There’s nothing more freeing than getting the keys to your first car. You’ve saved up for your down payment, you’ve done the research, you’ve considered gas mileage, and now you have your first vehicle in your name.
But now that you own a car, it’s important that you take good care of it. The last thing you want is a busted budget and a plummeting credit score because of a car accident you were at-fault for.
That said, here are a few ways you can make sure to take good care of your first vehicle so it lasts as long as possible while you’re on the road.
Wash your vehicle regularly
When it comes to car washes, your first thought might be that your car only needs a good wash after it’s rained or you have mud caked on your tires. But the general rule of thumb is to wash your vehicle approximately every two weeks.
Steel may be the most recycled material on Earth with about 90% of recycled content, but the steel and aluminum of your vehicle can easily become compromised by water, dirt, and debris. The longer you go without washing your vehicle, the more likely you’ll have to deal with rust.
Change your oil when you’re supposed to
Over 4 billion metric tons of oil are produced every year, but you’d be surprised by just how many drivers forget to change their oil when they’re supposed to. In fact, some drivers don’t actually know when they’re supposed to change their oil.
Not changing your car’s oil when you’re supposed to can cause a lot of problems for your engine. Your engine can:
- Lose efficiency
- Shorten its lifespan
Most vehicles can go approximately 5,000 miles before they need an oil change, but experts recommend changing your car’s oil about every 3,000 miles or once every three months.
Remember to double-check your blind spots
When drivers think of checking their blind spots, many think of checking for motorcycles. And it’s true that you ought to double-check for motorcyclists while you’re on the road. In 2017, up to 472,000 motorcycles were sold in the U.S. and 248,550 were sold in Canada.
But it isn’t just motorcyclists you need to be on the lookout for. Motorists who only do a quick glance in their mirrors before switching lanes are at a greater risk of getting into a car accident.
In fact, auto accidents are the number one most common type of personal injury case (and approximately 10 million crashes go unreported each year). That said, whether you hear a motorcyclist behind you or not, remember to double-check your blind spots before changing lanes, backing up, or merging. Don’t assume another driver will get out of your way.
Whether it’s your first car or your third, it’s important to make sure that you’re taking good care of your vehicle. Proper maintenance and caution on the road can reduce your risk of motor vehicle accidents and break downs.