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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Automotive Maintenance For The Car Owner

By Maia Descartes

If you are a car owner, you no doubt realize that your motor vehicle is the second biggest investment you will ever make, after your house. Since you will most likely own a couple of cars over the course of a lifetime, chances are that you will eventually even spend more on cars than on your house. Automotive maintenance is therefore something that should be very high on your list of priorities.

Something very important that one has to remember when it comes to motor cars, is that prevention is indeed better than cure. If your car has to stand outside day after day, exposed to rain, snow, wind and sun, the paintwork is soon going to start fading and the vehicle will begin to rust. The seats will before long be cracked and the tires will also not last as long they as they otherwise would have.

Even if you can't afford an enclosed garage therefore, try to at least build a carport where you can park your car to protect it against the elements. The sun is very bad for the paintwork and regular exposure to frost and overnight dew isn't going to do it much good either. Although not perfect, a carport will at least protect the car against the worst onslaught of the elements.

As part of your maintenance plan, you should regularly have your car washed and treated with a good car polish. The purpose of this is much more than aesthetics: a car that is seldom washed will collect damaging chemicals and other residue on the paintwork, which will eventually cause it to fade or rust. A good quality car polish don't only provide protection against this, but also protects the paintwork against harmful UV rays from the sun.

Another important preventative measure is to rotate the wheels of the car on a regular basis. This will ensure equal wear and tear of the tires. Not doing so could result in one or more of the tires wearing off on one side only and having to be replaced long before it was necessary.

Also have your car's break pads tested regularly. It's not very expensive to have break pads replaced. Waiting until they have been completely worn out, however, will result in unnecessary friction and heat build-up which will eventually necessitate the replacement of other, much more expensive parts.

If you have no choice but to park your car in an open car park every day (for example at work) you should buy the best car polish you can afford and treat the dashboard (instrument panel) and seats on a regular basis with a vinyl or leather polish to protect it against the sun. Not only will your car always look great inside, but it will also remain doing so for many years.

Something else that you should do regularly is to check the oil levels in your car's engine, power steering and gearbox. Driving a car with an empty gearbox or engine will undoubtedly result in costly repairs. If you spot an oil leak, have it fixed before the engine runs dry and you end up with a massive repair bill.

To regularly carry out preventative automotive maintenance will not cost you a fortune. It can, however, save you a fortune. If you care about one of the most expensive purchases you will ever make, therefore, you will be very diligent in this regard.

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