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Buying Tips

Looking after your car

Quick Tips:

  • Maximise reliability.
  • Protect value.
  • Regular checks.
  • Service car.
  • Budget for repairs.
  • Tyre pressure.

Once you’ve bought a car, you’ll need to keep it in good condition if you want to maximise its reliability and safety and get top value when you sell it. A simple maintenance routine will go a long way to extending the trouble-free life of your vehicle.

Preventative Maintenance Daily

  • Walk around your car and check the tyres all appear to have even pressure.
  • On start-up, check all the gauges and warning lights are operating normally. Monitor them frequently during driving too.
  • Note any abnormalities such as sluggish or difficult start-up, or any unusual noises. Get your mechanic to check anything unusual.
  • Check that all exterior lights are working. When parking the car in the garage at night, simply close the garage door, turn the ignition and lights on, and check their reflection against the walls. Don’t run the car’s engine in a closed garage.

Weekly, or prior to a long trip

  • Check all oil and fluid levels. Include the engine oil, auto transmission fluid, engine coolant, power steering fluid, brake and clutch, battery and windscreen washer fluid.
  • Learn how to do a simple, visual inspection under the bonnet to identify deterioration or changes you want your mechanic to investigate.
  • See your car manual, or at your next service ask the mechanic to show you what components you can check regularly. Consider doing a car care course.
  • Your owner’s manual and the RACQ leaflet Facts on Routine Maintenancegive more information on carrying out the above checks.

Body

Cleaning and polishing the exterior and interior of the car regularly will:

  • enhance its appearance
  • keep paintwork from deteriorating
  • help prevent rust, and
  • help preserve its value.

Tyre pressure

  • Check tyre pressure when the tyres are cool (recommended tyre pressure for normal driving will be found on the tyre placard and in the owner’s handbook.)
  • Incorrect tyre pressure reduces tyre life, affects fuel consumption and vehicle handling. I nvest in a tyre pressure gauge or if you haven’t travelled more than a couple of kilometres, you can check your tyre pressure when you fill up with fuel.
  •   Don’t forget to check the spare tyre from time to time as well. It should be given a little higher pressure than those on the road to compensate for pressure loss over time.

Servicing

It pays to have your car serviced regularly. Regular servicing keeps down long term repair costs and can draw attention to minor repairs which will help prevent more costly ones later on.
By following the manufacturer’s service schedule and service intervals, your car will receive the correct ongoing maintenance.
Select a reputable service centre that has the expertise and the equipment to service your particular make of car.
Generally, as a car gets older wear and tear takes its toll – you can count on spending more money on unscheduled repairs to maintain its reliability.
When having your car serviced, ask your repairer to advise you of any repairs that may be imminent. This will allow you to factor into your finances these future repair costs.