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How to Maintain Your New or Used Car

The feeling you get when you purchase a brand new or used car can be quite exciting. You've made a big decision, a big financial commitment, and have taken on a new responsibility. Just like caring for your home, there are certain steps you must take to ensure the lifespan of your vehicle. Vehicle value depreciates over time, so it takes a lot of care from the owner to keep the car looking and running well for years to come.

Here are a few things you can do to keep your new car well maintained...

Don't skip the manual.
Every vehicle comes with an owner's manual. If you're purchasing your car used, make sure that you receive the manual with your purchase. Once you get your new vehicle home, take some time to sit down and read through the owner's manual. It's filled with important information about your car, how you ought to maintain it, etc. The manual will let you know when you should take your car in for an oil change, will help you to know what types of fluids it may need, etc. It will also guide you as to what types of services your car may need in the future, and give you an idea of some of the things you might be able to maintain on your own without having to go to a repair shop or dealership.

General maintenance.
Cars require maintenance and a lot of care. They can be expensive to have fixed if major problems occur. If you take small steps to care for your car as part of your general routine, you will be less likely to encounter major issues down the road. Some of the things to keep on top of would be checking tires, and replacing them as needed. Listen out for your brakes to make sure they aren't squeaking or squealing. Often times, brakes can be repaired without having to go to an auto shop. Keep on top of oil changes, track your mileage, and check fluid levels often, as well. Make sure to replace wiper blades when they become dull, and keep wiper fluid in your vehicle, as well.

Keep your car clean.
Keeping a vehicle clean (both inside and out) is often easier said than done. If you're single, or travel in your vehicle primarily alone, you only have to worry about your own mess. If you have a family, kids, pets, or travel with a partner or spouse, it may me much more of a challenge to keep your vehicle clean. In any case, it's a good idea to keep an organizer in the car, and keep it filled with small trash bags, wipes, and a lint roller. If these items are in the vehicle, adults, and older children can use them to help keep the car clean. Limit children's items and food in the car, as needed. Keep a cover over the back seat if you have pets traveling with you.

Wash and vacuum out your car on a regular basis. Many vehicle owners will go entire seasons without washing their cars, which can lead to problems in the future. Take one day a month to clean out the inside of the car, and wash the exterior.

These simple, yet effective tips will help to keep your vehicle in tip-top shape for years to come.

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