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How to look after your vehicle

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Car or general motor maintenance is vitally important to anybody who owns a vehicle – big or small. Not everybody can be a mechanic and know exactly how their vehicles work, but there are a few basic steps you can take in order to reduce the stress on your car, look after your van or keep your minibus running smoothly.

Keep it ticking over

The easiest step on the route to vehicle maintenance is keeping it ticking over with regular trips out. This is especially important in the winter when the colder weather can affect older cars, and in general is good for your vehicle’s battery. Regular journeys prevent the battery from going flat and allows you to keep a regular eye on how your motor is operating. If the only journey you take is to the local shop and back, try taking it on a longer run every once in a while, opening its taps to higher speeds.

Know your vehicle

Taking a look through your vehicle’s owner’s manual is a good way to get to know your vehicle, as well as asking your dealer or the car’s previous owner about any historical issues it has had. Knowing your vehicle from the beginning will spare you any surprises and will allow you to plan for if anything goes wrong.

Get insurance

This goes without saying, but you must get insurance on your vehicle. Whether you are an owner of one single car or a motor trader needing cover from good motor trade insurance brokers, you have to make sure you are covered for damage and injuries to yourself or other drivers, passengers or pedestrians. 

Keep it clean and tidy

A simple way of maintaining your vehicle is to keep it clean and tidy. You should respect your vehicle – if you want others to respect it, show that you do yourself by carrying out the following:

  • Clear it of empty packets and bottles
  • Avoid leaving food in the vehicle, or it will smell
  • Vacuum and dust the interior of your vehicle
  • Wash it with soap and hot water
  • If you cannot wash or vacuum your vehicle, car wash and valet services are often inexpensive 
  • Use air fresheners
  • Put towels on the seats that dogs or other animals will be using 

Keep it safe

If at all possible, you should keep your vehicle in a safe place overnight or whenever it is unattended. Inside a garage is perfect, and a gated community is also safe, but generally anywhere off the road is preferable. If you are forced to leave your car on the pavement or near a road, tuck your wing mirrors in to prevent them being knocked off by accident. 

A handy tip for looking after your car when parking it in car parks is to try and park it in a quieter end or section, where it is less likely to get scraped by others. If the car park doesn’t have any quieter sections, park it next to the nicest-looking car you can find. The owner of an expensive, well-kept vehicle will be more likely to watch out for scraping yours when they leave than the owner of an old, battered and dirty motor.

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