1. Stick to your car maintenance schedule
Sometimes if things seem to be ticking over nicely, it’s tempting to let that call from your car service centre go to voicemail and save yourself some money. Ignoring regular maintenance on your car can lead to big trouble though, because maintaining your vehicle is what prevents issues from occurring later on.
2. Know your vehicle fluidsIt’s important to teach yourself (or have someone else teach you) how to check the oil levels in your car. Yes, an oil change is usually done at your car service, but periodically checking your engine oil can identify if your car is using too much oil for whatever reason, and can also prevent your engine from blowing up!
3. Check your headlights and tail lightsEven a good mechanic may not be looking at your headlights or tail lights, after all, car engines are their jam. Not only is a dim or broken headlight or tail light a safety concern, but you can be fined for having lights out. A good way to check your car’s lights is to get a family member or friend to help check when the car is on (but stationary). This should include your brake lights as well.
4. Don’t ignore your check engine lightYour engine light on your dashboard should never be ignored if it comes on; it’s a warning to you that something’s not quite right. It could be as simple as needing an oil change or engine air filter, but always get a mechanic to check it out ASAP if your light comes on.
5. Always have a spare tyreOur tyres are pivotal for safe driving, but often get the least amount of attention. No-one wants a flat tyre on the side of the highway, but it does happen — slow air leaks are often hard to spot until it’s too late. Keeping a spare tyre in the boot of your car should be on every car owner’s to do list. If you’re willing, then learning how to change a car tyre could also really get you out of strife on the side of the road.
6. Know the feel of your carYou don’t need to be a rally car driver to get a feel for how your car drives. If you feel any unusual vibration, pulling, knocking or rattling when you’re driving, then it’s time to get it checked out. Chances are that your suspension or shock absorbers may need some attention, or your wheels need a balance.
7. Be prepared for an emergencyIn any emergency or breakdown, there’s always a safety concern — not only for you, but for your passengers and other motorists. Having an emergency kit on board could make all the difference. Car owners should consider having:
- A first aid kit,
- Spare tyre & car jack,
- Notepad and pen,
- Written down phone numbers of your emergency contacts (in case you can’t remember them, or someone else needs them),
- Jumper cables,
- Extra Engine Oil or other vehicle fluids (particularly if you have an older model car),
- A roadside assistance membership or a good mechanic who does call outs.
8. Keep an eye on your tyre pressureKeeping an eye on the air pressure in your tyres can identify if you’re going to get a flat tyre soon, but it also means that your car can drive at its best when the tyres are at their correct pressure. Almost every fuel station has an ‘air and water’ station where you can fill them up.
9. Do your research before buyingEvery car owner should know to do their due diligence before buying a vehicle. Especially if you’re buying a pre-loved vehicle, looking at the maintenance records and having it inspected thoroughly by a qualified mechanic should absolutely be on your checklist.
10. Drive safelyDriving responsibly comes with the obvious safety benefits, but there are a couple of other benefits too. When you drive safely, you’re reducing the chances of damaging the exterior of your car (in a crash) and reducing the chances of damage to the interior (motor, gears, clutch etc). By looking after your vehicle, you should find that it stays fresh for longer.
Disclaimer: The information above is of a general nature only and does not consider your personal objectives, financial situation or particular needs. You should consider seeking independent advice regarding your legal, financial, taxation or other needs, to check how the information relates to your particular circumstances. We do not accept responsibility for any loss arising from the use of, or reliance on, the information. All loan applications are subject to normal lending criteria. Fees and charges payable. Terms and conditions apply.