You don’t need to be an expert to appreciate the importance of keeping your car in great shape. Unfortunately, knowing how to care for your vehicle doesn’t come naturally to the vast majority of motorists. This is why we have professional mechanics. But, we all have a few friends that have always been car buffs. We may look to them for advice. However, what do you do when they are not around? You should know a bit about how to maintain your car.


Taking even small steps can make a big difference. With just a little maintenance, your vehicle will perform better, retain better value, and cost you less money in repair work. Quite frankly, no driver should need any other motivation. Check out the simple tips below.


Understand The Signs of Trouble

Knowledge is power, and gaining a better understanding of your car will can help you out of a sticky situation. Vehicles are complex machines and can encounter a variety of problems. It will let you know, however, and spotting the signs early could save you a lot of hassle in the long run. As with any problem, the longer you leave damage unattended, the worse it will become. The car isn’t going to magically fix itself. The sooner you act, the sooner you’ll have your car back up to full health.

While some smaller issues can be fixed by a complete novice, a professional auto repair is the best solution in most cases. After all, using an expert is the only way to be sure that the work is being handled correctly. The last thing you’ll want to do is exacerbate the issue. I talked before about having a problem with my van smoking while out driving. It looked like a really serious problem. That is a visual problem so it was obvious. However, you may just feel that something is not right. After you drive your car for a while you should be able to feel a difference in acceleration, braking, backing up, or just the general smoothness while driving. Anything that feels off is probably worth getting checked out.


Get Those Oil Changes

Oil keeps the engine lubricated and keeps the mechanics under the hood running smoothly. If you drive too long with “old” oil, you risk damaging your car. Watch the miles on your car and get an oil change when it’s time. While it’s been said for a long time that all cars need an oil change every 3,000 miles, this is not necessarily true. I’m lucky in that my car has a built-in oil life indicator. I can check it at any time and get a percentage of *life* left in my oil. In my opinion this saves me money by preventing unnecessary oil changes. You can also sign up for maintenance alerts with your dealer. You will get a reminder when it’s time to setup an appointment. Check the manual for your car and see what is recommended. Also, be sure that you know exactly what type of oil needs to go in your car. A lot of times those oil changes places will try to push the more expensive oil change options on you. It is probably not necessary.


Be a Good Driver

Ensuring that your car is in good mechanical shape is one thing. You also want to keep it in one piece. However, it will only stay that way if you drive it in a safe and responsible manner. If you are genuinely committed to keeping your car in the best health possible, driving carefully is essential. If you live in the big city stop and go traffic, bad weather, or harsh roads can add to the wear and tear on your car. You make it worse if you are not careful. Things like driving over potholes can wreck havoc on your tires, wheels, and tire rods. This causes actual physical damage. Rusty on your driving skills? Taking an advanced driving course could be the ideal solution.

Not only will this help you maintain the car’s performance. It will also enhance your safety on the road. Combine this with other smart decisions, such as getting a car equipped with safety features like parking sensors, backup cameras, and navigation systems. Let’s face it; becoming a safer driver won’t only enhance your time behind the wheel of this model. It will improve your experiences in every car you own in future years too. And, it will give you the edge when it’s time to pick out a new car.


School The Young Drivers in Your Home

If you are sharing the car with family members, you need to know that they will drive safely too. This is especially true of teens. If you have new drivers in the home, be sure to check in with them often about the rules of the road, and the importance of driving carefully and not texting while driving.


Protect Your Car From the Elements

Be sure to protect your car even when it’s not in use. If you have a garage, use it for your car… not storage. Keeping your car in the garage protects it from rough weather such as rain, snow, and road salt, and from unwanted visitors. If this is not possible and you have to keep your car outdoors, depending on your climate you may want to invest in a dust jacket to keep the body in good condition. Meanwhile, you should remember to keep your vehicle clean at all times. This is especially important during the winter. Road salt can do some real damage to the finish of your vehicle and cause unwanted rust over time.

Tell the truth… are you good about taking care of your car?