regard to preparation, be sure to minimise the weight in your car, plan ahead to avoid traffic, and remove any bike racks or other additions to your exterior – these can increase the drag of your car, meaning that it has to work harder to drive.
Another important thing to keep in mind is in regard to where you park – remembering to park undercover where possible will save you when it comes to cleaning and potential damage from the outside world. Even things like tree sap and bird droppings can damage your paint, which is a cost that can easily be avoided by choosing the right parking spots.
Ultimately, employing good driving habits will reduce the frequency and cost of services, which will maximise the life of your car – not to mention, you’ll save in fuel costs.