The United States is known for being a nation of cars, and over 200 million Americans own a valid driver’s license today. Each day, millions of cars and trucks are driving on the roads and highways, and routine car maintenance will keep a car running longer. Such routine car maintenance varies from rotating the tires to changing the oil filter to cleaning out the interior amenities. Meanwhile, what about purchasing a car if you have minimal or no credit, and what if your car gets into an accident and suffers some damage? Whatever may happen, there are professionals who can help, and this ranged from bad credit financing to pounding out car body dents with special tools and rotating the tires.
Understand Your Car Purchase Options
Before any topics about routine car maintenance, there is the question of buying a car. Some Americans choose to lease a car, and some don’t even need one at all. But speaking generally, Americans like to buy cars, and this means knowing how to narrow down the list of options and finance a good car or pickup truck. Someone looking to buy a new Toyota or a used Nissan or a gently used Dodge can start with online catalogs that dealers provide, and start narrowing down the options. A car buyer may have an idea of what their new car should be like, such as horsepower, number of doors, age, features (some cars have some seriously advanced wireless and wired technology in them) and even paint color.
After the buyer has gotten a fair idea of what they want to buy, it is time to visit the dealers in person, and meet with sales experts there and look over some cars in person. This is especially prudent for finding a used car, so the buyer can check the vehicle’s condition and note its outstanding repair needs. When you buy a car, you need to consider how it’s going to fit your lifestyle and you, personally. You wouldn’t buy hair extensions without doing your due dilligence. Cars require even more research up front. A car can also be taken for a test-drive, and at some point, the buyer knows what they want. It’s time to buy.
It is rare to buy a car outright; more often, buyers get auto financing loans, and most dealers are connected to five or 10 different money lending services, such as banks. Buyers with good credit have the capacity to take out a favorable loan with a low interest rate, though some buyers have low credit scores or none at all. Should this be the case, they can have a trusted co-signer on hand, and it’s also possible for the buyer to find loans from companies that have generous requirements for a loan to get approved. Some loan companies don’t even require a credit score for a loan to be approved. In any case, once someone becomes a proud car owner, they could celebrate with brunch and enjoy a nice cruise in their car to show it off. Still, sooner or later routine car maintenance will be a must. A responsible car owner will know just what to do.
Make Sure Your Car Can Handle Life Changes
It should be noted that a car owner’s finances may be greatly impacted by life changes such as a divorce, or losing a job or needing to move out into a cheaper place to live. When a divorce happens, the car owner’s financial life will change greatly, often for the worse (due to lawyer fees), and moving to a cheaper place to live is just the start. A responsible car owner will carefully review their finances and determine their budget, to see what they can and cannot afford to have in their life. Some divorcees are doing fairly well, and they can afford to have brunch or get hair extensions or even get a second car. But others are downsizing, and they may realize that they cannot afford their current car at all. If so, they can either trade it in for a different, cheaper car, or they can find other ways to save money and redirect that money toward financing that car.
Put simply, even when a car is purchased, it is not necessarily a permanent part of its owner’s life. An owner must be ready to downsize their car(s) if need be, and perhaps a few years later in life, they can afford a nice car again. A car shouldn’t just be powerful and attractive; it should be sustainable, too.
Take Care of Your Tires and Wheels
No part of a car or pickup truck should be taken for granted. Smart car owners will know that they should have everything on their car looked over at a garage and noted, and this includes tire rotation and replacement, and car rim care. How often should the tires be rotated, and why? Rotating car tires helps keep them in good shape longer and delays the need to replace them. General routine car maintenance means rotating the tires every 3,000 to 7,000 miles driven, though some car owners simply get their tires rotated every time they have the car’s oil filter changed, for convenience.
Very old tires are a serious liability on a car, and it should be noted that many car accidents across the U.S. today involve one or more cars that had very old or worn-out tires on it. Very old tires have worn-down grips on them, making them too slick, and these old tires tend to deflate a lot, too. Even pumping them back up with air is just a temporary fix, and old, partially deflated tires are too soft and floppy to drive on. This lowers the car’s fuel efficiency and may make driving sloppy and erratic. Such old tires might also be liable to burst when they run over objects or hit a curb, so the owner should be ready to swap them out with newer ones. Even fairly cheap tires can be a major improvement, and the owner can buy some gently used tires if they like when they visit a tire shop. Some tires are specialized models, such as those geared for off-road driving or those designed to handle icy and snowy winter roads.
Don’t forget the rims, either, which are typically made with aluminum. If rims get cracked, repair experts can perform routine car maintenance and fix them up, and if the rims are badly bent or if the cracks run deep, it is time to replace those rims entirely. If rims get dented, they can have the dents pounded right back out, and dirty rims and hubcaps can easily be washed clean. But take note that steel wool should not be used on them, or else the soft aluminum surface may get scratched.
A Nice Garage Means A Clean Car
Many rental properties and most regular houses come with a garage where a car may be parked, and car enthusiasts take it a step further by building a standalone, private car garage. Inside, they can freely tinker with and customize their cars in a spacious and well-lit space, but this garage should be built correctly, and all kinds of amenities can be added. Such a custom garage can have air conditioning or heaters in it, not to mention a sound system and a lot of lighting. But it’s also important to have a good floor, which will probably be made of concrete. And it’s not just the concrete itself; a proper garage floor will also have epoxy and other treatments applied to it, which increases the concrete’s weight endurance (vital if there are multiple cars sitting around in that garage). Such epoxy also makes the garage flooring smooth and attractive and helps prevent oil stains, too.
Don’t Neglect Regular Car Cleaning
This is something for any car owner to take seriously, and cleaning a car can range from a regular automatic car wash all the way to car detailing and vacuuming the inside. A regular wash can scrub a car clean, but some dirt will remain, and a car detailing specialist can be hired to perform a detail. This means washing the car with soap and water, then scrubbing the rims and wheels clean to remove a lot of the dirt found there. During a car detail, washing mitts and microfiber towels are scrubbed all over the car to further clean its paint job, and an automotive clay bar will be used to remove any leftover dirt that is clinging to the car’s paint job. The paint can also be polished with swirling motions, and it can also be waxed, to help protect it from later grime and dirt.
The inside should be cleaned, too, and this can start with the glass. Wiping fluid and a cleaning rag can be used on the glass’s interior surface, and to keep things sanitary, the owner can use plant-based cleaning fluids, as they might use on their house’s windows. This removes spots and fingerprints and other grime from any dirty glass, and that’s just the start. The car’s upholstery can be vacuumed clean, and fabric upholstery can be shampooed for a deep-clean while vegan leather seats can be conditioned and scrubbed. And what about the floor’ carpeting and floor mats? Such surfaces collect a lot of dirt, dust, mud, bacteria, and spilled food and drink over time, which can make the carpets and floor mats dirty and smelly. So, they can be vacuumed clean and shampooed, to make the car smell and look nice (and become more sanitary). The same can be done for the car’s trunk mats and carpeting, too.
Have a Plan for Car Accident Recovery
Routine car maintenance can fix up a car when minor problems or wear and tear arise, but what about more serious trauma to the car? Even a well-maintained car might get into an auto accident, and the windows might get cracked or shattered, the body can suffer huge dents, or the tires may blow out or the wheels are badly bent or even broken off. Unless a car is totaled, though, accident recovery specialists can help a car owner get their damaged car to a workshop, and repairs can be done. In some cases, the damage is minor enough so the car owner can drive the car to a shop, though they should still be careful about it.
A car’s steel or aluminum body may suffer dents when objects strike it, anything from large hail to falling tree branches to a glancing blow against another car. In other cases, the car slid out of control on icy roads, and slammed right into a lamppost or fire hydrant or similar object. Or, vandals threw objects at the car or struck it with rods, and this can put dents into its body. Car dents are unsightly to say the least, and they also disrupt the car’s aerodynamic qualities and lower its resale value. So, the owner should find an auto shop that can provide body dent removal, where experts can remove a faulty piece of metal and pound out the dent from the other side. This can be done on the hood, doors, and more, and this work might coincide with paint touch up jobs to fix scratches or scraped areas on the car’s paint job. A falling tree branch may not only dent the car, but scratch up its paint, too.
What about the glass? Routine car maintenance and inspections include checking out the windshield and other glass, and a car with faulty glass is going to fail a safety inspection. A car’s glass may suffer cracks if large hail hits it, or falling tree branches or the kinetic force of getting into an auto accident. Also, if a car is driving behind a truck and that truck’s cargo comes loose, flying objects such as bricks or rocks may strike the car’s windshield and crack it. Cracks in the windshield are unsightly and distracting, and worse yet, the cracks might widen as the car drives, and the windshield might shatter at some point. This is extremely hazardous.
A car’s cracked windshield can simply be removed and replaced entirely, and this can also be done for the side windows or the rear glass, too. Doing so allows the car to pass safety inspections, and makes the car more attractive to buyers when and if the owner decides to sell it.
Buying, financing, and caring for an automobile is certainly a lot of work, and a first-time buyer or owner may need a lot of reference and guidance to do this right. But owning and driving a stylish car and keeping it in good shape can be its own reward, and routine car maintenance will keep a vehicle running much longer while regular inspections allow the owner to diagnose a problem early. In this way, a car can truly be a long-term investment that is worth the money and drive safely and smoothly on the road for many years to come.