If you are a car owner, you no doubt realize that your motor vehicle is the second biggest investment you will ever make, after your house. Since you will most likely own a couple of cars over the course of a lifetime, chances are that you will eventually even spend more on cars than on your house. Automotive maintenance is therefore something that should be very high on your list of priorities.

Something very important that one has to remember when it comes to motor cars, is that prevention is indeed better than cure. If your car has to stand outside day after day, exposed to rain, snow, wind and sun, the paintwork is soon going to start fading and the vehicle will begin to rust. The seats will before long be cracked and the tires will also not last as long they as they otherwise would have.

Even if you can’t afford an enclosed garage therefore, try to at least build a carport where you can park your car to protect it against the elements. The sun is very bad for the paintwork and regular exposure to frost and overnight dew isn’t going to do it much good either. Although not perfect, a carport will at least protect the car against the worst onslaught of the elements.

Your maintenance plan should also include having the car washed and polished on a regular basis. This is not just about driving a beautiful, shiny car – if the car is never washed, harmful chemicals and other residue will collect on the paintwork, eventually damaging it. A good car polish provides excellent protection against such chemicals as well as against the damaging UV rays of the sun.

Another easy to do maintenance task that you should perform from time to time, is to rotate the car’s wheels. This will ensure that the tires wear off evenly. If you don’t do this, the tires (often the front tires) might wear off on one side only, resulting in them having to be replaced.

A further routine maintenance task is to visit a workshop a few times a year to have the brake pads tested. It doesn’t cost a lot of money to have brake pads replaced. If you don’t, however, and wait until you hear the scraping sound of steel on steel, it will result in unnecessary heat and friction, leading to much more expensive parts needing replacement.

If your car has to stand in the sun for long hours every day, such as at work for example, best is to treat the instrument panel (dashboard) and seats regularly with a good polish specifically designed for this purpose. This will add years to its lifetime and ensure that the interior of your car remains looking good for a long time.

It’s absolutely imperative that you regularly check the gearbox, power steering and engine’s oil levels. If the car’s engine or gearbox should run dry, you are going to end up with extremely costly repairs that were totally avoidable. If you notice that the vehicle is leaking oil, have the problem attended to as soon as possible to save yourself a lot of unnecessary repair work.

Automotive maintenance done on a preventative basis will usually not involve much money. Over the lifetime of the car, it will no doubt save you a lot of money though. If you take into account how much a new car costs, preventative care makes the utmost sense.

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