You have a car for the first time in your life, and it feels fantastic. Congratulations! There are many reasons people opt to get their own car, and mostly it’s because of convenience. It’s easier to get around with a vehicle of your own rather than always asking for a ride.
However, what most don’t know is that while getting a car often feels like another step to being a full-fledged adult, it is just more responsibility for you as an owner. If you have a job, chances are that a portion of your pay goes to gas and maintenance. It’s always best to be prepared for every scenario with your car, and while you have your relatives and friends to help you out for little emergencies, it helps to know the following things as a first-time car owner.
Always Read the Owner’s Manual
Most people skip this step because they are just too excited at the prospect of having their own car. The owner’s manual contains the list of all your car’s features as well as the warnings.
It is best to know as much as you can about your car so that, when there’s trouble in the future, you’ll be able to tell the shop or the mechanic what you suspect is wrong. The faster the problem is identified, the quicker it’s fixed.
Acquire the Proper Documents
Most first-time owners have secondhand cars, but whether that’s the case or you have a brand-new one, it is important to acquire and secure the proper documents. New cars come with a handbook, and secondhand ones should have service history records in addition.
Apart from that, you also need to make sure that the registration is correct and the insurance is up-to-date. To make your life easier, it is recommended that you keep your papers inside the vehicle, like in the glove compartment or on the dashboard, for when you need to grab them quickly.
Do Regular Service Schedules
If you read the manual, you know when it’s time to get your car serviced. It is important to heed the recommended period for an oil change, a timing-belt replacement, and other major services. The maintenance of your car will ensure that it will always be in good shape, and you should expect no problems if you follow the advised schedules.
Find a Reliable Mechanic
It is important to find an experienced and reliable mechanic that will take care of your car. While it is ideal to go for an auto shop that is near your house, only you can tell if your professional relationship with the mechanic is something you’d like to keep, because it’s not always the case plenty of times.
If you’re in the process of finding the right person to work on your car, do your research first and ask family, friends, and even neighbors for recommendations. Try out a few different ones until you find a mechanic you’re comfortable with.
A qualified mechanic should have the right certifications and transparency when it comes to doing work. Suppose you don’t have a lot of cash yet, a detailed estimate comes in handy so you know how much you’re expected to pay.
Experience may be important, but work ethic trumps that specification as excellent auto mechanics go out of their way to make sure that their customer’s vehicle is well taken care of and that they exceed expectations. It may take some time before you find the right one for you, but until then, don’t give up looking.
Some cars are sturdy on their own, but some need a little help in the form of accessories. If you use your car mainly as a means of transportation getting to and from work, you may also need gadgets to keep your trip comfortable. If you own a sedan and other similar small cars, you may benefit from getting a gel-padded cushion, a can of aerosol tire inflator, among others.
Bigger vehicles like pickup trucks and SUVs, including the Chevrolet Silverado, Ford Ranger, Nissan Navara, and more, may find fender flares useful. In some states, it is legally required for owners to get them if the vehicle has bigger tires.
Apart from making your vehicle stylish, flares also protect it from rocks and debris, especially on rougher roads. They’re also easy to install and most often do not require cutting or drilling so they’re ready to be put on anytime.
Always Be Prepared
Emergencies may come at the time you least expect it so it pays to be prepared. Get an emergency tool kit ready in your car for times like these. You can also put extra kits for survival and for first aid such as bottles of water, a flashlight, trash bags, an umbrella, and an extra phone battery.
What are your helpful tips for first-time car owners? Share your thoughts below.