Maintaining a car in good shape and health has a lot of benefits. A little care and maintenance at the right time can not only save a lot of money but also prolong the life of your car. A well-maintained car fetches better resale value as well. It’s a pleasure to drive/ travel in a well-maintained car. Here we give some tips for keeping your car running like new.
- Protect the car from external elements: Continuous exposure to sunlight and monsoon affects the paint of your car. Try to park the car in a garage. If you don’t have the luxury of a covered parking, invest in a good quality car cover.
- Weekly Wash: Wash your car once a week. Invest in the following cleaning items.
- Soft sponge.
- Car wash fluid (Don’t use detergent as it can be harmful on your paint job).
- Brush for cleaning underbody and wheel rims/ alloys.
- Soft towel.
Park the car in the shade and away from direct sunlight, as this may lead to premature drying. Mix soap + water mixture. Spray the car some water, then apply the soap-water with the sponge. Ensure to close all the windows and shut all the doors. Wash one section after the other and remove the soap with water before the soap dries. Always clean the top areas first before washing the lower parts, as it catches more dirt and grime. After washing the soap with water dry the car with a soft towel. You can use a brush to clean underbody, tyres and the alloys.
Take out the carpets and dust it out. Vacuum the car at least once a month. Clean the dashboard with a wet towel and use some dashboard polish once a month. Thoroughly check under the seats, inside cubby holes and door pockets for any leftover eatables. You can also wax your car once in 6-8 months. This will protect the paint from external elements.
- Stick to Scheduled service intervals: Service the car at the recommended service intervals. This ensures that the cars undergo preventive maintenance. Always change all fluids like engine oil, gear oil, coolant, brake fluid etc at the manufacturer stipulated intervals.
- Tyres: Always maintain correct air pressure in the tyres. Make it a habit to check tyre pressure every 10 days. Look for any uneven or premature tyre wear. Get it immediately rectified with wheel alignment and balancing. Replace the tyre when the tread becomes flat and shallow. Check the wear indicator and replace the tyres when the tread worn till this mark. Do wheel alignment and balancing every 5000 Kms.
- Engine: Engine is the most important part of the car. Take good care of it and it will power your car for quite long. Replace engine oil, oil filter, fuel filter, air filter and other consumables as per the manufacturer recommendation. Don’t carry out modifications on the engine like ECU remap, installing performance chips etc. Keep the engine stock. Engine modifications can severely compromise the long-term reliability of the car and can also lead to premature failure of engine parts, as these components will not be able to withstand the bump in power.
- Engine Oil: Always use manufacturer recommended engine oil or good quality oil of equivalent specification from a reputed company. Stick to recommended service intervals. Always change Oil filter while changing engine oil. Check for any leakages. Also, Auto-gear oil, coolants and brake fluid should be replaced as per the scheduled intervals.
- Unusual vibrations and sound: Attend to any unusual vibrations and sound coming from the car.
- Battery: Ensure to keep the battery terminals clean, free from dirt and dampness. Ensure not to completely drain the battery by keeping the accessories on while the engine is switched off. Ensure the battery is securely fitted free from any vibrations; vibrations can damage the battery plates. Check the battery charging rate, as undercharging and overcharging will adversely affect the battery life.
- Keep the interiors clean: following tips helps you to keep your car interior clean and smell fresh.
- Avoid eating/ snacking inside the car.
- Use good quality floor mats which can trap dust.
- Vacuum the floor and seats frequently.
- Keep a trash can or bag inside the car. Empty it after every long trip.
- Remove unwanted items regularly from the car.
- Let a friend drive: Ask a close friend to drive your car, say once in six months. You may not notice some issues with the car and your friend may be able to identify the same.
- Use Genuine Spares only.
- Adopt a smooth driving style.