Cars are neither cheap to buy or cheap to run and maintain and so, taking care of it should be a priority. The more well-maintained it is, the less likely you are to run into problems, and the more likely it is to retain its value.

It will, of course, depreciate over time as all vehicles do, but the better it's looked after, the more marketable it will be should you ever want to sell it in the future. Not only that but, having a car that is kept clean and tidy will be far more comfortable to travel in.

Here are 5 ways to keep your car in great shape.

Keep the exterior clean

Although you might not be in the mood, cleaning your car a couple of times a month will help to keep it looking in tip-top condition. It should only take a couple of hours, and you might find it quite therapeutic. Many people use the time to gather their thoughts and get away from it all for a bit, so you may end up enjoying it.

There are various options when it comes to cleaning the exterior of your vehicle. You can use a bucket of hot water, car cleaning fluid and a soft sponge followed by a good rinse with a hose. A quicker option is to power wash your car to get rid of any excess dirt and debris, wash it down, and then power wash again. It works particularly well on wheel trims and makes it a far less dirty job.

Check your oil

Oil helps your car to run smoothly and prevents heat and friction damage to various components, so it's a good idea to try and use quality oil if you can. Regularly check your oil levels with a dipstick to make sure that you have enough oil for your car to continue running. If you get your vehicle serviced regularly, they should do this for you, but it's worthwhile doing your own checks in the interim.

If you are unsure how to check your oil levels or fill your oil to the optimum levels, your vehicle handbook should tell you, or there are instructional videos online that can help.

Deal with maintenance issues

If your vehicle is older and therefore showing signs of wear and tear, it's a good idea to have any damage or issues assessed. Some may be cosmetic, however, there may be times when leaving an issue could lead to the problem getting worse.

For example, you make think that rusted body panels are just a bit of an eyesore but, if left, can weaken the metalwork and compromise safety. You could, of course, try and remedy the issues yourself with some metal cutting tools and sheet metal, but if you don't know what you are doing, take your vehicle to someone who does. Maintenance will save you time, money, and hassle, so don't ignore it.

Check your tires

Checking your tires is crucial, especially in the winter months. Your tire treads keep your vehicle gripped to the road in wet or snowy conditions, so if your treads are worn, it could pose a safety risk. If you are unsure whether the treads are safe, checking the depth with a coin should give you your answer. If they are lower than they should be, take your vehicle to a garage as soon as possible to have the tires replaced.

Checking your tire pressure regularly is also a good idea. Your tires will last a lot longer if they are fully pumped up, so if you are doing fairly high mileage, checking and topping up every couple of weeks could save you a lot of money.

Drive your car regularly

If you don't do many miles in your car and it can be left for a long time without being used, take it out for a spin around once a week. This will ensure that the brakes don't seize and that the battery doesn't fully drain. Even if it's a quick drive around the block for ten minutes, it will be enough to make sure that everything is working as it should.

If your car isn't used regularly, it's also a good idea to keep it stored in a garage if you have one. Not only will this protect it from the elements, but it should also reduce your insurance premiums, so if you don't already keep your car locked up at night, it's something worth considering.

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