Looking after your new car from the get-go will save you a lot of headaches and possible repair bills down the track. We've put together a list of the top 10 things you can do to make your car last for years and hold on to that new car feeling as long as possible. If you've not yet purchased your new car, congrats to you for being well prepared! However, you might also want to read our first-time buyers guide as well. Now let’s get into this list.
1. Regularly check your tyre pressure
It's an easy enough thing to forget when you’re hurrying off to wherever you need to go. But over time your tyres will naturally deflate, if you drive it for long enough in such condition you can cause premature wear or even leave yourself vulnerable to a blowout in the middle of the road. Inside the door on the driver's side, you will find a standard issue sticker that tells you how much air should be in your tyre. A hatchback or sedan will usually sit around 32 PSI – make sure to check your car’s requirements before you head over to the air pump at the servo. If you've never checked your air pressure, don't worry, it's an easy task. All you need to do is drive up next to the air pump, set your PSI limit on the machine, unscrew the small valve cap on your tire (like a bicycle) and attach the air hose. You'll hear a beep when it's finished and you can re-screw the cap then move on to the next tyre. It's a good idea to check them at least once a month.
2. Look out for warning lights
I think it goes without saying that we all dread seeing a glaring red warning sign suddenly flash up on the dashboard, more often than not at an inconvenient time. It's a good idea to keep a printed copy of what each warning sign means, in the glove box. That way you can quickly determine how serious the issue is and what steps need to be taken next. Although it’s a small extra step, you'll be thanking yourself later on when you're trying to flick through the dense manual or googling "box-looking symbol is flashing – what's it mean?!". You'll save yourself a lot of time and stress down the track by being prepared.
3. Splash out on the good fuel
Reaching for the E10 or the Unleaded 91 is always going to seem like a good idea at the time, for many first-time buyers that are short on cash it’s second nature to go for the cheapest fuel option. However, the lower-grade fuel types can leave a build-up of grime and dirt that affects how well the engine runs. You’ll feel a difference in how fast or slow the car is to accelerate. Every once in a while, we suggest splashing out on the expensive fuel to flush out the damaging residue and get your car running like its best self again.
4. Keep an eye out for a faulty spark plug
A spark plug is an important part that helps engage and start your engine. This is an easy issue to spot; if you have to turn the key two or three times before your car roars to life, then it's possible that you have a faulty part. It's extremely unlikely that you'll come across this issue in a brand-new car, it is generally a result of it wearing out with use. You'll need to take this issue to the mechanic early on when you start to notice this issue, preferably before you get caught out with a car that won't start- just as you need to leave for work.
5. Bald tyres and rainy days don't mix
Not only is having badly worn down or 'bald' tyres illegal, but it’s a real safety risk for yourself and those around you. One study has shown that over 26% of crashes were caused by or involved bald tyres. As the tread wears down from hot roads and long drives, your tyres lose their grip on the road and start to become slippery, especially in wet weather. It only takes a rainy day for it all to go south, so it's important to make that painful expense and change out your tyres before they become a risk.
6. Check the oil and brake fluid
Tomorrow morning before you take your car out for a drive and heat up the engine, have a look under the bonnet and check your oil and brake fluids. It’s very important to keep an eye on the level of these fluids as your car will not function without them, you can even lose the ability to brake or stop your car altogether if left unchecked for too long. If you’ve never had to check these before, it’s a good idea to get some help from a friend or family member or even one of our team members the next time you’re in the service centre. Some advice to think about though - If the brake fluid is a dark colour, or the oil has accumulated a lot of dirt and dust, it’s due for a change. If both appear to be okay, they may just need a bit of a top up before you’re good to go. Again, it’s best to do this alongside some practice hands to make sure you're doing it correctly and safely.
7. Change the cabin air filter
If your car’s air conditioner ever starts to feel like a pitiful wisp of a breeze or you start opting for the window instead because it’s just not cold enough, then it’s absolutely time to change your air filter. Research recommends that they should be changed every 15,000-30,000 km. This is one of those tasks that often gets tossed into the too hard basket and if you would really rather not take it on yourself then that’s okay! You can always take your car into the service centre and they can sort it out quickly for you. If you’d like to change them yourself, then all you need to do is find the right page in your vehicle manual and follow the steps to set about replacing it.
8. Prepare for hail
After spending your hard-earned savings on your flash new vehicle, the last thing you want is to have to fork out another few thousand dollars to fix the damage caused by a bad hail storm. Realistically, you can't always avoid it, but if you can't get your car to an undercover shelter or parking garage, have a backup plan ready to go just in case. Throw over a foam camping mat, a fluffy blanket or even a proper hail cover from an auto store if you are particularly concerned. The Sunshine Coast loves to surprise us with crazy tropical storms, you can only keep an eye on the radar and hope for the best!
9. Prolong your mileage
As you probably know, when it comes to re-sale, having a lower mileage is going to help you get a higher price for the car. Driving your car only when necessary is not only going to keep those kilometres down but it’s better for the environment as well. You should avoid rash driving or frequent speed fluctuation as it also can impact the mileage and the wear on the tires. The same with carrying heavy objects for long distances or up hills.
10. Look after your interior
If you must keep your car on the street, then it’s good practice to put up a sun visor every time you park. The harsh sun beaming in through your window can unsurprisingly fade or even damage the interior of your car. Not to mention you’ll save yourself from searing your hands on the steering wheel when you jump in on a hot day. Keeping your car clean and using covers, will absolutely help prolong that new car feeling… and make your friends want to be a passenger more often!
Maintaining your car well sustains its lifespan and keeps you safe on the road. Alongside following these tips, the best way to ensure your vehicle is well and truly looked after is to have a great insurance coverage and to visit the Cricks service center for your regular services. The team behind the scenes are extremely knowledgeable and more than happy to help you out with any and all of your car concerns.