When you first purchased your car, there was a good chance that you had lofty ambitions regarding how well you were going to maintain it. After all, if you are anything like most individuals, your car is your pride and joy – especially when it is clean and running well. However, over time, that enthusiasm may have died down and you may no longer be scrubbing it down each weekend and refusing to eat snacks inside it on your way to work.
That being said, there are still some habits you need to maintain in order to keep your car operating efficiently for as long as possible. From essential car maintenance tips to apps that can save you time and money, read on to learn about the most important ways to keep your car in excellent condition.
1. Keep it clean
One of the most important ways to maintain your car is to ensure that you are keeping it clean. In the same way that you are constantly keeping your living space neat and tidy, you also want to be doing the same for your vehicle. After all, unlike your bedroom, most of the people you meet every day can see your car and how clean (or dirty) it is.
Over time, an unclean car will continue to build up dirt and grime that will ultimately damage both the interior and exterior. Plus, it will be harder to deal with, so you will certainly be better off performing small cleaning sessions every couple of weeks.
Every month, vacuum the inside of your car and take steps to ensure the car’s interior remains fresh. Unfortunately, dirt and grime eat away at the interior of your vehicle, eventually ensuring that it resembles something filthy. Not only is this unappealing to drive in, but it also dramatically reduces your car’s resale value.
Additionally, each month, take your car to a professional car wash or utilise the services of an on-demand car wash if it exists in your area. This will help ensure that all parts of your car are thoroughly cleaned, including your mirrors, which affect your ability to drive.
2. Maintain your fuel level
If you ask any auto specialist, they will tell you that it is crucial to keep your fuel tank closer to full than empty. One of the reasons is so that you don’t get stranded in one place without enough fuel, but there are also technical reasons why it is vital to maintain the fuel level.
For starters, if your tank has room in it, condensation can start to form. This is particularly a problem in cooler temperatures as the condensation can freeze and create internal problems in your vehicle. Additionally, when your gas tank starts to get low, the electric fuel pump sucks in extra air, generating heat. This then leads to your fuel pump wearing down prematurely and, ultimately, failing.
Similarly, when you are running low on fuel, dirt or rust is likely to get trapped in your tank. As these sediments collect, they start to block your fuel filter. All of these situations will result in expensive repairs. For this reason, you should avoid letting your fuel tank drop below half way full.
One option is to get on-demand fuel delivery in Dubai (or wherever you live). For example, with a company like CAFU (available in Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman and Umm Al Quwain), you just download the app on your phone, sign up and register your vehicle, and then schedule an order and park your car outdoors. The fuel price is the same as at the local petrol station, and delivery is free. For those with busy schedules, this is a fantastic option to ensure that you are always able to maintain your fuel level.
3. Change your oil
Another thing that experts agree on when it comes to maintaining your car is the importance of an oil change. This is incredibly crucial because your car requires fuel to lubricate the engine and block detergents. Unfortunately, if you don’t change the oil, dirt will build up in the car and ultimately ruin the engine. If this happens, it will cost you a significant amount of money.
To avoid this, ask your mechanic to show you how to check your oil correctly, and commit to changing the oil every 3,000 to 5,000 miles or 4,828 to 8,046 kilometres. While you may hear oil manufacturers claim that their oil can last longer, if you want to maximise your engine reliability and efficiency for years to come, you don’t want to use the same oil for more than 8,046 kilometres.
If you hear any strange noises coming from your car, then you want to take it to the mechanic as soon as possible. If you notice a louder-than-usual engine noise or exhaust smoke, or can smell oil, then you probably need an oil change immediately.
Alternatively, if you hear screeching and other odd noises or feel faulty steering or strange vibrations when you drive, you may be dealing with premature wheel bearing damage. This is one of the most common vehicle issues that car owners have; however, they can lead to costly replacements if not dealt with as soon as possible. Protecting your wheel bearings from external dirt and dust is crucial for maintaining their functionality.
4. Properly store the vehicle
If you are going to leave your car sitting in place for a couple of weeks without being driven, you want to ensure that you are properly storing it. Otherwise, it will begin to break down and will likely not start the next time you want to drive it. This includes covering it with a car cover to regulate its temperature and filling the gas tank and the tyres.
Even a new car battery can die if it is left too long without a charge. Generally, this will happen after a car has been left untouched for two to three weeks; however, it will take less time if the weather is cold. Therefore, if possible, ask a friend or someone you trust to start the car every couple of days to maintain the battery. Alternatively, you can purchase a battery tender that prevents a discharge or unhook the negative battery cable to stop it from dying.
What steps do you take to ensure that you maintain your car? In what ways do you think you improve your habits? Share with us your thoughts and relevant ideas in the comments below!
Antonio Al Asmar is the General Manager at CAFU, the UAE’s first fuel delivery application bringing value to cities and communities by making refuelling cars more accessible. CAFU is an “on-demand” contactless fuel delivery service that will fill up your vehicle with petrol or diesel while you’re at home, work, or play for the same price as the petrol station, with no delivery fees.