As we head into the new year the majority of us will have made resolutions or set goals for 2024, and for some we know that one of these resolutions might be to take better care of your car. To help drivers who want to look after their car in the new year we’ve put together our ten best care tips.

Ten Tips to Take Better Care of Your Car

1. Give It a Clean

The first thing we recommend doing is giving your car a clean. Inside and out. There are a few different ways you might choose to do this:

  • You could take your car to a valet service and have them do the work
  • You could use a drive through car wash to clean the exterior
  • You could use a petrol garage’s power wash to clean the exterior and vacuum for the interior
  • You can use your own supplies to clean the car at home

Once you’ve done the first deep clean we think it’s easier to do a regular clean than leave it until you get a small collection of pebbles in the footwell or the dirt build up turns your car a different colour. Depending on how often you use your car we’d recommend cleaning it every four to eight weeks.

Three Tips to Keep Your Car Clean

1. Have a bin, even if it’s just an old carrier bag, in the car for any rubbish

2. Make sure you regularly empty out the items that might collect in the boot, back seat or footwells

3. Avoid eating in the car and if you do throw the rubbish away at the end of your journey

2. Check Your Car Over

Another thing you’ll want to do regularly will be to give your car a thorough check over.

On the exterior you’re looking for:

  • Any damage to the paintwork
  • Any chips or cracks to the glasswork (all windows, including the front and rear windscreen and sunroof if you have one)
  • The condition of your tyres
  • All the lights are functional

On the interior you want to check:

  • That there are no warning lights
  • For any damage to the upholstery
  • For any damage to the doors, handles and controls
  • That all seatbelts are accessible
  • Whether your infotainment software is up to date and working correctly

These are just some general points to check and isn’t an exhaustive list but rather the top points we recommend checking. There might be particular aspects of your vehicle you want to check, for example if you have an older model with non-electronic rear window controls you might want to check your windows are fully closed.

3. Take a Look Under the Hood

The third place you want to check when inspecting your car is under the hood. We’re not expecting you to become a mechanic but you should at least check your fluid levels and that nothing is obviously out of place. If you spot something that you’re not quite sure is right then you’ll want to take it to a mechanic to have a quick look.

In terms of fluids you should check:

  • Brake fluid
  • Coolant
  • Oil
  • Screen wash

All of which will have visual indicators on how full they should be. If any are running low then you’ll need to top them up.

4. Get into a Garage

If you notice anything that needs fixing when checking your car then book into a garage and get it looked at. It’s better to get an issue fixed early on when it’s just a small niggle, and bill, then wait until it becomes a major issue.

Depending on the issue you may want to book into a local garage, arrange for a travelling service to come and look at your car at home or the office or even try and complete the repairs yourself if it’s a small job such as changing a bulb.

5. Know Your Dates

Once you’ve checked your car over there’s some admin work that you’ll want to do to help you be prepared for looking after your car the rest of the year.

Firstly, you need to know your car’s important dates. This will not only help you make appointments in a timely manner (there’s nothing worst than a last minute panic because your MOT is due and you’ve not booked it in time), but will also help you prepare financially. Knowing when your car will need servicing means you’ll be able to budget for the cost of this. Similarly, any large payments for things like tax and insurance will be more manageable if you budget to spread the cost of them.

Key dates you should have in your car calendar are:

  • Its MOT date
  • Its taxation date
  • Its service schedule
  • Your insurance renewal date

6. Set Reminders

As well as adding key dates to your calendar you’ll also want to set reminders. If you’re responsible for arranging your car’s MOT then set a reminder a month before to book the appointment.

It’s not just for annual dates that you’ll want to set reminder though. We recommend setting yourself reminders to do the regular car maintenance checks to keep on top of tasks like topping up your screen wash and making sure all of your lights are working. Again you can personalise this to your needs, schedule and what works for you.

7. Create a Checklist

To help you keep on top of those regular tasks we recommend making yourself a car checklist. How you do this is completely up to you.

There are a couple of checklists that you might want to make: one for general maintenance, one for before you go on a long trip or one for specific tasks aligned with your car calendar or reminders.

We would generally advise your maintenance and care checklists include:

  • Visually checking the exterior condition
  • Visually checking the interior condition
  • Cleaning out any rubbish
  • Checking all of your lights are working
  • Checking the fluid levels
  • Checking your tyres (including the spare)

Then you can add anything else that is relevant for you and your car.

8. Make a Phone Book

Another administrative task that can really help make looking after your car easier is to create it a phone book. This can be digital on your own phone or a physical piece of paper that you keep in the car but should include all of the essential phone numbers you might need for your car. These include:

  • Your insurance accident line
  • Your general insurance (in case you need to make any amendments)
  • Your funder (if it is a contract hire or contract purchase car)
  • Your maintenance provider (if you have a maintenance package)
  • Your local garage (if you’re responsible for arranging maintenance work)

9. Check Your Driving

The new year is a time when people reflect and look forward. Typically, people might think about their health, work and family life but another thing to ponder is your driving.

Once you pass your driving test, at as young as 17, you’ll then likely not take another test or course to improve your driving knowledge or skill in your entire driving career. Whilst you don’t need to take official training we do think the new year is a great time to reflect on your driving.

There are three areas we suggest thinking about:

  • Your driving style over the past year
  • Any changes to regulations
  • Improvements you might want to make based on the previous two areas

One of the biggest influences over the condition of your car is how you use it so reviewing your driving and looking at areas to improve can help you take better care of it, as well as keep you safe, improve your fuel efficiency and much more.

10.  Love Your Car

It’s a lot easier to look after something you love and are proud of. You’re more likely to want to do the necessary maintenance checks and keep your car clean if you like it.

And if you don’t love your car then maybe it’s time to think about getting a new one if you’re in a position to. This might just mean a new car to you but if you’re thinking about leasing then our Leasing Consultants are here to help you with any questions you may have just reach out to us on 0330 221 0000.

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