The essentials of maintaining a healthy car

Your car can be your pride and joy, a status symbol, or just a convenience to get you from A to B. There’s no denying that car running and maintenance costs are one of the highest household expenses and that neglect is one of the surest ways to add high, unnecessary, yet avoidable expenses to your budget. 

Here’s how to ensure your vehicle stays in prime condition for years to come:

Know your car & do your sums 

It’s recommended that you go through the user manual to get important know-how on the vehicle’s features and tips for preventing certain issues. 

Before you’ve even purchased the car, though, ask yourself honestly if you can afford to maintain and look after it properly. What will it cost you in fuel, insurance, servicing, repairs, registration, tyres etc? If your budget is stretched on the repayments alone, it’s the wrong car for you. 

Perform regular maintenance

Regular servicing is important to prevent minor problems from developing into major, costly problems. Your dealer’s incentive for offering scheduled servicing and convenience with a free hire car for the day is so the next time you purchase, you’ll buy through them again – with a well looked-after vehicle to trade-in. There is no reason to skip this essential aspect of owning a car.

Change oil and other important fluids regularly

A car has thousands of moving parts that need to be lubricated to be working in top condition. Over time, engine oil gets dirty, and wear happens faster. Oil changes at recommended intervals will keep it running longer. There are other fluids that need changing too. Brake fluid, power steering fluid, transmission oil and coolant all lose effectiveness over a period of time. 

Change filters and belts

Filters, belts and spark plugs need to be inspected and replaced if found to be worn. Clogged air and oil filters result in a loss of power and reduced mileage and worn engine belts and spark plugs can lead to fuel efficiency issues. Monitoring these parts can result in better performance and lower maintenance costs.

Check tyres

Tyres are the most neglected part of a car, despite being the most important. As the car’s only point of contact to the road, they are subject to maximum wear and tear. For longevity, it is recommended to check tyre pressure every two weeks and rotate them every six months.

Charge up the battery

The car’s battery is the source of power for all electrical systems. Minor issues with the battery can lead to a burnout of wires and fuses that lead to even bigger problems. Give your battery a once-over every so often, check for loose connections, dirt build-up. rust and so on. 

Keep it clean

This applies to both the exterior and interior. Regular washing and waxing can prevent rust, while interior cleaning will prevent an odorous cabin and keep the upholstery in peak condition. Keeping a tidy, well-maintained car on the surface also feeds into the psyche of keeping a fine-tuned, well-maintained car under the hood, too.