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5 Tips Car Owners Wish They Knew Earlier

A woman embracing the hood of her new car
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Your car is one of the most expensive items you’ll ever own. Yet many of us have no idea how to care for a vehicle. Ideally, your ride will provide years of safety and comfort–but only if you treat it right.

Read the Manual

Is your car’s manual the most interesting read in the world? No, of course not. But it does tell you exactly how often to get your oil changed or replace your brake pads.

The manual is the best way to ensure that you aren’t missing vital maintenance milestones. However, it also helps you know when to say “no” to pushy upsells at the oil change place.

Tire Maintenance

Do you own a tire depth gauge? What about a pressure gauge? These two cheap, small tools can save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars in the long run. Keep your tires inflated to the correct pressure–which you can find in your manual. Check the tread depth, too, to make sure that your tires aren’t close to wearing out. Getting your tires rotated can help even the wear pattern.

Pro tip: Many tire places will check your pressure and depth for free.

Keep It Clean

Cleaning your car isn’t just about showing the world you’re an adult who can tidy up after yourself. There are real consequences to letting grime build up. You might damage the paint finish or obscure your vision if you don’t clean the outside at least once a month. As for the interior, letting it get too nasty can substantially lower the car’s resale value.

Get Your Oil Changed

An oil change isn’t something you can avoid forever. Eventually, deposits will build up in your engine, potentially causing serious problems. However, you don’t necessarily need to do it by the date on the sticker the service station gives you.

Oil change is based on mileage, not time. If you drive more frequently, you might need to come in sooner. If you work from home, you can afford to wait longer to get the oil changed.

Know Your Mechanic

Having a relationship with a local independent mechanic is one of the best things you can do for your car. The best way to find a mechanic you can trust is to ask around for recommendations. It’s also smart to double-check the average cost for any work you need done before agreeing to it.

If one auto shop wants to charge more than a fair price, you can always take your car someplace else.

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