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Marshal McLuhan wrote in 1964 that “The car has become the carapace, the protective and aggressive shell, of urban and suburban man.”
The metal and plastic that make up our cars protect us from the elements during our regular commute, but cars themselves need protection, too. Protection from the very same elements, protection from other humans who might damage or steal them, and even protection from us, their owners.
It would be pointless to own a car and not use it. However, your level of commitment to maintaining your vehicle will allow you to enjoy it much longer. Here are some tips for ways you can protect your investment, inside and out.
1. Stick to the Service Schedule
Sometimes people get the idea that they can stash a few shillings away by stretching the life of their oil or avoiding an appointment for service with the dealer. The problem with that approach is that the neglect of your car will come back to cost you more.
2. Park Indoors
These days, there are many high-tech solutions to car theft. One of the best, however, is more apparent than you might think. Keep your car secure by storing it in your garage. If it means doing a little reorganizing, go to the trouble. Tracking down a stolen car is complicated and car thieves often leave your vehicle in terrible condition.
3. Keep Things Cool Under the Hood
Internal combustion engines generate heat, so your car’s cooling system is a critical component to ensuring it can run in the optimal temperature range. Learn how to check your coolant and replace it when needed.
4. Protect Your Paint and Bodywork
If you’ve got a little room to work, it’s easy to keep your car clean and protect your paint without paying for professional service. If you want to take things up a notch, you can invest in products like polishing service and sealants that will prolong the appearance of your paint for years.
5. Don’t Empty your Tank
We’ve all had to cross our fingers and drive home on empty before, but your car’s fuel pump has to work much harder when you do this. Keep a little gas in the tank to avoid shelling out for a new pump early on.
6. Change Your Brake Pads
The pads on your car’s brakes are wear items. If they get too thin, you can damage your car’s brake rotors. While rotors are replaceable, they aren’t nearly as cheap as pads, so take it easy on them by replacing your pads when they’re low.
7. Make Yourself Visible
Just like the bulbs in your kitchen, the bulbs in your car’s headlights eventually dim and burn out. This can be dangerous, because it makes you difficult for other people to spot, and impacts your ability to see. Polish your lenses so they stay clear and install fresh bulbs to ensure you remain visible.
8. Fight Rust with Oil
Those who live in areas where oxidization is likely to occur can use a time-tested trick to deter rust. That is, spray down the underside of your vehicle with oil. It can be a little messy, and we encourage you to find an environmentally friendly method, but it works.
9. Apply an Alcohol-Based Glass Protector to Your Windshield
Have you ever wondered how some products help water and rain sheet of your car’s windshield? They use a sophisticated solution that includes alcohol to create a smooth surface that rain doesn’t get caught on. That allows you to see and drive better in the rain.
10. Get Rubber Floor Mats
We often think about protection for the exterior of our cars, but dirt and grime get pressed into your car’s carpets each time you get in. A set of custom rubberized floor mats will protect your car from weather and make cleaning a snap.
If you can consistently manage each one of the items on this list, you’ll probably be the owner of a well-running, easy-to-live-with vehicle for a long time. Getting new cars can be fun, but living with one you don’t have to worry about is a much less stressful way to go through life.