Basic maintenance for your new car: From breaking in to winter storage (Pt. 2)

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A car key chain overloaded with heavy objects.

That much junk on your key chain can wear down ignition switch tumblers over time.(Photo Credit: CC BY/Chie/Flickr)

Let the lessons of basic maintenance and care of your new car continue. Sometimes, it simply pays to know, just as it sometimes pays to know when to call a tow truck. CLICK HERE if you missed the beginning of this article.

Basic maintenance from inception tip No. 5 – Consider a tow truck

If there’s snow, mud, loose sand or gravel on the ground, your vehicle can become stuck. Don’t make the problem worse by riding the accelerator like crazy. Going forward and backward in an attempt to rock yourself out can help, but if you place too much strain on the car, the heat buildup can be murder for transmissions, clutches and differentials. Rather than having to pay for expensive repair, it may actually be worth calling in a tow truck. If you have AAA service, you’re golden. If you aren’t that badly stuck, having a traction aid like sand, gravel or even kitty litter.

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Basic maintenance from inception tip No. 6 – Don’t go heavy on the key chain

Are you one of those people who straps everything to your key chain, including the kitchen sink? I’m talking keys, knives, screwdrivers, cartoon characters, flashlights, noise-makers, pepper spray and adult items. All of that weight is bad news for your car’s ignition switch. The constant bouncing slowly wears down the tumblers inside the ignition, which will eventually lead to ignition switch failure. A lightweight key chain is all you need, along with the essentials. Keep the rest of the tools and amusements elsewhere, such as in a tool kit in the trunk, or back in your childhood. By the time your key begins to stick when you try to turn it over, you’re in need of a replacement ignition. Replace it, or risk being stranded in a place where all of those tools you’re carrying may actually become necessary for your survival.

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Basic maintenance from inception tip No. 7 – Get good insurance

If you’re driving around in an old beater of an automobile, high-priced insurance isn’t advisable. The total value of the car may not be worth the high monthly premiums you’ll pay. However, with a new car, you want an insurance company with a solid claims reputation, in the event that you need repair after a disaster. This assumes that you will be carrying comprehensive coverage with a low deductible or no deductible. For a top-of-the-line sports car or luxury sedan, comprehensive coverage for unforeseen natural disasters or theft are invaluable. A low collision deductible is important in applicable situations, too.

CLICK HERE for the conclusion of this article, including an important checklist of what you should do to prepare your new car for winter storage.


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