Whether you’re a brand new driver or investing in a new model, that new car feeling is something you can’t beat. But in all the excitement of driving a brand new vehicle it can be easy to make some crucial mistakes that could lead to damaging your new investment. If you can put the work into protecting your new car on the road, you can guarantee that it will feel as special as you bought it for a long time to come.
Protecting a new car on the road comes down to how you operate and maintain it day by day. Drive smoothly to avoid accidents and wear and tear, invest in an in car camera to give you peace of mind on the road, learn how to perform basic maintenance of the engine and it’s fluids, and follow some simple tips on how to maximise the lifespan of your new car. Whether you’re an experienced driver or this is your first car, these 6 simple tips are a great way to start protecting your vehicle.
1. Drive smoothly
This first tip for protecting your new car on the road is likely something that came up in your driving theory test. When you’re learning, you’re taught that harsh acceleration and sudden breaking can be dangerous to cars around you, as they might not have time to react to your movements. Driving smoothly protects your new vehicle from bumps, scrapes and more serious road traffic accidents. More than that, smooth and measured driving also reduces the wear and tear on the car’s brakes, gearbox and tyres, helping your vehicle last longer, plus it improves your fuel economy, meaning you’ll spend less on running your car. Win win win!
2. Install an in car camera
If you’re worried about the risk of road collisions in your new car, installing an in car camera can help give you some much-needed peace of mind while you’re driving. Also known as a dash cam, these handy safety gadgets take video and sound recordings through the front (and sometimes rear) windscreen. Automatic video capture technology takes a record of everything that happens in and around your car from the moment you turn the key. This is a great way to reexamine your driving to see if there’s anything you could do to be operating the vehicle more safely. Plus, if you do end up in a road traffic incident, you will have a video recording of the whole incident that can help with insurance claims.
3. Replace spark plugs
These days, many drivers have no idea what’s under the bonnet of their car. It’s no surprise really: cars are getting technologically more complicated every day, so when it comes to repairs many drivers are worried about doing more harm than good. However, if there’s one thing you can do to protect your new vehicle and avoid breakdowns on the road, it’s learning how to change your spark plugs. Spark plugs are an essential part of your car’s engine as they ignite the fuel that keeps your car moving. Regularly checking whether your spark plugs are showing signs of wear and tear, or that the electrode and the insulator are well connected. Replacing them with new parts will protect the working parts of your engine and keep your new car feeling new for as long as possible. Of course, always consult your vehicle handbook before attempting any repairs.
4. Top up fluids
Another important at-home trick to protect your new car from breakdowns is topping up fluids. There are three key fluids in question: engine oil, coolant and wiper fluid. Engine oil should be checked fortnightly and topped up if it’s running low. When checking engine oil, look for a yellowy-brown colour in petrol engine cars and dark-coloured oil in a diesel car. Coolant should also be checked fortnightly; if it’s low, top it up with a mixture of half distilled water and half antifreeze. These two fluids are essential for running the car, and learning how to check and replace them yourself can protect you from breakdowns. Windscreen wiper fluid is also an important fluid to keep an eye on. Replacement fluid should be bought from a garage; don’t try and use washing up liquid, it could damage your car’s paint!
5. Use your air conditioning
If drivers know anything about air conditioning, it’s that using it can drain fuel. What’s less well known is that not using it can cause damage to your car’s air conditioning unit, which could damage other key parts of the vehicle. Over time, the gas in unused air con systems needs an escape, and can often leak from the system. In practice, this means having to re-gas your air con systems to get them working again. Luckily, all you have to do to protect your car is use your air con a little at a time throughout the year – yes, even in the winter.
6. Don’t carry heavy weight
If you follow the innovations in car manufacturing, you’ll find that the newest cars are always trying to be lighter than the models before. Reducing the weight of the vehicle is a major contributor to its fuel efficiency, something that is more important than ever with the current attention on eco-friendly cars. So, if car manufacturers are doing all they can to make your new car lighter, don’t undo their work by piling the weight back on. Carrying extra weight in your vehicle is a quick and easy way to reduce your fuel economy, increase the wear and tear on your tyres, brakes and suspension, and make your new car quickly into another old car. Reducing weight in your vehicle doesn’t have to be big things: try to keep your vehicle clear of any objects you don’t need to be carrying. Getting rid of anything, from an old bag of clothes to used coffee cups, could make the difference!