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Maintenance Tips For Your New-To-You Used Car

“New-to-you” is a mantra that has been at the forefront of resale, but we think it really speaks to the nature of buying things used, especially in today’s economy. As of the mid to late 2010s, Millennials became the largest consumer group in the nation, and that shook up the way that we buy. Most importantly - Millennials brought the idea of the cyclical economy to the limelight. In other words, this consumer group is focused on stimulating the economy not by using raw materials to make new things, but by emphasizing making quality goods the first time so that they may be recycled and reused.

AutoBank is behind the cyclical economy 100% and is committed to helping our customers find and maintain the right car for them - regardless of whether it is new or used. As well as providing our customers with quality used cars, we also want our customers to understand that proper car maintenance will go a long way toward keeping a car running its best. Want to hold on to your vehicle for a long time? You’ll have to put in a little maintenance work.

Here are our top tips for keeping your car in tip-top shape.

1) Keep your windshield clean and replace your wiper blades at the first sign of wear.

car maintenance tipsYour windshield is your first line of defense when you are driving your car, and maintaining it is not something you should take lightly. Even the slightest dirt on the windshield can make a massive difference in the safety of your driving at night. At night, light reflects off the dirt and makes it much harder to see, which equates to elevated driving danger. To avoid this, pay special attention to your windshield. Be sure to wash the windshield each time you stop to get gas and replace it at the first sign of cracks. Additionally, wiper blades should be changed out at the first sign of wear.

2) Check your engine fluid levels at least once a month, and always check before taking a long trip.

Your engine fluids are a significant motivating factor behind your car remaining in shape. Once a month, pop open the hood when the engine is cold. Check the engine oil as you would typically by pulling out the dipstick, wiping it down, sticking it back in, and then checking the levels and clarity. Then, check to make sure your coolant levels are okay. For cars with power steering (most modern vehicles) check the power steering fluid levels - they should be between the minimum and maximum levels. Then, check your brake fluid. If it is too low, refill it and take it to get checked immediately, as it may be a sign of more significant issues. Finally, make sure you always have enough windshield washer fluid.

3) Check your air filter once every three months and replace it if it is dirty.

The air filter is one of the most essential parts of the car that car owners neglect. A dirty air filter can decrease your mph, increase your car’s emissions, and can ultimately put more strain on your engine (which means a shorter lifespan for your engine). If your air filter looks dirty, replace it immediately - we promise you’ll notice the difference.

4) Know your car’s optimal tire pressure and check the pressure regularly.

You shouldn’t just fill the air in your tires up willy-nilly. Not only is doing so dangerous, but it can also heighten the chance of a blowout and ruin your tires altogether. Refer to your manual for the right air pressure for your car, then invest in a tire pressure gauge. Check your tire’s pressure at least once a month, after driving on rough roads, and frequently when the weather gets colder.

5) Refer to your manual for oil change mileage and be sure to schedule oil changes regularly.

The industry standard for oil changes used to be every 3,000-5,000 miles. However, with modern cars, this range is much more variable, usually allowing for more time between changes. Your manual will help you understand the right oil change rate for your vehicle, and you should stick to it for optimal engine performance.

6) Have someone help you check your lights once a month.

Lights can go out more often than you think. Once a month, have someone help you check your headlights, high-beams, turn signals, brake lights, and reverse lights. If any are out, schedule a visit to your mechanic ASAP. Failure to have these lights is not only dangerous but can cost you time and money in traffic tickets.

7) Rotate your tires regularly, and replace them once they no longer have enough tread to be safe.

Rotating your tires regularly can prolong their life, and it is a quick and easy process at any mechanic. However, you will eventually need new tires. Please don’t wait until your tread is balding to change them - any time your tire tread is lower than 4/32 inches.

8) Washing isn’t about vanity - make sure you do it regularly.

Washing a car might seem superficial. However, it can save you from having to repaint your exterior down the line. Rust on cars happens when outside elements - like salt or dirt - create tiny scratches in the paint for moisture to get into. Washing dirt and salt off a car ensures the paint on your vehicle lasts longer.

9) Keep your car’s interior clean.

Keeping your car’s interior clean is also extremely important. This will help keep the resale value high for when it comes time for you to get a new car.

10) Take a half a day and read through your car’s owner’s manual.

Reading through the owner’s manual might seem tedious, but contains a wealth of knowledge about car maintenance that is particular to your car’s make and model alone. Read through the manual when you buy your car, take notes on maintenance schedules, and keep a maintenance log in your vehicle. You’ll thank yourself later.

Do you live in Gladstone, Parkville, Liberty, or Greater Kansas City area and have no car to maintain? AutoBank can help. We offer competitive used car financing regardless of credit. Click here to get started on a financing application, or stop by one of our Kansas City locations today.