When you get a new car, and this applies to used cars as well, it’s important to ‘break it in’, especially for (new cars). The care you put into your car’s overall maintenance will pay off in the long term.
Follow these tips to keep that car feeling, looking, and running like new for the foreseeable future or at least until you are ready for a change.
- Warming the engine by letting it idle in the driveway is not a smart idea. The engine doesn’t operate at its peak temperature, resulting in incomplete fuel combustion, soot deposits on cylinder walls, oil contamination, and ultimately damaged components.
- Put less strain on your engine and automatic transmission by shifting to neutral at red lights. Otherwise, the engine is still working to push the car even while it’s stopped.
- When turning your steering wheel, don’t hold it in an extreme right or left position for more than a few seconds. Doing so can damage the power-steering pump.
- Accelerate slowly when you begin your drive. The most wear to the engine and drive train occurs in the first 10 to 20 minutes of operation.
- If you happen to see a gasoline tanker filling the tanks at your local gas station, come back another day or go to a different station. As the station’s underground tanks are being filled, the turbulence can stir up sediment. Sediment in your gas can clog fuel filters and fuel injectors, causing poor performance and possibly necessitating repairs.
- When stuck in mud or snow, don’t make the problem worse by damaging an expensive component. Gently rocking in an attempt to free the car is fine. But if it looks as though you’re really stuck, don’t keep at it. Throwing your car from forward to reverse repeatedly, as well as spinning tires at high speeds, can generate lots of heat and spell trouble for transmissions, clutches, and differentials. It may be cheaper, in the long run, to call the tow truck rather than risk big repair bills down the road. It’s a good idea to carry a traction aid in the trunk, such as sand, gravel, or cat litter.
- Does your car key share a chain with a dozen or more other keys? That’s a pretty heavy load hanging off the car key when it’s in the ignition. The weight, combined with bouncing while you drive, can wear out the tumblers inside the ignition and eventually lead to ignition switch failure. To add years of service to your ignition switch, purchase a lightweight keychain that allows you to separate your ignition key from the others. Drive with only the ignition key in your ignition. If your ignition key “sticks” when you try to turn on the car, it’s a warning that your ignition switch is about to fail. Replace it before you get stranded.
- Vacuum and sponge your interior every time you wash your car. Dirt particles are abrasive, and spilled liquids, such as soda, can be corrosive. Vacuum your interior thoroughly with a powerful vacuum (small cordless models are generally too weak). Use the appropriate wand heads when vacuuming. The bare metal wand can mar and scratch surfaces. Sponge vinyl surfaces clean with a solution of mild detergent and water.
- Use a soft damp cloth to lightly wipe the dust from the clear plastic lenses on your dashboard. Too much pressure will scratch them. Too many scratches can make it difficult to read your gauges under certain lighting conditions.
- After vacuuming floor mats or interior carpeting, apply foam rug cleaner to resistant stains as directed by the maker. Work the foam into a few square feet at a time, using a wet sponge or brush. Vacuum when dry.