10 Tips to Keep Your Car in Tip Top Shape

Date: Feb 07, 2017

AAA provides much more than roadside assistance. Did you know they offer trip planning, auto insurance, and great discounts on products and services? Additionally, we love to help our customers take great care of their vehicles, so they’ll be happily driving them for years to come. To that end, here are our 10 best tips for keeping your car in tip-top shape:

  1. Oil and lube - This is the one thing, done regularly, that can extend the life of your car the most. Regular oil and filter changes, along with lubrication of all moving parts, helps your engine last longer.

  2. Repairs and other maintenance - If your car is under manufacturer’s warranty, taking it to the dealer or a certified mechanic for maintenance is our best advice. Did you know that attempting some maintenance on a new vehicle can void its warranty? It’s true, so we’d rather see you be safe than sorry. However, if your vehicle is out of warranty, tackling a few things on your own can save you some serious money. Your vehicle’s repair manual is the best tool to have on hand, and they are easily found at auto parts stores and online.

  3. Good rubber - Keeping the air pressure equal in your tires extends their useful life, increases your gas mileage and makes it handle better on the road. Many tire stores offer cooling nitrogen gas fills that extend tire life; your tires will last longer if you take advantage of nitrogen. Using a good-quality air gauge to check your tire pressure regularly will help you keep them inflated properly.

  4. Shiny and bright - If you take good care of your car’s paint job, it will stay shiny and rust-free. Microfiber cloths are great for cleaning and waxing without scratching or hazing your vehicle’s clear coat. Hosing off the undercarriage regularly removes dirt and winter salt, keeping rust at bay. Waxing every six months is a good preventive measure.

  5. Level up - Checking your engine oil and other fluids regularly can catch any small issues before they turn into big problems. The best time to check your oil level is when the car is cool, but with the transmission fluid the opposite is true. Your owner’s manual will give you some additional pointers on other fluids, as they vary by model.

  6. Park cool - You can protect both the paint and interior by keeping your car out of the sun as much as possible. Park in the shade when practical, use a window sunshade, and UV protectant on plastic, vinyl and leather to keep them from drying out.

  7. Replace as needed - Mechanical parts wear out over time, and it is best to try to get a jump by replacing them before they fail. Timing belts are a prime example; the owner’s manual will tell you when the best time is to replace them so you are not stranded on the road.

  8. Interior ease - The plastic, metal, wood, leather or fabric materials that make up the interior of your car need some love now and then to keep sparkling clean and in good shape. Keep these surfaces clean and use good quality protectants to keep them in top shape.

  9. No idling - Leaving an engine idling for more than a few minutes causes incomplete fuel combustion and soot deposits on many of the engine components, as well as oil contamination.

  10. Gently - The way you drive your car has a big impact on how long it lasts. If you rev your engine when starting it, it can cause it to wear out prematurely. Squealing around corners can take a toll on your tires. Rapid acceleration also causes lots of engine wear, so be gentle with your baby.

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