Car care guide: How to look after and maintain your car

How's your vehicle these days? Have you maintained it well over the years, and is it still in tip-top shape? Or maybe you could have done better in the maintenance department and now your car breaks down regularly. There's no doubt about it; properly maintained vehicles tend to last longer than those that weren’t cared for.

Regularly showing your vehicle tender loving care works best at stopping many breakdowns in their tracks. Use the tips below to learn how to look after and maintain your car. Then, hopefully, you won't ever get stranded on the side of a road somewhere. Not to mention, you might be able to keep expensive auto repairs at bay too.

Make a Car Warranty Investment

Did you know that getting a transmission replaced at a local shop can cost you between $2,900 and $7,000? That's a lot of money to have to gather out of the blue for a transmission replacement. But that isn't the only high-dollar repair out there. If your vehicle's engine, catalytic converter, or other systems need to be worked on, between parts and labor, those jobs can also cost a pretty penny. That's why you need the best extended car warranty.

An extended car warranty kicks in once the manufacturer’s warranty expires. The monthly premium you'll pay for an extended car warranty will vary, depending on what deductible you choose and the company you pick. Consumers are often able to buy warranties for around $1,000. However, according to research, these policies can sometimes cost up to $4,000 or more.

Then, after obtaining the plan, the policyholder will only need to cover the deductible when repairs are necessary. So, if your deductible is $100, that's what you'll get charged, and the warranty company will pick up the rest of the tab.

Check the Fluids

Checking your car's various fluids is a necessary task, but you may get different answers for how often you should do it. For example, some mechanics suggest that vehicle owners check their oil, transmission, brake fluid, and coolant levels once a month. Meanwhile, other professionals recommend examining levels once every four to five months.

You can check within the pages of your owner's manual for the appropriate time to perform checks. The booklet should also contain information about when the fluids and filters need to be changed. In addition, you may find maintenance tips from the manufacturer inside the book to make your life easier. Just remember to keep an eye on fluids and top them off as necessary. Those are essential steps to look after and maintain your car.

Replace Fluids at Appropriate Intervals

Speaking of changing filters and fluids, that's something else you need to stay on top of to look after and maintain a car. The fluids in your car are most effective when they're new and clean. They lubricate vehicle components, allow them to function, and prevent items from overheating.

But as fluids age, they become less effective, thicken, and can cause issues if not replaced. Once again, check your owner's manual to see when oil, transmission, and other fluid replacements need to happen. In the past, oil changes were required at every 3,000 miles. However, manufacturers typically call for oil changes at 5,000 to 7,000-mile intervals with modern cars.

Wash and Wax the Car

Most people want their vehicles to look shiny and new. Therefore, they wash them occasionally to ensure their exteriors remain visually appealing. But, that isn't the only reason to keep the outside of your car clean. Regular washes can also protect the paint by removing debris that can the finish, like bird droppings, dried mud, and dust. Various factors can determine how often cleanings will be needed, but most owners wash their vehicles once every two weeks as a general rule of thumb.

And what about waxing? Using wax on your vehicle adds a layer of protection to the clear-coat finish and paint. Plus, if you get a high-quality wax product, it may even fill in or remove surface scratches, leaving your ride looking brand-new again. It’s a good idea to wax your car at least once every six months.

Obey Traffic Laws and Drive Cautiously

It can be tempting to put the pedal to the metal every time you get inside your car. After all, you have places to be. But speeding isn't necessarily going to get you to the destinations any quicker than obeying the speed limit. You will still catch red lights and get stuck in traffic just like everyone else. Also, a cop could pull you over for speeding, and that will only prolong the trip. Sudden acceleration and braking also put unnecessary stress on your car, speeding up wear and tear.

Traveling at a high rate of speed can increase a person's chances of getting into a crash as well. Thus, follow the rules of the road and drive cautiously to make it easy on your car. Not only will that stop you from getting seriously hurt, but it can extend the life of your ride by ensuring it doesn't sustain any significant damages.

Some Last Words

Don't fret if you have no idea how to maintain your vehicle. The strategies mentioned above can put you on the right track. Even simple tasks such as regularly cleaning and waxing your car can help keep it in top shape. These tips can help you look after and extend the life of your car.

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