A Sensible Guide to Car Care for First-Time Owners
Having your own car for the very first time is exciting. Finally, you can go wherever you want to go anytime you want with ease. At the same time, if you’re a professional who goes to the office every day, you no longer have to stick the schedule of public transport and race and, at times, even wrestle with other commuters who also need to get to their own workplaces.
But, it’s essential to recognize that being a car owner comes with great responsibility. There are tasks to stay on tops of, such as the different dates for the necessary documentation (car insurance and registration) for the vehicle, which fortunately can now be done online, and upkeep. And speaking of keeping your car not just in excellent working order but presentable as well, this involves different tasks. To help you with the many aspects of car maintenance, here is a useful guide to car care for first-time car owners.
Freshen up your vehicle every two weeks by taking it for a thorough car wash and interior deep cleaning. If you use your car every day and you like taking your friends and family for a ride often, it’s going to get funky rather quickly. Also, whenever weather changes and humidity levels spike, expect dust buildup to thicken on the car exterior.
It’s crucial to have a regular schedule for car wash so it can easily become a part of your routine. Do take note as well that if you do not keep up with this task frequently enough, you might get deep-seated stains that may cost more to get rid of. Plus, your car can become a haven for little creepers.
This car care task depends on how frequently you use your car and the distances it travels. But, abide by the rule of keeping fuel levels up. This is not necessarily because it contributes to the running efficiency of the machine, but more for your convenience.
It’s always better to have enough fuel in the tank at all times because you never want to find yourself stuck in traffic and have a long way to travel to get to the nearest petrol station. You might not get there.
If possible, park your car in a roofed lot all the time. This will ensure that the vehicle will not be a hot oven when you get in on a hot day. This will also prevent your car AC from overworking just to achieve a comfortable interior temperature.
Also, it’s better for the paint of the vehicle to not be exposed to the scorching hot rays of the sun for long hours. Sometimes, cars – mostly used or second-hand ones, that had a refresher paint job are at the risk of getting paint blisters when left out in the sun for too long. These blisters can eventually lead to chipping and corrosion. So, keep your car in the shade as much as you can when not in use.
Every time you visit the petrol station, stop by the water and air section to check the pressure of your tires. Tires that are adequately inflated contribute to an easier, safer, and smoother ride. At the same time, they are less prone to wear and tear, especially when you drive through rough roads and other challenging terrains.
And, aside from keeping tires properly inflated, rotating the car tires is also a must in preserving their quality and overall performance (better road grip, braking, and handling). An Audi workshop in Dubai says, tire rotation should be done every 6,000 to 8,000 miles – for most cars, this distance is covered in six months.
A car battery usually lasts two to three years, but to ensure the longest battery life, cleaning and protecting should be done often. For this, check the fasteners – make sure they’re tight. Also, chip away any type of buildup, especially if it’s rust; do this with a toothbrush and mixture of baking soda and water and then rinse using water from a spray bottle. Lastly, do take the time to test the battery’s output voltage level often.
Extra tips on preserving a car battery: Turn off all the lights, the radio and AC before switching the engine off. Extended idling is known to shorten battery life. Likewise, avoid short car rides because these prevent the battery from charging fully.
Brakes are highly prone to wear and tear, especially for the cars of new drivers. Therefore, check your brake and brake pads every six months. And, do check your brake fluid regularly too. If they’re all worn down already, have them replaced and with high-quality replacement.
You never want to go around with compromised brakes because studies show that the majority of vehicular accidents are due to underperforming brakes. Thus, for safe driving and riding, make sure that your brakes are in tip-top condition.
This annual car service is a must in maintaining the car’s performance and catching small issues that can develop into more serious car problems. Schedule an appointment for a tune-up every 10,000 to 12,000 miles at a center for car mechanical services repair, Dubai auto experts advise, especially if you didn’t purchase the car brand new.
However, if your car’s a new Audi with electronic ignition and fuel injection systems, you wouldn’t have to set an appointment for an auto tune-up for a long time. Auto experts say, such a car can from anywhere between 25,000 and 100,000 miles without a tune-up.
These are the upkeep requirements that you, a first-time car owner, need to remember. May the list guide you in your first couple of years of car ownership so you can avoid all kinds of potential issues. They seem like a lot at first, but once you have covered them all, they’ll all be routine to you.
Ahmad Ramadan is a Managing Partner at Deutsche Technik Service Center, Dubai’s first and largest VW, Audi, Mercedes, Bentley, Porsche, & Lamborghini vehicle specialist and performance tuner. DT has also built an illustrious portfolio in classic car repair, maintenance, and restoration, as well as bodywork (accident repair, painting, and denting). DT Service Centre offers a full range of services: mechanical repairs, maintenance, servicing, etc.