So, you finally got it together and passed your driving test with flying colours and are about to invest in your very first set of wheels, which will usher in a new level in freedom and independence. There are, however, responsibilities that come with car ownership, namely servicing and maintenance and with that in mind, here are a few tips from the pros.
- Follow the Manufacturer’s Recommendations – The company that designed and built the car know more about it than anyone and if they recommend and engine oil change every 5,000km, then that is what you should do. If you are buying a new car, it will be serviced for free (labour costs only) for the first year and it is vital that you take the car to their dealership when you reach the recommended milage intervals. A car is a very complex machine, with more than 30,000 components and the owner’s manual has a section at the back that concerns vehicle maintenance. There is a page for each service, where the garage notes the tasks they carried out; oil change, oil and air filter change and any other work that was required and when complete, the mechanic will stamp the garage’s mark on the page for authenticity. As the car ages, this section will be added to and at any stage, a potential buyer can see how the car has been treated by looking in the owner’s manual.
- Tyres – The four tyres are the only things that have contact with the road surface, therefore, they must have more than adequate tread for essential grip and have no bulges or tears on the sidewalls. There are always cheap tyres in Brisbane and you should change tyres either by the pair (front or back) or the complete set of 4 tyres, never change individual tyres, as this leads to uneven grip, as the existing tyre is more worn than the new one. Tyre inflation is also important and the recommended PSI will be in the owner’s manual.
- Exterior Inspection – Some motorists will not drive until they have had a quick walk-around to check the types and bodywork and it is a good habit to develop. Tyres in particular, should be closely examined on a weekly basis and changing the left and right tyres every few thousand kilometres promotes even wear. If you make a habit of doing this, it will quickly become second nature and it could prevent an accident one day!
- Bodywork Protection – If you would like to protect your new car, have a ceramic wrap put on, which also offers creative design opportunities. Years ago, the only way to protect the paintwork was to apply a layer of wax, but we now have ceramic wraps and other protective coatings on the market that will do the job in all weathers. A weekly encounter with a power wash will keep the bodywork in good shape and any dings can be knocked out by the paint shop guys. Click here for causes of car accidents, which is a recommended read for all new drivers.
- Learn About the Inner Workings – If you never take the time to fully understand how your car works and what specific components do, then you are wide open to being ripped off by a mechanic. There are tons of resources online to help you gain a deep understanding of the many systems on your car and you should read the owner’s manual from cover to cover. Join a few motoring forums and chat with the real enthusiasts who have lots of advice for newbies and investing in basic tools will allow you to do a few things on your car. There might, for example, be a certain issue with your make and model and by reading about this, you can be prepared when the clutch finally gives up the ghost.
- Add-Ons – With so many cool accessories available, add-ons are inevitable; just don’t go overboard. You can add a premier sound system for a start, with a power amp under the seat and 4-channel coaxial speakers and a Google search will reveal an endless list of sites selling auto accessories of all sorts. It is unwise to view add-ons as an investment, as your car has a market value that varies slightly according to condition, but having all the add-ons and more will not increase the value. It’s more about personal taste and comfort and you can go a long way if you have deep enough pockets, as some fine images on the Internet testify.
Your first car will likely be your pride and joy and if you stick to the servicing schedules and keep her clean, your car will always be ready to take you where you wish to go and when you are ready to upgrade, you will get a good price for your vehicle.