Get the Maximum Out of Your Car’s Look and Feel, Even on a Budget
As an Amazon Influencer, we earn from qualifying purchases you might make if you click any of the links on this page.
Trying to update your car’s look and feel without breaking the bank? As per a recent report in USA Today, the average age of a U.S. car is 12.2 years. If yours is going to last that long, you will need to maintain it well.
The best way to maintain your car is by doing it yourself. At least, that’s what a lot of mechanics will tell you, and it’s true. You can do most repairs at home if you know what you’re doing.
But it’s not just about knowing how to fix things. You also need the right tools for the job, and some of those aren’t cheap. If you’re on a budget, this can be very challenging. Here are some tips for maintaining your vehicle without breaking the bank:
Develop Better Driving Habits
Driving habits have a huge impact on your car’s lifespan. The more you drive, the more likely it is for your engine to overheat, and parts will wear out early. So if you’re going on a long road trip or frequently driving in stop-and-go traffic, this can significantly shorten your vehicle’s life.
Another way to save money on car maintenance is by driving at an appropriate speed. Driving too fast or too slow can damage your engine. As per AutoEvolution, the optimum speed for most light-duty vehicles is 40 mph and 60 mph. Passenger vehicles give maximum efficiency at 50 mph, while the speed for SUVs and pickup trucks is lower.
Check Your Tires Every Month
Most people don’t realize how much damage a tire can do to their vehicle, but it’s something we all need to be aware of. The pressure in your tires needs to be checked at least once a month, and the tread depth should be checked every 3 months or so as well.
If there’s any damage whatsoever, such as leaks or punctures, get those patched up ASAP. Even if it doesn’t seem like there’s any damage yet, just keep an eye out for anything unusual during regular checks. Don’t forget to check for nails and other objects stuck in the tires.
Finally, pay attention when driving over sharp bumps in the road. If you hear a popping sound from one side of the car more than others, bring it in immediately because this could indicate uneven wear from poor alignment on that specific wheel/tire combo.
Protect Your Car From the Sun
When it comes to protecting your car from the sun, there are two primary ways you can go about it: shade covers and wax. If you have a garage or other covered parking space where you park your car, then a shade cover can be placed over the top of your vehicle while parked.
Another good way of keeping your car’s exterior in good shape is by using car wax products. Car waxes are designed to protect the surface of your vehicle from the sun’s harmful UV rays. You can apply the wax on your car by yourself, and it will help prevent fading, cracking, and peeling of the paint. It will also provide a high-gloss finish to the car, making it look brand new.
Don’t Forget About Your Car’s Interior
It’s important to clean your car every week, but it’s vital when you have a budget. That way, if something breaks, you’ll be able to fix it right away instead of putting off maintenance until you’re forced to pay for a new part.
It’s also good practice if you want to sell your car at some point. Potential buyers will evaluate the state of their potential purchases based on how they look inside and out.
Here are some tips on what exactly you need to clean inside a car:
- Keep the seats and carpets clean every week, so they don’t get filthy with dirt and grime.
- Clean the windows once per month or more frequently if it often rains where you live.
- Declutter and wipe down the dashboard and console once per month as well.
- Maintain your infotainment center, sanitize the touch screens if you have them.
- Don’t forget about all those little nooks like cup holders.
Your Car Should Be Washed Once Regularly
This is for the same reason you wash your clothes, which is to keep them looking and smelling good and protect them from rust and corrosion. It’s also a good idea because you want to be able to see out of your windows, which are made dirty by grime and dirt that collects on them.
If you want to do this yourself, use a high-quality microfiber cloth or sponge with warm water and soap (use dishwashing liquid if there are heavy stains). Be sure not to use any harsh chemicals, such as bleach or ammonia, as these can damage the paint job.
If hiring a professional doesn’t cost much more than doing it yourself, then consider paying someone else. They will know what tools/materials they need better than anyone else.
Don’t Skip Oil Changes and Other Recommended Maintenance
Consistent oil changes are one of the most important ways to maintain your car. As per the Consumer Reports, changing the oil every 3 months or 5,000 miles is no longer required. Many automakers recommend an oil change at 7,500 or 10,000 miles or in six to 12 months.
Make sure that your vehicle’s manual outlines the correct interval for changing the oil in your particular make and model. Most cars have a sticker near their engine compartment that says how often to change it. If you’re not sure, check there first.
If someone else changes your oil for you, remember that they should also perform other maintenance tasks like checking fuses and fluids (like coolant).
Now that you know how to save money, it is time to get started on your new car maintenance routine. The most important part of maintaining your vehicle is ensuring it’s up to date on all its maintenance requirements. If anything seems out of place, be sure to check with an expert before driving again.