It’s the beginning of another new year. A fresh start. It’s the time when most of us reflect on the things we’ve done, and what we’ve left behind. And then we make plans for what we’ll do differently, how we’ll be better in the new year.
We all start diets, join gyms, vow to meditate. We form all the best-laid plans to take care of ourselves, that we may or may not put into permanent practice. But what about our car?
Okay, these are admittedly not equal things. But for most of us, our car is a pretty important part our lives. We depend on it for getting to work, taking children to school, getting home. Every single day. We need it to be safe, reliable. And just like getting in shape, and maintaining our health, that doesn’t happen without some effort.
Here are some of the ways you can keep your car at its best for 2019.
Keep it clean
Obviously we all like to keep our cars looking their best, the same way we try to keep our homes reasonably tidy for company. But beyond appearances, keeping your car clean will make everything last longer and function better. Here are some of the key areas to pay attention to.
Paint: the largest and most visible area of your car, the paint is durable and will protect the body from rust for many years… but it does that best if you wax it each year. You can do it yourself, after washing, or you can have a car wash do it. It provides an enhanced layer of protection from moisture, minerals, and other contaminants that can build up and infiltrate your paint.
Rubber and plastic: All of the plastic and rubber trim pieces of your car take a beating from the sun’s UV rays that they’re constantly exposed to. They’ll fade, and eventually start to break down, or crack.
You can keep that from happening by applying a protectant like Armor-All or Mothers.
Keep up with your maintenance
Your car has a lot of moving parts, and that means a lot of parts need to be replaced periodically, and also that there are critical fluids that lubricate surfaces, and that help your car stay cool.
Be aware that modern, fuel-injected cars don’t need a “tune-up,” the way older ones did… and be careful that no mechanic charges you for that.
But it is important—whether you do it yourself or go to the dealership or a trusted mechanic—that you follow the service schedule from your car’s manufacturer. Things like belts and hoses, coolant, engine oil, brakes, and wiper blades all need to be checked and replaced or replenished at recommended intervals.
Mind your tires
Just as important as keeping your engine running smoothly, tires are that critical place “where the rubber meets the road,” and they largely determine whether you stay on it or not.
Changes in temperature (especially very cold temperatures) can cause changes in your tires’ air pressure. So it’s a good idea to check tire pressure regularly, to make sure it’s within the manufacturer’s recommended range (which, conveniently, is right there on the tire’s sidewall.)
And with tires, tread is everything. Once it gets too worn down, you don’t get enough traction to safely control your car. Check out this article for more in-depth information on how to know when it’s time to think about replacing your tires.
Give it the fuel it wants
Gas is expensive. If your car requires higher than regular-grade fuel, it’s tempting to save a little money by just buying regular.
While this isn’t the worst thing, there are some really valid reasons to spend the extra money for a higher grade of fuel if your car’s manufacturer recommends it. It really does impact how well your engine runs, and you may even notice a difference as you drive it. More seriously though, repeated use of lower-than-recommended octane will eventually damage your engine.
You can learn more about what gas octane ratings mean, and why they’re important to consider, in this article.
We at TRED wish you, your loved ones—and your car—a safe and happy 2019. And we’re always here to help with any of your car-related questions, especially with regard to buying and selling. Give us a call or send us a message any time, if we can help you with anything in the new year!