For many of us, our car is our most valuable asset. It takes us to and from work, it is the most expensive item we own and are responsible for, and without it, we’d be in a bind. Losing your car suddenly due to costly repairs or overdue maintenance can cause a ripple effect of stress in your day-to-day life. Keeping your car healthy will extend its life and bring you peace of mind for years to come.
A healthy car is also a safe car. When it comes to accidents, most of us think of distracted driving, human error, and speeding as causing most of them, but poor vehicle maintenance is responsible for 12% of accidents on the road. Even something seemingly minor like a cracked windshield can obscure your line of sight enough to cause an accident. Not having your brake pads regularly replaced can cause brakes to suddenly fail without warning, which could result in serious injury or death to yourself or others. Should you be in an accident, you can be found criminally liable if your poor vehicle maintenance contributed.
What are the components of a healthy car?
When you purchase a new car, be sure to pay attention to the maintenance schedule for your vehicle. A good rule of thumb, whether you’re buying a newer car or an older model, is to take it in for a tune up every 10,000 miles or so. The mechanic will make sure your fluids are at the right levels, your tires and brakes are in good shape, and all aspects of your engine and electrical elements are in working order and not at risk of malfunction.
You’ll want to make sure your oil is changed a little more frequently – about every 5,000 miles. Fortunately, this is a routine, inexpensive service that can be done without an appointment in under an hour in most cases.
Sometimes, car manufacturers will issue recalls on parts of your car. If you receive a recall notice, it’s important not to ignore it — the manufacturer typically pays for the recalled part to be fixed, and these can be crucial to car health and safety.
Now that we know the components of a healthy car, here are the top five ways to keep your car healthy and extend its lifetime:
- Make all scheduled service appointments! This includes taking your car in for regular oil changes, too. Your mechanic will be able to catch any potential problems early, saving you money and safety in the long run.
- Rotate and align your tires! Your tires are one of the most important aspects of your car. Keeping them rotated and aligned will decelerate normal wear and tear, and will help keep your car balanced properly. This becomes especially important if you’re driving in inclement weather, uphill or downhill, or on an unpaved road.
- Minimize your car’s exposure to the elements! If you can, park your car in a locked or secure garage. This will protect it from harsh elements like rain, snow, wind, ice, and even the sun – but also from more extreme circumstances, like wildfires and floods. If you don’t have the option to park off the street in a garage, you can still take steps to protect your car form the elements. You can get a paint-friendly, water-resistant cover that fits any size car.
It’s important to make sure your car gets washed and waxed regularly. It’s also a good idea to use sun visors to protect the dashboard from hot UV light in the summer, and be mindful of parking under trees. In addition to sap, bird droppings, and pollen, squirrels like to store nuts under the hood of your car, and parking close to their home might make it an attractive option for the little fellows!
- Always make sure to use the right kind of fluids for your car! This includes gasoline. Some car engines will be ruined if you use the wrong kind of gasoline, so make sure you know what kind is best for your car before you fill up. At the mechanic, don’t go for cheaper just to cut costs — all fluids should be appropriate for the make and model of the car. You can avoid any potential problems by taking your car to a mechanic or service station that is certified to repair the kind of car you drive.
- Be a conscientious driver! The way you drive will impact the lifetime of your car. Speeding not only increases your risk of an accident, but it also reduces the gas mileage your car gets. Driving on empty and revving your engine will put excess stress on your engine and should be avoided.
If you hug the curb a little too closely, you’ll risk damaging your tires, rim, or hubcaps – or even the axel, which could be catastrophic. Speeding can hurt your car, but so can accelerating too slowly — cars require exactly the right touch to make sure they last as long as they are designed.
Your car is a part of your daily life, and you want it to take you safely to your destination. With regular maintenance, responsible driving, and proper care, your car will remain a valuable asset for years to come. LoJack’s connected app ensures you never miss a service or recall notice. With the My Dealer feature, your dealer can send you reminders for anything regarding the health of your vehicle right away. The LoJack app will also alert you when your battery is running low, making sure you’ll never get stranded far from home. Finally, with the Virtual Glove Box, you’ll have your car’s history of service records, maintenance schedules, and more right in the app – not in your glove box.