Protecting Your Vehicle

It is a well-known fact that cars are expensive, not only to purchase but also to maintain. To maintain the value of your car and to avoid depreciation as time goes on, it is important to protect your vehicle. Protecting your vehicle means multiple things. First and foremost, you should keep up on maintenance within the interior and on the exterior. You should also protect your car against theft and anticipate the effects that weather has on your automobile.

Regular Maintenance 

            Similar to how we should all go to the doctor’s office and dentist multiple times a year, your car needs to see a professional for regular maintenance throughout the year. Some of the most important visits include but are not limited to: oil changes, tune-ups, tire rotations, wheel alignments and brake checks. Typically, we suggest that you follow the manufacturer’s recommendations to change your oil around 7,500 miles. It is important to note that this is based on optimum driving and car conditions. For older cars, excessive use during extreme weather conditions or when hauling heavy loads you should be changing your oil every 1,000 to 3,000 miles. Also, getting your tires rotated and wheels aligned will improve car functionality.  Tune-ups and brake checks are essential for safety and functioning purposes.

Weather 

            When bad weather approaches it becomes especially important to protect your vehicle. This starts with the basics of keeping your car clean, inside and out. During the wintertime, salt and dirt pile up on the roads around you and end up on your vehicle. This can be damaging to the exterior and interior of your car. To prevent damage to your car during bad weather conditions such as hail, ice or salt you should take these preventative steps. Before the bad weather happens prepare your interior with rubber floor mats in the front and the back seats. Anyone getting into your vehicle can track in dirt, snow and salt which can be damaging to your floors and seats. Ask your passengers to shake off any residue before entering the vehicle, and have mats to make sure your carpet doesn’t get damaged. When you’re on-the-go it can be helpful to have a car cover to protect your vehicle. This not only speeds up the process of clearing off your car after a snow or ice storm, but it also prevents further damage to your exterior. Before the bad weather starts up it can be beneficial to get both a car wax to protect your paint as well as a pass to your nearest car wash. Regular car washes can decrease the chances of having a damaged paint job. Not all car owners will have access to a garage, but it is important to store your car away to protect from natural damages such as an ice storm, flood or hail. If you don’t have a garage or space in your garage at home there are other options to protect it. Using a car cover at home is a cheap way to increase your vehicle protection. There are also more permanent options such as an auto shelter, which is similar to a large tent for your car.

Theft

            Not only can you protect your car from the weather, depreciation and breakdowns, but you can also protect your car from theft. According to the FBI, in 2012 there was more than $4.3 billion lost due to motor vehicle thefts nationwide. The average lost per stolen vehicle was about $6,019. Motor vehicle theft is devastating, but you can take these steps to decrease the likelihood that it will happen.  According to the national highway traffic safety administration, 40 to 50 percent of car thefts are due to driver error. Although it may sound simple, the first step in preventing car theft is locking your vehicle. Nearly half of car thefts are due to unlocked vehicles. The next step is not only taking your keys with you, but also never keeping your spare key in your car. Even if your car is locked, a thief can still break into your car and use your spare key. Decrease the likelihood of attracting a car thief by parking in well-lit areas when you’re leaving your vehicle. Lock any extra valuables in your glove box or trunk, and take your full access key with you. If your valuables can’t fit into your glove box or trunk, hide them from plain view. When you are at home, locking your garage will also decrease the likelihood of your car being stolen or broken into.

Written by Marc Laferierre, owner of Dents Unlimited. Dents Unlimited offers the best auto repair Columbia MO has to offer, where their expert staff can get your car back on the road in no time.