A Beginner's Guide To Caring For A New Used Car


With skyrocketing used vehicle prices, it makes more sense than ever to give a new (to you) used car the highest level of care you can muster. Taking care of a preowned vehicle can help ensure that it lasts for as long as possible while also minimizing your maintenance and repair costs over the long run. If you've neglected your cars in the past, it may be time to develop some new habits.

Fortunately, caring for a used car doesn't need to be challenging. You can divide most of your car care tasks into three basic categories: initial maintenance, routine maintenance, and preventative maintenance.

Getting Started With Initial Maintenance

You probably don't want to think about spending more money right after purchasing a car. Still, you shouldn't overlook the importance of a little initial TLC. If the seller can't provide you with a service history record, you'll want to start with some routine maintenance right away. These tasks should include an oil change, air filter change, coolant flush, and, if necessary, transmission fluid flush.

Likewise, if you didn't perform a pre-purchase inspection, consider scheduling a post-purchase inspection with a trusted auto shop. This inspection can highlight any issues, allowing you to plan for future repairs and maintenance. At a minimum, check the condition and remaining life of the brakes, tires, and suspension components.

Following a Routine Maintenance Plan

Routine maintenance is all the work you need to do on a regular schedule. Every car will need at least these maintenance tasks performed, including:

  • Oil and filter changes
  • Coolant flushes
  • Brake fluid flushes
  • Air filter replacements
  • Tire rotation
  • Spark plug replacement
  • Accessory belt replacement

Check your owner's manual for the manufacturer's recommended intervals and make a plan to follow them religiously. If your vehicle has over 100,000 miles on the odometer, consider following the manual's "severe" maintenance schedule. Vehicles without lifetime fluid will also need transmission flushes.

Stepping It up With Preventative Maintenance

If you want to go above and beyond to keep your car for the long term, preventative maintenance is the way to go. Preventative maintenance is a step beyond the routine and involves replacing common failure points before they leave you stranded. These tasks will vary between makes and models, so you'll need to research the parts most likely to fail on your car.

A trusted auto shop can also help you develop a plan for long-term preventative maintenance. Many mechanics see the same problems on similar cars repeatedly. They can use this knowledge to recommend replacements to improve your car's reliability. By taking these extra steps, you'll be working to ensure your vehicle can last for many more years and many more miles.  

For more information on car care, contact an auto shop near you. 


22 October 2021

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