1- Change your oil frequently – Even though oil change intervals are longer than they were years ago, keeping fresh oil in your car will increase its operating life. Because engine oil is pumped through the moving parts in an automobile engine, keeping it free of dirt and abrasives will extend its operating life. By the way, whenever you change your oil, be sure to replace the oil filter too.
2 – Park in the shade when you can – The ultraviolet rays from the sun are a powerful oxidizer that can damage a car’s paint and fade upholstery. Add to that blistering heat from the direct sun and you can have trouble. The quick and easy solution is to park where the sun isn’t directly baking your vehicle day after day. Obviously this isn’t possible all the time but when you have a chance, it’s worth the extra effort to park in the shade.
3 – Keep your tires inflated properly – Few people keep their car’s tires inflated to manufacturer’s recommended pressures. First, underinflated tires lower your gas mileage because they run hotter and expose more tread to the road. Secondly, because of the heat and flexing, the tires may last only half as many miles of what they might have if properly inflated. The message? Once a month, check your tire pressure and save your money!
4 – Use floor mats – Most cars have carpeted floors that are destined to get filthy, usually quite quickly. The solution: get good floor mats! No, you don’t need to buy the super expensive ones, but get some floor mats that fit your car and will protect your carpets. When it becomes time to sell your car, you will have a far easier time getting it clean for sale. In fact, without good quality mats, you may not get the carpeting clean ever again. It’s worth the small investment.
5 – Take it easy during break-in – When driving a new car, take it easy for the first 500-1000 miles. During the break-in period, don’t drive the car much above highway speeds or do any heavy towing. During this time, engine and transmission parts are wearing against each other and producing the last small bit of size and shape adjustment. This process is a normal part of the process and settles all the moving parts into a stable relationship.
6 – Be Careful When Removing Snow from Your Car – If you live in areas where snow is common, be careful when you remove snow. As tempting as it is to use a shovel after a blizzard, this is a great way to scratch your car’s paint. In general, a snow brush is the best to sweep snow off your car after heavy snow fall.
7 – Don’t race your engine during startup – Especially when it’s freezing outside! The reason for this is that until the oil pressure builds up, an engine has a fraction of the lubrication that it does later on. Automotive engineers quantify this situation by saying that “90% of an engine’s wear occurs within the first 30 secs of use”. What this means is: when you start your car, let it idle for a minute or so to “get it up to temperature”, then you are good to head out.
8 – Touch up paint nicks – When scrapes occurs to your car that penetrate the paint coat, your protection from the elements is lost. Water and road salts attack the exposed sheet metal and thus begins the corrosion (rust) process. Yes, it’s a bother, but stop by your local parts store and get a small bottle of touch up paint for your car and touch up those nicks.
Thanks to the Hyundai of White Plains for this great advice!