The United States is a nation of cars, and this has been true for many decades now. At the turn of the 20th century, cars were slow and rare, and they shared the roads with trolleys and even foot traffic and horse-drawn carriages. But that changed before long. In the 1920s, cars began being advertised and sold as luxury travel vehicles for the whole family, and by the 1950s, the United States enjoyed a boom in car ownership and highway construction. Americans could, for the first time, drive themselves absolutely anywhere, and this means investing in a quality car and taking good care of it. A car is an expensive and complex piece of hardware with many moving parts, and yes, many different things might go wrong. But today’s car care tips can keep your vehicle clean and running well for a long time to come, come rain or shine. This will range from getting a proper car loan all the way to buying and tuning classic cars and even pounding out car dents at the local car shop.
Looking for a Car
Suppose you are ready to go out there and find a car to purchase. The good news is that you are far from alone, and auto dealers will know how to help you find a great purchase for your needs. Millions of cars are on the roads today, and over 200 million Americans own a valid driver’s license. In fact, some estimates say that by the year 2036, the world will have an incredible 2.8 billion vehicles of all types, from cars and jeeps to pickup trucks and motorcycles. Those are some busy roads, and today’s car customer will want to find an affordable vehicle that they can feel comfortable driving in.
What are your options when it comes to purchasing a car? There are many things to do before you get a car title, starting with some research. Cars come in a huge variety in terms of horsepower, price, age, color, features, and gas mileage, among other factors. You can start by determining what you will use the car for and how many people will typically ride in it with you, and that, along with your budget, can narrow down your options pretty fast. Dealers will have online catalogs to browse, and you can compare many different cars of similar types and see what stands out. Such catalogs will, of course, involve clear photos of the vehicles in question, both interior and exterior shots. By the time you visit a dealer, you’ll have a good idea of what you’re looking for.
Once at the dealer’s lot, you can meet a sales rep and get a guided tour of some cars that closely match your needs, and have your questions answered and get a chance to sit inside the cars. In fact, you may likely get a chance to drive the car yourself, or at least have the sales rep drive you around in it so you can “get a feel for it.” Both used and new cars can be examined this way, and in the case of used cars, be sure to look over the car’s repair and damage history. Some used cars may have needed AC repair in the past, or once suffered a busted automotive air compressor, or other issues. A dealer will tell you the car’s history of auto incidents and repairs for your reference, and it’s possible that even after you buy the car, you must take it to an auto shop and have some non-essential repairs done. A used car fresh from the lot can at least function on the road, but minor systems in it may need fixing.
How about financing? Few car customers can outright purchase the vehicle, but most dealers are connected to five to 10 different lending companies that can provide a car loan. This is typical, and the current collective auto debt in the U.S. is enormous (that’s not something to be concerned about, however). Having a good credit score and proof of income helps you qualify for a loan, and younger buyers may have a parent or guardian co-sign and use their good credit score to appease the lenders. What is more, a car’s price might be up for negotiation, and a savvy car buyer can bargain with the sales rep to get a lower price. This won’t always be the case, but experienced car owners will know the difference, and they can advise younger car customers whom they know. This can save some money in the long term.
Car Care Tips: Keep it Clean
A comprehensive list of car care tips would be quite long, but several major categories do stand out. The first of these car care tips is to keep the car looking (and smelling) its best. If you brought a brand-new car, this may not be a concern at first, but overall, car washing is something to take seriously. Consider the outside first. Driving in snowy or rainy weather may cover the car in spots, leftover when dirty rain or snow water dries up and the dirt inside gets caked onto the car. Often, these appear as spots on the windows. Or, splashing through muddy puddles will get the car dirty, not to mention driving on gravel roads (and getting gravel dust on the car). Car owners can either visit local car washes, or save some money and time and wash their car in the driveway at home. This means having soap and water, and a wash mitt and rags to wipe the car. Even the hubcaps and rims can be washed clean, but refrain from using steel wool to scour them, since steel wool will scratch the soft aluminum.
Taking your car to the wash is a pretty mundane example of car care tips. How about the interior? While many car owners wash their car’s body as needed, they often neglect the interior, and that can make the car unpleasant or even a bit unsafe to be in. For one thing, if air conditioning repair is necessary but not yet done, a lot of smoke and pollution from the outside can get into the car through the AC, and that lowers air quality. Many cars today have dirty air inside them, which can often be even dirtier than the air outside them, and typical car owners are not aware of this. Avoid driving right behind large trucks that make a lot of emissions, and be sure that the air filters are in good shape.
That covers air. Now for the fabric surfaces, such as the floor carpeting, floor mats, trunk surfaces, and the seats. Many Americans eat in their car, or the passengers are doing the eating, and spills and crumbs will add up fast in the fibers of the carpeting or floor mats. This can create smelly stains and allow many harmful bacteria to grow there, a clear health hazard. This is especially true in the trunk, where car owners tend to put their groceries. Why put your groceries on a bed of germs? Don’t let your car become a petri dish on wheels; follow standard car care tips for the interior and have the crumbs vacuumed away. That, and replace old and dirty floor mats with new ones, which look nice and smell good, too. Don’t be afraid to look up car washes that can clean the interior and do this regularly, such as once a month.
Car Care Tips: Make it Personal
If a car is clean and running well, then the owner can move right on to the more fun aspects of owning a vehicle: customizing it. This can take many different forms, from personalized car stickers to getting tinted windows. Many car owners are happy to add fun rearview mirror decorations and put on a few personalized car stickers on the bumper or trunk, but car enthusiasts can do much more with their vehicle. They can replace or modify parts that ordinary car owners may not even realize are open to change, such as the rims or headlights. Some car enthusiasts also own their own private garage, where they can tinker with cars at their leisure.
Car car tips for customization involve making sure the car can handle its new role; that is, street racing or off-road driving are different than commuting to work. Using ordinary tires and rims won’t work too well for racing or stunt driving, so car care tips call for new hardware. In particular, an enthusiast will look up and order new rims for their car, rims that are both stylish and designed to endure the rigors of car races and aggressive driving. The car may also get its engine modified with new fuel injectors, and the owner may put a spoiler on its trunk. For aesthetics, the car owner can also remove the car’s seat fabric and replace it with nicer fabric or even leather, and the steering wheel can have a cover put on it. On the outside, the car may have body lights or even rim lights added for style, to show off at a car meet or race.
Car Care Tips: Get Repairs Done
This is probably the most essential part of car care tips overall, and a car owner is urged to know when the cars should be brought to a town car service or auto shop or paint shop for work. For one thing, the tires may need rotation or replacement, and old tires are troublesome indeed. Car care tips today call for keeping a log, noting whenever the car gets its tires rotated or replaced. Note the date and odometer reading each time, and you will know when your car is due for some work on the tires. Fresh new tires are tough and have a great grip, making them safe and smooth to drive on. Studies show that many auto incidents today involve one or more cars with bad tires on it. Old tires are often partially deflated and thus too soft, and they are more likely to rupture and also have poor grips. But new tires can avoid that problem, and during winter, you can even ask for specialized winter tires that handle themselves well on roads slick with ice or snow.
Car care tips extend to the paint job, too, and that paint is not to be taken for granted. A new car has perfect paint and sealant on it, but over time, that paint may start to flake or chip off, and trauma can scrape off or scratch that paint. Not only does scratched up paint look ugly, but this exposes the metal underneath, which may then start rusting due to exposure. Car paint and its sealant act together as a protective skin, in short. A glancing blow in an auto incident can scrape off paint, and the same is true if the car scraped against property such as a mailbox or a fire hydrant. A falling tree branch can badly scratch up a parked car, and vandals are known to use keys and other items to put long, ugly scratches on a parked car.
So, a car owner can take their car to a paint shop and ask the crews to perform a touch-up job, and repaint the affected area. The price will be affected by the damage’s location and severity, and there is a rating scale to describe how bad the damage is. In other cases, a car owner can take care of this themselves. You can lift the trunk and look at a certain sticker that is found on the barrier between the engine compartment and passenger area, and this sticker will describe the car’s paint color code. Order that paint online, and you can receive the precise color needed to seamlessly repaint your car. Sand down the affected area, then apply primer and allow it to dry. Next, apply a few layers of paint, allowing each to dry, then apply some sealant over the dry paint and allow that to dry, too. Now the car’s paint job is spotless and attractive once again.
Another major category among car care tips is to quickly spot and fix car dents anywhere on the body. A car’s steel body is tough, but not indestructible, and collisions with other cars or property can put some serious dents in it. Not only that, but large hail (such as golf ball sized) will pound many dents into the car’s roof, trunk, and hood. Sometimes, a truck’s cargo comes loose and may start flying around, and these objects may strike the cars behind that truck and dent their bodies. And once again, vandals are a potential threat, who may throw items or use instruments to pound dents in the car’s body on purpose. So, the owner can take their dented car to a shop and have the crew pound the dents out from the other side, to smooth out the metal and make it look attractive again. This restores the car’s aerodynamic qualities and also makes it more appealing when the owner wants to sell it.