Car Care Tips | Bankrate

Cropped Hands Of Mechanic maintain car, engine oil check and replace

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Key takeaways

  • Keeping up with your car’s maintenance can help you stop extensive — and expensive — damage in its tracks.
  • It’s a good idea to take your vehicle to a mechanic for a basic inspection once per year.
  • Cars often lose around 60 percent of their purchase price within the first five years of ownership, but staying on top of routine maintenance may help you maintain your car’s value.

There is more to owning a car than filling it up with gas and driving to your destination. If you want your vehicle to last, you have to take care of it, which means routine maintenance. These car maintenance tips will help you keep your car running smoothly in between trips to the mechanic. After all, the more you know about your vehicle, the quicker you can spot an issue and have it looked at by a professional before a minor problem becomes a major issue. And maintaining your vehicle can help your car retain more value.

How auto insurance helps with car care

Having car insurance will not prevent your car from breaking down or ensure that you will never get into an accident, but it can offer you financial protection in both of those instances. If your vehicle is damaged because of a covered claim, the insurance company can help pay to fix the damage or replace the car, depending on your level of coverage and the amount of damage.

That said, a standard car insurance policy will generally only cover the cost of repairs if they were the direct result of an accident. For regular wear and tear, some providers offer mechanical breakdown insurance, or MBI, to help cover the cost of non-accident or -incident related repairs. MBI functions similarly to a warranty and generally covers brake, drivetrain, engine, exhaust, steering and transmission repairs (to name a few).

Taking care of your car

Although regularly taking your car to a mechanic is the best way to stay ahead of any significant repairs, there is quite a bit you can do in your own garage to help keep it in good condition.

A graphic displaying a car and all the areas a car owner might need to consider checking and maintaining.

  • Check all your lightbulbs: Once a week, turn your car’s lights on to make sure no lights are burnt out. Walk around your vehicle, and do not forget about the tag lights in the back. If you spot a burnt-out bulb, you may be able to replace it yourself for just a couple of dollars.
  • Wash and wax your car: A car wash does more than just make your car look good: regularly washing and waxing removes dirt, pollen, oils, road salt and other grimy buildup from your car that can cause paint damage and rust if left untreated.
  • Check fluids monthly: Each month, you should check your oil, coolant, windshield washer fluid, brake fluid, power steering fluid and differential fluid. If you check each of these monthly, you are more likely to spot fluid leaks before they do too much damage.
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