8 Steps to Caring for Your Family Vehicle

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Did you know that the average service life of a Kiwi-owned vehicle is 14 years? According to the New Zealand Ministry of Transport’s Annual Vehicle Fleet Statistics, this is higher than the international average. Perhaps it’s because responsibility, due diligence, and following rules on vehicle safety are all ingrained into new drivers from the tender age of 16, when they can first acquire their learner’s licence. In addition, mostKiwi families that share just one car tend to know that proper maintenance is a family affair.

But for those who need the reminder, what exactly constitutes proper maintenance? How regular do some car maintenance tasks have to be, as opposed to others? Moreover, how can you make it easier on everyone in your family to take care of your trusty vehicle?

In this short guide, we’ll provide you witheighteasy steps to proper car maintenance that will help answer those questions at the same time. Keep your family car in great condition for drivers of all ages with these simple tips!

Run through a car maintenance checklist with your family

One practice that will help inspire better car maintenance habits on everyone’s part is keeping up a car maintenance checklist and encouraging every driver in your family to take part in checking the car. You can make checklists based on the components and consumables that need frequent checking (such as engine oil, vehicle lights, tyre inflation, and windshield washer fluid); items that need check-up every three months (such as car battery and cables, belts, exhaust, engine air filter, and power steering fluid); items that require check-up every six months (wiper blades); and items that need check-up every twelve months (brakes, coolant, wheel alignment, steering, and suspension). You can post your checklists in a common area of your house, keep a copy inside the car’s glove compartment, or make a soft copy available to everyone.

Source car parts from a reliable supplier for when you need them

As a car ages, accidents, breakdowns, and wear-and-tear of individual components become inevitable. To keep the vehicle in tiptop shape, you should switch out old or worn-out parts when need be. Put a reputable car parts and auto parts supplier in NZ on your directory,and inquire about whether or not they sell parts that are specifically made for your car model. Don’t forget to compile receipts—for each purchase, as well as for each trip to the repair shop—so that all designated drivers in your family are aware of the car’s condition.

Change your oil regularly

Fresh oil is important to keep your car’s engine lubricated, as well as free from build-ups of dirt and other contaminants. It’s recommended that you change the oil out at least every month, or for every 8,000 kilometres. If no one in your family is confident about doing this on their own, there is always the option of having it done at your local auto shop.

Mind your tyres

Tyre pressure is also a key factor to watch on your car, especially when the weather in New Zealand shifts from warm to cold. Being complacent with the condition of yourtyres could result in inefficient usage of fuel, unsafe braking, and evena flat tyre. Thus, you would be well advised to check your tyre pressure with a gauge at least every month. This is also much cheaper to do than replacing your tyresentirely when they get damaged because of consistently poor pressure.

Keep your car mirrors in good condition

Side and rear-view mirrors are crucial to maintaining visibility on the road, and in turn, to avoiding accidents or mistakes whiledriving. Make sure that all the mirrors in your family car are clear, free from dents or scratches, and fully adjustable. When they’re dirty, simply spray them with cleaner and wipe them with a soft rag.

Check for busted lights

No one in your family—especially those with less than 20/20 vision—should consider hitting the road without sufficient lighting coming from the car. Working headlight bulbs can spell the difference between total road safety and a nasty accident. You can change the light bulbs out yourself, or you can ask for assistance from your auto mechanic.

Keep your car’s interiors immaculate

It’s great to keep your car looking good on outside, and as such, it will benefit from a thorough car wash every two weeks. However, you shouldn’t neglect to keep the interior clean, smelling fresh, and free of debris either. Encourage everyone who uses the family car to clear out rubbish, remove stains from the seats, and replace the air freshener when necessary. Not only will this ensure a smooth and pleasant ride every time,this will also help keep your car’s interior in good shape for longer. Should you ever decide to sell your car in the future, having a well-kept interior will also likely afford it a higher resale value.

Make the best of technology

Lastly, you may consider putting additional equipment in onyour car to make driving safe and pleasant for all designated drivers. These can range from high-resolution coloured rear view cameras to aid in parking, dashboard cameras for constant monitoring, an updated sound system, or even a bumper protector. The sky’s the limit for your beloved family car.

These tips should guarantee a long mileage for your car—and a service life that extends from your generation to your children’s. Best of luck, and safe driving always!