Getting that very first car is a big step and life changing event for most young people. A car means potential popularity, independence, and a chance to prove to friends and family that they are mature. For many first time car owners the actual care and long term maintenance of the new vehicle (outside of washing it occasionally) doesn’t even factor into the equation. Ironically enough many of the roadside assistance calls that new car owners make could have been avoided by basic, routine, maintenance.
One of the first things you should always remember is to get your oil changed every 3,000 miles. More than a few people have failed emissions checks and/or ended up having to pay for hundreds of dollars worth of repair simply because they have neglected to get their oil changed. To find out who does oil changes check out your local yellow pages or ask friends and family. Many repair shops offer discounted oil changes several times a year in order to attract new customers so keep your eyes peeled for these sales.
Another thing that can help keep your new car running smoothly is to take advantage of fuel injector cleaner that is sold at almost all gas stations and in chain stores. Adding a bottle fuel injector cleaner to your fuel tank before getting gas can really do wonders. The cleaner removes excess deposits as you drive which helps your car to run noticeably smoother.
Replacing wind shield wipers whenever they become worn is also something that can be extremely useful down the line. There is nothing worse than sitting on the side of the road during a downpour because your wind shield wipers are too old and worn to improve your visibility. Some people go so far as to replace their wind shield wipers each time they get an oil change just to make sure they are never caught in a bad storm with worn wipers.
Last, but not least, keep an eye on your tires. Check your tires often for excessive wear, punctures, and low pressure. Invest in a small pressure checker from your local automotive store or gas station so that you can check your tires to be sure that their pressure is what the owner’s manual recommends. There is nothing worse than getting in your car only to discover that your tire is completely, and totally flat.
In addition to maintaining your car properly, always be prepared for the worst case scenarios. Be sure that you have a spare tire in your car and that you know how to put it on your vehicle in case you get a flat. Keep emergency supplies in your trunk at all time, first aid kits, bottled water, blankets, flashlights, and some snacks in case you are stranded for a long period of time during inclement weather.