For many people, their cars are their pride and joy. For an even smaller group, they are also a cherished hobby.
Unfortunately, for many of us — even those of us who do take a serious interest in all things automotive — our cars may become neglected, especially if they aren’t the kinds of rides that we daydream about owning.
Is your car filled with old receipts, paper bags, parking tickets, energy drink cans, or other stray bits of detritus? Is your car more or less caked with mud and dust on the outside, even though you can’t remember ever driving through a field or anywhere near one recently?
There are all sorts of services on offer to help us to take care of our cars, and ourselves when serious issues develop. For example, it’s not hard to find a good car accident lawyer to take up your case if you’ve been involved in an accident that wasn’t your fault.
But when it comes to the day-to-day business of taking pride in your vehicle and better care of it, many of the tips seem rather straightforward — it’s just a matter of doing them.
To that end, we’ve compiled four tender loving care (TLC) tips to help rejuvenate your ride.
1. Declutter and Dump the Trash
If you have a busy schedule, your car may quickly become cluttered.
Between driving to and from work, rushing out to go grocery shopping, and taking your children to their games, you may have left all sorts of odds and ends in your vehicle, with plans to clean it out soon.
However, all too often, “sometime soon” can end up spiraling into “maybe eventually,” with the consequence being that all of those stray handwritten notes, fast food wrappers and containers, paper products, receipts, and anything else you may have accumulated end up turning the inside of your car into a real mess.
It’s difficult to feel good about your car or to take good care of it if the inside is completely cluttered and smells like something from a deep fryer.
Make a point to set aside some time to thoroughly clean out, clean up, and organize your vehicle. This can also be a good time to run a car vacuum around the interior, removing dust and debris that may have accumulated, and hang an air freshener.
Since this process may take a while, it can be a great opportunity to choose an audiobook, podcast or soundtrack to listen to, and to get a pair of headphones so that you can stay entertained while you sort things out. Then promise yourself to “clean as you go” in the future to avoid having to deal with such a mess again.
2. Take it to the Car Wash
It’s no secret that other people are likely to judge your car badly if it’s completely covered in dust or mud. Moreover, they may even write some hilarious message in the dust with their finger while you’re in the store. At the same time, your personal perspective about your dirty ride may impact how you consider your car as well. Indeed, it is just difficult to take your car seriously, to really appreciate it, or to get the most out of it if it’s caked in grime.
Fortunately, getting the outside of your car cleaned up is usually just as simple as driving it to a local automated car wash service to clean it.
Sure, maybe your car could benefit from an even more in-depth clean-up and polishing job, but simply taking it down to the car wash can, in many cases, be good enough to make it look new, and feel a lot more valuable, too.
3. Service Your Car
Cars naturally accumulate wear and tear over time and start performing poorly to the point where things really start breaking down. Before you know it, you’re facing expensive repairs or seriously considering replacing the vehicle altogether.
Long before your car experiences expensive maintenance problems, though, it’s likely to show signs of trouble that set the stage for future issues to develop.
We recommend diligently following the maintenance schedule as outlined in the owner’s manual for accomplishing needed car care. By following the schedule, you’ll minimize the chance that you’ll face expensive repairs due to something like a broken timing belt, worn rotors, old transmission fluid, or a broken exhaust pipe.
4. Take it on Longer Journeys More Frequently
Although it may seem counterintuitive, it can actually be good for your car to take it on longer drives, and to drive at relatively faster speeds, fairly often.
Certain features of a car such as a DPF filter may rely on you driving longer distances at faster speeds in order to clear them and to continue working well. Moreover, your car’s battery will charge itself on longer drives as well.
If you mostly drive very short distances and at slow speeds throughout the week, taking your car on longer journeys more often may prove beneficial.
Enjoy Your Ride, Longer
Pride in ownership means you’re more likely to take care of your car and enjoy a higher resale value when it comes time to sell. It can also become a safety issue if you neglect important maintenance “due items” as they arise.
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