It’s easy to underestimate the commitment involved with owning a car. After all, TV advertisements and fancy billboards don’t show drivers changing the oil or trying to prevent bird ‘splatter.’ They only show the exciting, exhilarating aspects of motoring, because there’s nothing flashy about pumping up tyres on a gas station forecourt.
The thing to remember is that, in exchange for all of this commitment, drivers get something which cannot be bought; the freedom to go wherever they like, whenever they choose. This is the real reward of owning a car and the oily, greasy maintenance is a small price to pay for most. So, if you’re thinking about buying your first vehicle, it’s time to learn the ropes.
This guide to becoming an accomplished motorist will help you get out on the road.
Secure the Right Credit
The majority of people don’t save up to buy a car. They take out a line of credit, use it to pay for a vehicle in full, and then return the money over a period of months or years. Ultimately, car loans are a key aspect of modern vehicle ownership, so you need to get to grips with them.
The state of your credit report will determine what kind of loan you are eligible to borrow. It’s a good idea to complete a credit check before you apply so that there are no nasty surprises. Then, use the internet to find out the average monthly repayments on the vehicle you want.
Try to Keep It Clean
For younger drivers, one of the toughest challenges can be simply keeping the car clean. Often, it feels like an afterthought. It’s only dirt; how big a problem can it really be? Well, there are all kinds of substances (bird splatter included) which actually cause the metal to corrode.
Dead bugs, smog, tree sap, acidic rain, UV rays, and salt will all eat away at paint. You need to wash the outside of the vehicle at least once per month, more if you park it in a particularly grimy spot. Don’t forget to hoover the inside carpets and scrub the interior windows too.
Check the Tyre Pressure
Keeping an eye on tyre pressure is one of the most important jobs for a motorist. It has a direct impact on the safety of your driving. Improperly inflated tyres are at greater risk of a blowout and you do not want this to happen. You could easily spin out of control and cause an accident.
Also, carefully maintained tyres reward drivers with better fuel economy and a longer lifespan. So, if you want to save money on vehicle repairs, looking after your rubber is the best way to do it. You can buy your own tyre pump or fill up (for a few dollars) at gas stations.
Check Your Oil Levels
Checking the oil is just as important. This substance is integral to the smooth performance of your car. If it runs dry, the vehicle is at risk of a breakdown. Fortunately, taking a reading is really easy and you can do it in minutes. All you need is a dipstick and a paper towel.
With the engine open, locate the oil tank. Withdraw the dipstick and wipe it off with the paper towel. Now, insert it again, wait a moment or two, and withdraw it a second time. The oil level should be between the two lines or dots marked on the bottom of the stick. If not, top it up.
Rotate the Tyres
This is something which even experienced drivers forget to do. However, it affects the performance, efficiency, and safety of the car. Every 5,000-10,000 miles (it doesn’t have to be exact), rotate the tyres in a circular fashion.
In other words, move either clockwise or counterclockwise. This is a useful action because your front and rear tyres wear at different speeds. Rotating them ensures that you don’t end up with two extremely worn wheels, instead evenly distributed wear. It will help to save you money.