Buying a car is truly one of the most exciting times of one’s life. But novice owners typically get too enthralled about the possibilities of their new ride or get so caught up in the ever-complex bureaucratic process of buying a vehicle that they forget simple steps once they claim car ownership. Here are five tips and tricks for first-time car owners.
Read Your Car’s Manual
Your dealer will give you a stack of paperwork, brochures, and pamphlets along with the keys to your new ride. It’s important to read these resources, particularly the owner’s manual, to get a better sense of what your car is designed to do and how to best maintain it. Your car owner’s manual is rich with information, including safety features, maintenance needs, pressure levels and gauges, and so on. If you prefer reading on-the-go, most car manufacturers today provide a free digital copy of your car owner’s manual on their website.
Wash Your Car
It’s a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many car owners don’t do it regularly enough. A regular car wash helps protect your car’s exterior from dirt, dust, and grime that crust up and damage its coating. Consider investing in proper cleaning equipment that’s graded for car use or bring it to a car wash station that already has said equipment. While wheel shine and spray-on wax are optional, some extras do make sense to purchase, particularly the undercarriage wash. Get it done after wintertime to wash off the accumulated road salt.
Know Your Insurance Needs and Options
Conduct research prior to deciding which insurance company and coverage you should sign up for. Different companies will provide you with different quotes based on a number of factors, including age, driving experience, location, and mileage per year. Luckily, there are online tools and mobile apps that can help you comparison shop for auto insurance plans so that you don’t find yourself financially at risk in the event of a car accident.
Find a Reliable Mechanic
A good mechanic can help prolong your car’s lifespan, can prevent the high costs of repair and parts replacement, and can teach you valuable DIY maintenance tips. If you’re purchasing a secondhand vehicle, it’s best to have a mechanic with you to inspect the car before making an offer as well. Mechanics can help weed out inferior parts and mechanical issues that need to be addressed or factored into the final sale price.
Keep an Emergency Kit in Your Car Trunk
Whether it’s egregious road conditions or a flat tire out of nowhere, there are unavoidable roadside emergencies that can render your car inoperable. Having an emergency kit on hand can keep you safe while waiting for assistance. A spare tire, whistle, flashlight with batteries, some snacks, water bottles, and a car jack are a few things you’ll want to have in your emergency kit.
Car ownership is a luxury that comes with a set of unique responsibilities. Follow the aforementioned tips to stay safe and efficient while on the road.