Let us help you prepare your new car for the future. All it takes are a few little tips and you could make the journey ahead smoother, safer and more fun. Not only that, but a few tactical purchases could save you a lot of time in the future too, and avoid a few embarrassing situations.
We’ll be focusing more on the extra things you can do after getting a new car, so in the meantime don’t forget the legal requirements of car ownership: taxing the vehicle, insuring it and booking it in for servicing. Once you’ve sorted these, you can dig a little deeper on how to iron out the creases and get the most from you new car.
Without further ado, here’s a few things that we’ve found to help after your new set of wheels go the distance:
Take a look at the manual
Much like with any new electronics bought, it’s always good to begin things with reading the manual. It’s okay to flick to all the fun things, too; it’s important to learn about how to stay comfy in the cockpit with the climate controls, or get a grip on how the satnav works. There might even be features you didn’t know about-- it’s all worth exploring. Just do it at home, because you don’t want to be fiddling around with buttons on the open road!
You should eventually take a look at the essential things too. The manual will give you valuable technical information regarding maintenance; things like tyre pressure, towing weights, service scheduling and how frequently parts need checking. It might give you details on how to complete minor maintenance too, saving you a pretty penny at the garage by doing things like changing air filters. It’s worth keeping it in the glovebox on journeys, in case any lights on the dashboard illuminate and you need help deciphering them.
There’s no such thing as getting too familiar with your car, so set aside time for some light reading.
Learn some good driving habits
If you’ve bought a showroom-fresh car, the engine has tens of thousands of miles ahead of it. You should do whatever you can now to make them as incident-free as possible. Whilst new engines aren’t delicate by any means, you can give them a chance by easing them into a long working life.
Going easy on the pedals is one way of looking after the car. As tempting as it is, don’t go slamming that accelerator; manufacturers recommend limiting new cars’ RPM for the first thousand miles, to help with the longevity of the engine and transmission. Remember to feather that gas pedal and change gear nice and early – it’ll pay dividends in the future.
Just like accelerating, you should be cautious when braking. Several factors mean that your new car won’t slow down as quickly as a used vehicle. The tyres leave the manufacturer with a thin layer of lubricant use to stave off degradation, and fresh brake pads need time to adjust to the discs. It could be the perfect time to polish those cautious driving habits that may have slipped when driving other cars. Just remember to anticipate traffic and reacting in good time.
Buy the essentials
There’s a few things every driver should keep with them in every car they own, universal things that you’ll miss when you need them most. Your boot should always have a warning triangle, a first aid kit and jumper cables for when the unexpected happens. Along with these, there’s a few other things you should keep handy in your new car.
In the boot, you should consider having a basic tool kit – including a torch – in case you have to get your hands dirty. We’ve already mention jumper cables, but a portable battery pack means you won’t need another car to bring your battery back to life. A small jack should be in there too, for those emergency roadside tyre changes. Don’t forget to pack a cloth or rag too – you don’t want to get oil and grease on your upholstery after making some repairs!
Up front in the glove box, there’s a few things that can help make journeys more comfortable. Sunglasses can be essential on bright days where your visor’s not providing enough shade. During winter, an ice scraper’s going to be needed to clear windows (along with a little elbow grease). Lastly, consider keeping an emergency glass hammer close by. These little lifesavers can be used to quickly break door windows, for when you need to quicky escape a car sinking in water. It’s extremely rare that you’ll need it, but “just in case” is better than “not at all.”
Make it yours
You’ll be spending a lot of time in that new car of yours – add a little of yourself to it! The cockpit should be a comfortable and fun place to be. A few reasonably-sized trinkets can add a little personality (it’ll also make your car easier to find in car parks!).
A must-have is a classic air freshener on the rear-view mirror. There’s a whole industry burgeoning from this one accessory, and you’ll be hard pressed to find a scent not represented: jelly bean, old books, breakfast tea—anything. If you’re looking to get a cover for your seat, don’t be afraid to get something more colourful than grey. You could even get wild patterns and fabrics for your steering wheel, if you so choose.
It goes without saying that having the right music on a journey is essential. Going back to manual reading, getting a grips with your music systems is going to make trips much more comfortable. If yours is a little more old-school, you might need an aux cable to plug your phone directly into the radio.
Just remember that when you’re decorating that you need unimpeded vision of the road ahead - sorry, that means no fuzzy dice. It also goes for any trinkets you might stick to your dashboard. It’s best to avoid stickers on the windscreen too, so save them for the classic spot – your bumper.