Getting your first car is an exciting event. After all, a car represents your ability to move freely in your town, city, or even between states. It’s also an opportunity for minor or major ownership mistakes or outright disasters in terms of car care and safety. If you’re a first-time car owner, keep reading for some tips that will help make you look less like a new owner and more like an expert.
Keep Good Records
It might sound trivial, but keeping good maintenance records goes a long way toward making you look like you know what you’re doing as a car owner to a mechanic. That is even more important if you’re young, as many first-time car owners tend to be. According to Lantern by SoFi car ownership statistics, many people get their first car at 16 years old. Those records not only help you keep track of what you did or didn’t do, but are something you can show someone when you eventually sell the vehicle.
Your Owner’s Manual Is Your Friend
Car manufacturers don’t include an owner’s manual with vehicles for fun. They include them because those manuals include all kinds of things that you need to know about maintaining your vehicle. For example, conventional wisdom is that you should get your timing belt changed every 100,000 miles. The problem is that it’s not accurate for every vehicle. Some vehicles should get a new one every 60,000 or every 75,000 miles.
Owner’s manuals also include recommendations for other standard maintenance tasks, such as oil changes or coolant flushes. Spending time with your owner’s manual will help you not only look like but actually come closer to being an expert about your own car.
Follow the Maintenance Schedule
It’s common for car owners to put off basic tasks, such as oil changes. You might reason, “Another few hundred miles won’t hurt before that oil change.” You might be right, but running with dirty oil puts pressure on the whole engine system. It reduces fuel efficiency, for one. It can also damage cylinder walls and bearing surfaces over time. Sticking with the schedule extends your car’s life and makes you look like a knowledgeable car owner.
Get Your Brakes Checked Annually
Few things do more to protect your life in a car than your brakes. Yet, many first-time car owners forget that their brake pads wear down over time. That makes your brakes less efficient. If it goes on long enough, it can even damage the brake rotor or cause brake failure. Get a pro to check your breaks once a year as a safety precaution. It’s the smart and safe thing to do.
Keep the Right Things in Your Glove Box
Far too many car owners use their glove boxes as a dumping ground for random clutter. Don’t do that. Reserve your glove box for essential paperwork that you need in your car. That means things like your registration, insurance card, and car manual. It’s also a good place for a pair of gloves and a pocket pack of tissues.
Looking like an expert as a first-time car owner isn’t about deep knowledge of car engines or auto repair. It’s about taking practical steps to keep your vehicle well-maintained and safe.