A stitch in time saves nine. This seems like a ridiculous and old-fashioned thing to say … until that little hole in your pants rips the crotch completely – and at the most inopportune of times. Cars are kind of the same. You might ignore a ‘harmless’ bit of repair and before you know it, you’re stuck in the middle of nowhere with a car that won’t go and no signal on your mobile phone. Not fun. Even if it doesn’t get this dire, affordable repairs can escalate if you leave them too long, so it’s best to take your car in for regular maintenance.
Shed that smell
Humans are dangerously good at adjusting to unpleasantries. Think about that nagging smell in your car. At first, it will drive you crazy. You’ll scrub every inch and leave the doors and windows open, trying to get rid of it. But after a few unsuccessful car washes, you’ll just get a strong-smelling car freshener and wear more perfume. If a new passenger points out the weird smell, you’ll pretend you haven’t heard them.
Here’s the thing though. ‘Smell’ is actually caused by microscopic particles of the smelly thing. So if your car has a baby vomit smell, there are probably tiny pieces of it stuck somewhere in your vehicle. And if it persists, you may end up removing all the fabric in your car, from the chairs to the carpets in the boot, and that could get expensive.
Plan B? Give your car a special anti-odour treatment. The Purifier is a particularly effective method, proven to get rid of urine, cigarette remnants, and that infamous drunken-date scent. It works by saturating your car in ozone, which kills all the germs and bacteria, including allergens and scent particulates. And it’s cheaper than vehicular overhaul.
Fix your squeaks and creaks
Some people treat their cars like they treat their bodies. If the feel an odd ache or pain, they ignore it until it goes away. If their tooth hurts, they wait until it’s falling off or rotting in their mouths before they see a dentist. That means a mild infection that could be resolved with antibiotics or a basic filling end up escalating into a hospital stay.
Any driver worth their salt pays close attention to their car. They can recognise the slightest shift in how she handles, and can identify a whisper of difference in the way she sounds. Ignore these cues at your peril. That tapping sound could advance into an engine knock, and that mousy squeak could end with your wheels flying off their axles in traffic.
Do routine vehicular checks at home. Check the fluids in your brakes, radiator, or oil sump, as well as your wipers and your fuel tank. Keep an eye on tyre pressure and fuel gauges. And even if the car isn’t doing anything strange, take her to the garage very six months so she can get a once-over. It makes a big difference.
Scratch your car’s itch
Some drivers are scary in their attention to paint work. They can spot the tiniest scratch or dent, which means the know exactly who caused it, and they will come for you. While that level of detail is neurotic, the other extreme is just as bad. There are drivers who let their cars get so rusty and banged up that it’s a wonder the car is still in one piece.
The odd scratch or dint is fine, but when your car looks like it’s holding together on hope and obstinacy, it’s a problem. At that point, you may need full body work to restore it, which will involve scraping it down to its chassis and maybe building a whole new body. And yet preventing this amount of deterioration is so simple.
Every time you wash your car, give it a good wax to protect the paint work. You could even add glossy paint protector to prevent everyday paint damage. Keep a can of paint corrector in your car and fill in shallow cracks as they appear, before the stretch and worsen. Then, every month or so, you can cut and polish your car, buffing off the scrapes and scratches to spruce her up. Those three easy steps wills save you thousands of dollars in body work.