There’s nothing quite like the feeling of driving off the dealer lot with a brand-new car. You finally got the new car that you’ve wanted for years, the right make, model and style. The reality hits that you need to continue to take care of your new car. Here are some tips to keep in mind when maintaining the newness of your car.

First Things First

Choose a good insurance company. It is important to have good car insurance in the event of an accident (knock on wood). You want to make sure your new car can get the proper original parts it needs should any kind of damage or malfunction arise.

Paint

The heat of the sun can break apart paint and cause it to fade and crack. Experts say that car covers help prevent damage not only form the sun, but also from dust and other exposures. If you get a nick or need a touch-up – do it now! Paint does not stick to rust well.

Wax on – wax off. Or wax your car. It can be a lot of work, but it helps keep your car looking new by preserving the paint and keeping pollution away. Use a small amount of wax to apply to your car’s surface with a damp sponge. After the wax has dried, use a soft cloth to remove wax. Make sure to apply an extra coat to the hood and nose where wax will fade quicker.

Tires

At least once a month, check the tire pressure (especially in extreme heat or cold). Check when tires are cold, or after driving less than a mile for correct reading. Make sure those little caps on each tire are there! If you find a flat tire – more than likely a missing cap is the culprit.

Also, check the tire tread. Make sure the wear is even. Uneven wear can indicate the wheels are out of alignment which may also mean the brakes/shocks are being used incorrectly. Rotate tires at least every six months to ensure you get the maximum life out of tires,

Engine

Those annoying flashing lights on your dash mean something is wrong under the hood. To prevent them from coming on frequently, you want to make sure to check your brake fluid monthly. Always use the correct fluid and never use fluid already exposed to air.

It is often advised to check your oil every 6-months as well. Drive for at least 15 minutes before checking oil to get a proper, accurate reading. You want to also change your oil frequently to keep dirt and particles out of the engine, but don’t overfill the crankcase!

It’s Winter

Winterize your car! Even if you bought your car yesterday, you need to make sure it is ready to deal with the harsh cold of winter. Coolant or antifreeze is the most important part of winterizing, says DMV.org. It helps the radiator from freezing and leaving you sit in the middle of the road. Check your tires’ air pressure, especially when the roads are wet and slick.

Don’t forget about the inside of your car as well! Floor mats are the best way to keep your car squeaky clean. They help protect the floor from all the snow, salt and slush that we bring in. Also, keep an emergency kit in your trunk filled with: flashlights, blanket, ice scraper, coolant, sand/ kitty litter

What to Check When

According to Consumer Reports you need to maintain your car by doing the following:

Monthly: check engine oil, check tire pressure, check air filters, inspect exhaust system, look at brakes, and check fluids, clean radiator, check battery

Bi-Yearly: drain and flush cooling system, change automatic transmission fluid, replace belts and hoses, change timing belt

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