Being a first-time car owner can be nerve-wracking. For most, getting their first car feels is a rite of passage to adulthood. After all, owning your vehicle involves a huge responsibility, bearing all the hallmarks of the adult world. You need to keep road safety in mind and take care of your car.
Since a car is pretty expensive, you want it to last longer and perform at its best for a long time. Regular maintenance is key to taking care of your car. But sometimes, unexpected repairs are inevitable. Consider getting an aftermarket warranty to make sure your car is covered. If you are looking for affordable warranties, check out CarShield cost.
Buying a Car
The first step to becoming a car owner is buying a car. It is a daunting process that involves a lot of money and paperwork. But once everything is done, it is satisfying to drive off the dealership with your sweet new ride.
When buying a car, there are several considerations you need to make. What type of model are you getting, how will you be paying for it, are you going to finance it, and what insurance should you get?
It is normal to get a little overwhelmed by all the decisions you need to make, but the trick is to identify your needs and do your research. The process goes a lot smoother if you already have a model in mind and your documents are all secured and ready to go. If you plan to finance your car, getting pre-approved can help you in planning your budget.
Of course, most states require that you get car insurance. Be diligent in doing your research and avoid car insurance fraud. If there are things you don’t know or are unsure of, ask your dealer.
Read the User Manual
Everything you need to know about your car is in the user manual. Its features, how to maximize the car’s performance, handling maintenance, and safety guidelines are all in there. Yes, it might be boring to read a user manual, but it is worth poring through the document if you want to take care of your vehicle.
Know your VIN
The Vehicle Identification Number is your car’s fingerprint. Make sure you take note of your car’s VIN. Every step, from purchasing to applying for insurance and taking it to the shop for maintenance, would need your VIN. And in case of theft, reporting your VIN to the police raises the chances of getting your car back.
What Documents to Carry
Keep all receipts of car repair in your car. This will be handy if you decide to sell or trade in your car someday. Dated service records, warranty cards, your car’s registration certificate, and insurance card should be accessible in case of emergencies. However, keep your car’s title certificate in a secure place.
Choose a Regular Mechanic
Regular maintenance is what prolongs your car’s lifespan. The same way humans have doctors who do regular checkups and keep medical history records, having a regular mechanic who knows the ins and outs of your car is convenient.
Ask your family and friends for auto repair shop recommendations and look for an ASE certification. Having your go-to mechanic also comes with some perks because some auto repair shops offer good deals to their loyal customers. Plus, the trust established with your repair guy is more valuable than anything else. After all, your safety on the road is in their hands.
Maximize Fuel Economy
Gas prices are not cheap. The best way to save gas money is to maximize your car’s fuel economy. Read your user manual and make sure you load the correct fuel type in your tank. Skimping on the gas cost by buying the cheapest fuel available in the gas station might be disastrous if you accidentally put the wrong fuel in your car. Plus, the repair costs would have you end up spending more. And damage caused by putting the wrong gas in your tank is not covered by insurance or warranty.
Prevent Car Damage
Even if you practice road safety, accidents can still happen. Still, preventive measures help minimize car damage and repair costs. Practice safe driving measures, do not drive under the influence, and remove all distractions while driving. Try to park in a secured parking space as much as possible. You never know when drunk kids or vengeful exes will come to wreck your car (by accident or on purpose). Pay attention to unusual noises, smells, or fluid leaks. Any change in your car’s performance can also be an early warning sign that your ride needs a visit to your mechanic.
Always lock your doors while driving, and double-check the locks before leaving the parking lot. Don’t leave your key in the ignition—that is an open invitation for thieves to come and get your car. Avoid parking in dark and non-secure areas, and ensure your windows are closed properly before leaving your vehicle. Have a tracking system installed so it is easier to locate your car in case your car gets stolen. This world is a dangerous place, and you can never be too careful with protecting the things that are of value to you.
Becoming a car owner comes with many responsibilities. But if you take care of your car, it will go the distance and bring you to many places, both figuratively and literally.