Once you've bought your dream car and driven out of the dealer's lot, it's unlikely that maintenance and servicing are going to be the first things on your mind. But there are plenty of easy ways to ensure that your motor stays in tip-top condition for as long as possible.
Here are ten tips to help you maintain that new-car feeling for as long as possible.
If you've just bought a new car, it's likely you'll want to keep the bodywork sparkling, but don't let this initial enthusiasm wear off. Road salt, sludge or pollution can all build up and you may see rust appearing in just a few short years, so take your vehicle to a car wash as regularly as possible.
Most manufacturers advise checking your oil, coolant and brake fluid levels frequently, so refer to your car user handbook if you're unsure how to do this. You'll also need to flush your brake fluid and coolant every few years.
If you happen to know that a petrol station has recently been replenished, come back another day. Filling a petrol station's underground tanks can stir up sediment, which when put in your car can clog your fuel filters and fuel injectors - in some cases requiring repairs!
Many cars these days have moved to keyless/push button start, but if you still have a good old key and barrel ignition switch, be careful how many other keys you load up onto the keychain. If you're like me, every new key gets added to the house & car key bundle, however, this may be putting unnecessary strain on the tumblers in your ignition. A few extra keys may not seem like a lot of weight, but with the additional bouncing of the car it can lead to ignition switch failure.
Make sure to fix any chips in your windscreen sooner rather than later. A quick trip to the car service centre will prevent chips from turning into cracks, which in a worst-case scenario may require the whole screen being replaced.
If you ever intend to resell your car, then keeping the inside clean and tidy is an absolute must, especially if the interior is light-coloured.
Put down all-weather car mats to prevent mud and other grime being smudged into the foot-well, as well as towels or plastic sheets underneath baby seats to protect against spills.
Most people don't think about their tyres until they blow out on the road! The law requires that your tread depth be at least 1.5mm, so check the tread wear indicator bars that are at regular intervals around the tyre.
Many people often forget to change their air filter, with blocked or dirty filters potentially causing poor performance and increased fuel consumption. They will need to be switched out at least once a year, although if you regularly drive though dusty areas you may need to do it more frequently.
Properly inflated tyres makes your car easier to handle and can help save on fuel. To check what the correct pressure is for your vehicle, check the tyre information plate, which is usually either attached to your glove box, door sill, fuel filler cap or under the bonnet.
Driving with care is a sure-fire way to increasing the longevity of your car.
This means accelerating slowly when you begin your drive, as well as avoiding leaving your car idling as a way of warming it up. The vehicle's lubrication system works best at peak operating temperatures, so the engine, transmission and gears are more susceptible to damage if you work them too hard straight away.