Vehicle Servicing
Buyer Tips

5 Tips to Keep Your Cheap New Car Running 

By Mike Richards Updated: 05/23/2019 Posted: 10/16/2015

If you are buying a cheap new car, whether from a dealer or an online auction, you should do your best to make sure it stays in good condition and runs well for a long time. Proper care of your vehicle is essential if you want your vehicle to last. By following a few simple tips, you can help lengthen the life of your vehicle. 

Service the Vehicle Regularly

Even though it might be a cheap new car, you should not neglect the maintenance that the vehicle needs. It’s important that you follow a proper maintenance schedule to ensure the longevity of the car. Changing the oil regularly, particularly in older vehicles, is essential.

Make sure that you take the vehicle to a proper garage to handle the service that you cannot do on your own. The mechanics can take care of dirty fuel injectors, spark plugs, and check the transmission, the radiator, and much more. Think of this as a health check-up for your vehicle. Even when you have an older vehicle, proper servicing can keep it in good shape and working properly for a long time.

Check the Tire Pressure and Fluids

It only takes a few minutes to check your fluids and your tire pressure, but it’s something that few car owners actually do. You should check your oil, your power steering fluid, the radiator overflow tank and the brake cylinder reservoir. You should check the PSI of your tires to make sure they are properly inflated.  You should also check the belts and hoses to look for any signs of wear or fraying.

Doing this once a month will let you know when your car is low on fluids or when the tire pressure is low so that you can refill them. If you can make these checks weekly, you will find that it’s even easier to keep your car in good condition.

If you buy a cheap new car from a dealer or an auction, be aware that the vehicle may not have had proper maintenance or fluid and tire checks recently. Making these checks should be one of your priorities. Also, the vehicle may need to have some repairs done or some parts that need to be replaced. If you did enough research on the vehicle in advance, you will not have to worry about too many of these repairs, though.

Start Slowly

Even if your car seems to be in good condition right now, you need to treat it gently. An important part of this is the way in which you start up and take off in the vehicle. Instead of starting the car and gunning the engine, you want to give it an easy start up. Firing the engine up and stepping on the gas to rev the engine can cause damage. It takes around 30 seconds for the oil in the car to start lubricating the engine after you start it, and even longer for older vehicles.

A simple way to keep the engine in good shape is to start the engine and let it be idle between 30 seconds and a minute. If you haven’t used the car for longer than 24 hours, then you should give it an additional ten to 20 seconds.

Be Wary of Odd Sounds

You should also pay attention to any strange sounds coming from the vehicle. Once you’ve driven your cheap new car for a while, you will come to know the regular sounds it makes. Any anomalous sounds, such as squeaking brakes, the sound of metal grinding on metal when you use the brakes, or rattling in the engine may indicate that something is wrong.

If you can’t locate the source of the noise, and if you do not know how to fix the problem, you will need to take the vehicle to a mechanic for a diagnosis. Never ignore strange sounds from your vehicle, as they could indicate a serious problem.

Take Care When Driving

Don’t push the vehicle too hard. Don’t accelerate too quickly and don’t brake too hard unless it is an emergency. If you have a manual transmission, take care when you are shifting gears. By driving safely and with a healthy dose of common sense, you’ll find that it’s much easier to keep your car running well for years.

Here’s a quick bonus tip. If you plan to take your car on a road trip, you should make sure you service it and check the fluids and tire pressure before you go. If the vehicle is older and you aren’t sure if it can handle a long trip, you might want to consider renting another vehicle instead. This way, you are putting less stress on your everyday vehicle. Renting could end up being much cheaper than having to pay for repairs while you are on the road, and breaking down would certainly spoil your trip.

Even when you take good care of your vehicle, you will notice wear and tear as time goes on. Don’t worry too much about this. Simply take steps to make the repairs as needed, and the car will not only run well, but it can look good too. With a little bit of extra care and attention and these five simple tips, you will keep your car running for a long time.

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