Best Ways to Keep Your Car in Good Shape

Cars can be loyal machines that serve an owner for years and years, or they can break down at the first sign of trouble. The type of car driven depends mainly on how well it is taken care of. Here are the best ways to make sure a car remains in the best shape it can.

1. Change the Oil

Changing the motor oil regularly and on time is the single best thing anyone can do in order to maintain the quality and health of a vehicle. A car’s oil is its blood. It helps the engine run without damaging any of the internal parts. An engine with old oil will lead to costly repairs as the oil breaks down and lets the metal parts chip into each other. There are two major choices to make when choosing an oil.

  • Synthetic Oil – A newer type of oil, synthetic oils usually only need to be changed every 6,000 miles or more. However, this oil is more expensive and can cause damage in an old car that is used to regular oil.
  • Regular Oil – Refined crude oil has been used for well over a century to lubricate engines. While cheaper, the oil breaks down much faster than synthetic as little as 3,000 miles per oil change.

Quality motor oil can be easily found at a reputable seller like Napa Auto Parts or a local dealer.

2. Wash the Car

It may seem like a minor thing to wash a car. After all, what else does washing a car do other than make the car shine and feed one’s ego?

The truth is that washing a car is key to maintaining a car’s health. Washing removes dirt, grime, bugs, and debris that can cause the body of the car to rust. Not only can this spread to the rest of a car, but rust on the body greatly reduces a car’s resale value.

After washing a car with soap and water, applying wax or a paint sealant can extend the life of a car’s finish. Auto Geek has an excellent article about how to wax a car by hand or machine, which also includes video demonstrations.

3. Drive Defensively

This tip seems like a trick to make people drive more carefully, but in fact, driving defensively really can extend the life of a car.

When a car is aggressively accelerated, the engine has to work harder. Even the most well-designed engine will damage itself in these conditions. Driving slower prevents this. When a car is gently accelerated, the engine can easily keep up and doesn’t have to push its cylinders to stress levels. This extends the life of the engine parts for many more years.

4. Use the Proper Octane Gas

It can be tempting to think that the 91 octane fuel at the pump, far more expensive than the regular 87 octane fuel, would be a better choice if someone really cares about the quality of their car.

This is rarely true. While higher octane fuel has its purposes, using it in a car that doesn’t call for it, especially a new car, is improper. Engines have an octane rating too. Most engines in consumer vehicles are made to burn 87 octane fuel efficiently and without additional wear.

The exception to this is when an engine starts to knock. A knock is heard as a rattling sound in the engine when the car accelerates. There are many reasons this can happen, but one of them is improper octane. After years of use, the inside of an older engine builds up carbon scoring. This changes the way the engine works and makes it require higher octane fuel to function properly.

5. Protect the Interior

The engine and exterior are what most people think of when they think of caring for a car, but the interior needs care too. Without proper precautions, the interior of a car can peel, crack, rattle, and discolor.

To prevent such travesties, a car needs to be parked in the shade, or sun blinders need to be used. This prevents the damaging UV of the sun from reaching the sometimes sensitive interior of a car. A liquid protectant against the sun’s UV light can be applied to further prevent damage.

As well, any interior spills should be cleaned up as soon as possible. The small interior of a car is not conducive to deep cleaning to remove odors that can quickly set in the absorbent carpet.