If you just bought your first car, congratulations! Before you take off, there are things you need to know about the responsibility that comes with having your own vehicle. Here are our top 10 tips that will help you as a new car owner.
1. Check out your owner’s manual. While it might not be the most riveting read, your owner’s manual has lots of important information that will come in handy throughout your vehicle’s life, such as your car’s ideal maintenance schedule, fuel grade and tire pressure.
2. Research your insurance options. Different insurance providers will provide different quotes for the same car and driver, so it’s in your best interest to do some research before settling on an insurer. There are many sites online that make it easy to compare car insurance quotes from the comfort of your own home – so there’s no reason to settle for a sub-par plan. Compare quotes before choosing a provider, and then every year before you renew your plan. And don’t forget to ask about discounts that can lower your premium.
3. Stay on top of regular maintenance. It might be tempting to save money by skipping out on routine maintenance, but you’ll prolong the life and value of your car by regularly changing your oil, replacing your air filter and rotating your tires. Not sure what types of service your car needs? Check out your owner’s manual!
4. Keep your receipts. Start a folder where you can keep receipts for everything from routine maintenance to major repairs. It might seem tedious, but when the day comes to trade-in or sell your car, you’ll be able to prove that it’s been well taken care of and is worth top dollar.
5. Splurge on car washes. Regular washes aren’t just to keep up appearances – although it does feel good to drive a gleaming car – but they also to protect the integrity of your vehicle. Dirt and debris can eat away at the paint sealer that protects your car’s body from rust and corrosion, so consider regular car washes like a tune-up for your car’s exterior.
6. Change your driving habits to save on gas. Did you know that your driving habits could be impacting how often you need to fill up your gas tank? If you tend to accelerate quickly, brake suddenly, and drive at high speeds, you’ll burn more fuel than if you were to drive at a steady pace. With gas prices set to hit a four-year high in 2018, it’s worth changing your habits to save a little money. As a bonus – you’ll also reduce your chances of being pulled over!
7. Check your tire pressure. Your tires have an ideal pressure level (remember – you can find this in your owner’s manual), and keeping them properly inflated will prolong their life and increase your gas mileage. Check your pressure at least once a month – and possibly even more in the winter months if you live in a particularly cold area.
8. Find a spot at the back of the parking lot. Parking at the back of the lot won’t just help you get a few extra steps in everyday, it will also help you avoid dings and dents to your vehicle since it’s often less crowded.
9. Put your phone away and focus on the road. If you have a hard time putting down your phone, even when driving, consider the following distracted driving statistics: someone is injured in a distracted-driving collision every half hour, and a driver using their phone is four times more likely to be in a collision than a driver focused on the road. Putting away your phone doesn’t just lower your risk of being in an accident, you’ll also avoid expensive traffic tickets for distracted driving.
10. Consider a dash cam to protect you in the event of an accident. If you ever find yourself in an accident where it is your word against another driver’s, a dash cam could provide you with proof of your innocence and support your insurance claim. Just remember, though, a dash cam could also prove that you were at fault!
One final tip for new car owners – enjoy being in the driver’s seat! You’ve invested a lot of money in your new ride and you’re taking on many new responsibilities, so you should love the time you’re behind the wheel!