With the cost of a new vehicle on the rise, caring for your current vehicle is an easy new year’s resolution to keep, making more economic sense than purchasing a new one.
“During the holiday season, many people bust the budget and then resolve to save money in the coming year,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Many resolutions quickly go by the wayside, but it’s an easy decision to keep your current vehicle and maintain it at recommended intervals. Auto care makes financial sense, protecting the trade-in value and postponing the sting of new car prices.”
While the average price of a new passenger vehicle has risen to nearly $34,000 according to Kelley Blue Book, IHS Markit reports that the average vehicle age is now 11.6 years. The good news for car owners is that today’s vehicles are lasting longer than ever before and by following three simple auto care tips, they can protect their vehicle investment and address minor issues before they become more complicated, expensive repairs.
Regular Maintenance is Key. The best way to ensure a vehicle’s longevity is to observe a regular service schedule. Keep up with fluid and filter changes, tire checks and other routine maintenance. Over time, some car parts and components wear out or become damaged, so the smart investment is to replace these typical wear items before long-term damage ensues. A regular maintenance schedule outlined in the owner’s manual can keep you on track.
Heed the Warning Signs. Vehicles have ways of communicating that trouble may be on the horizon. Illuminated dashboard warning lights, such as the check engine light, indicate that key vehicle systems need inspection as soon as possible. Pay attention to any new or unusual vehicle sounds, such as squealing, thumping, hissing or grinding as they can indicate a problem. Unusual smells, such as burnt rubber, hot oil, gasoline, rotten eggs, burning carpet or the sweet smell of syrup can also indicate a serious problem.
Keep It Clean. Washing and waxing a vehicle on a regular basis protects its value. A thorough cleaning inside and out prevents the buildup of dirt and damaging chemicals that can harm the finish, reduces the potential for rust from road salt, and ensures proper visibility needed for safe driving.
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