One of the best ways to ensure the longevity of your car and maintaining its value is to get in the routine of caring for your car. With a few cleaning hacks and proper maintenance, you can spend more time on the road in a clean car and less in your favorite mechanic’s garage.
Keeping the exterior clean is relatively easy by visiting a car wash once or twice a month, or if it is possible where you live, by washing it yourself. Keeping your car clean inside can be a challenge and confusion about maintenance can lead to mechanical problems. Here are a few tips for caring for your car to keep it clean and on the road:
Protect Your Car With Wax
Waxing your car a couple of times of year will help keep it clean and maintain that new look shine. You can do it yourself or have it professionally done. Waxing protects the car’s surface from the elements, and also makes it easier to remove dust, dirt and mud when you go through the wash.
Bug splatter can actually damage a car’s paint job, leaving the finish speckled with acidic bug residue if left unchecked. Instead of scrubbing for hours, grab a can of cooking spray, apply to affected areas, wait a few seconds and wipe the area clean with a microfiber cloth. Having a waxed car will make this job even easier to clean.
One of the best and easy ways to deal with dusty air vents and other pesky corners and narrow crevices is getting a can of compressed air. Short bursts will rid the area of dust and cookie crumbs immediately. For grim build up in these areas, dampen a small sponge brush with cleaner and swab the area clean.
Line Your Cup Holders
Cup holders invariably get gunked up from coffee and soda spills. Cleaning them can be a very frustrating twenty minutes of your life. Avoid the gunk by lining your cup holders with the type of silicone baking cups used for muffins and cupcakes. They fit perfectly in the holders and when they get dirty throw them in the sink or dishwasher and put clean ones in the car.
Pet Hair Removal
You can rid the pet hair from the car by using a spray bottle and a squeegee. Simply spray the seat with water and then use a squeegee to collect all the hair before vacuuming it up. It does work.
Read the Owner’s Manual
The manual not only informs you of everything you need to know about your vehicle, but it also lists a regular maintenance schedule for your vehicle. Following that schedule can ensure the longevity of your vehicle.
Check and Change the Oil Regularly
One of the simplest tasks to extend the life of your vehicle is to maintain the right amount of oil in the engine. Change the oil and filter at the intervals listed in the owner’s manual, usually every 5,000 or 7,500 miles. Oil is the lubricant for the car’s engine and the parts within. It also disperses engine heat, which may burn off some of the oil in older engines. Check regularly and replenish when the oil level drops, and be sure to use the proper weight oil listed in the owner’s manual.
Check Fluid Levels
Around the time the oil is changed, remember to check your power steering, automatic transmission, wiper, and brake fluids. With the exception of the wiper fluid, if any of the other fluids run dry, it can lead to failure of that function. For example, you will not be able to brake, or the power steering will first start to make squealing noises before the steering wheel becomes heavy or stiff to handle.
Keep Your Tires in Shape
Maintain your tires. First, check the air pressure once a month with a pressure gauge. The recommended air pressure should be listed in the owner’s manual, on the tires, or on a seal on the inside of the driver’s door. For a longer tread life, rotate your tires whenever the oil is changed. Check the alignment every other time you rotate the tires—poor alignment can lead to uneven tread wear.