Let's face it, we've all been stuck inside for a long while, and most of us are ready to take to the streets and get on the road. You may be ready to get back out there – but is your vehicle? Before you hit the road for your first summer adventure or return to the daily grind of a commute, we've got the maintenance tips you need to keep your car purring.
Caring for Your Vehicle
Just like a year of staying indoors might have you feeling a little less than ready to resume your old normal, your vehicle may also be a little sluggish if it's been parked in the same spot for far longer than usual. Unlike you, your car might not be able to just dive back into its old, standard routine.
These days vehicle maintenance may look a little different than it has in the recent past, due to the changing landscape of internal combustion engines. As a number of vehicles get replaced with newer, more fuel-efficient hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and all-electric vehicles, the landscape of caring for these cars is changing, too.
Maintenance Requirements by Vehicle Type
Today's vehicles come in many a few different forms:
Internal combustion engine vehicles
Leading the pack, there are more of these vehicles on the road than any other. This is what we typically think of as a standard vehicle, though these engines come in many forms, too: gasoline, diesel, and flex-fuel.
To care for your car these engines require regular maintenance and should be started and driven regularly to keep things in working order. If your vehicle stood for longer than normal it's a good idea to take it in for service before hitting the open road, especially if you plan on taking a long trip.
Check all the fluids: oil, transmission fluid, coolant, and gasoline should all be checked, filled, and in some cases, replaced regularly. Battery and electrical systems could also take a hit if your vehicle isn't stored properly, or if your battery was on its last leg before it got parked. These cars have a lot of moving parts and mechanical components that are subject to breakdown.
Don't forget to check any parts of your vehicle that may have undue wear after a long time, such as hoses, belts, and wiper blades.
Hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles
There are a growing number of hybrid and plug-in hybrid electric cars on the road these days. These vehicles have standard fuel engines but get additional power and fuel efficiency with the help of an electric motor which is powered through a regenerative braking system.
Hybrid cars require much of the same maintenance that a standard gas-powered vehicle does because most of its systems are the same. The batteries and electrical systems in these cars often require less repair and upkeep compared to standard fuel vehicles.
Electric vehicles or EVs
Finally, you have all-electric vehicles. These cars don't have an internal combustion engine and burn no fuels, fossil or otherwise. Because of the lack of moving parts and equipment associated with the standard engine, these vehicles require much less maintenance and upkeep comparatively.
Many of the moving parts that are standard on traditional engine vehicles aren't a part of the all-electric makeup so there's no exhaust, muffler, fuel pump, or any of the other things that tend to break down with wear. Due to this, electric motors are typically reliable and long-lasting, but you do need to learn to properly care for the battery in your car.
Battery care for an EV is a little different than battery care for a standard vehicle. Since it powers the entire operation of the car and doesn't hold on to its charge as a standard fuel vehicle battery does. Electric cars need to be plugged in to charge, and only have a set number of times that they can be charged. This is called the battery lifecycle, and you can typically find out about yours by consulting your owner's manual, or by talking to the dealer when you purchase the car.
You should also know that just like a cell phone or laptop battery, your EV battery will lose the ability to hold a full charge over time. Additionally, pay attention to which type of battery is in the vehicle you purchase, because some have liquid cooling systems that may require maintenance from a specialized technician.
No Vehicle to Get Going?
If you're ready to break out of lockdown and get back to the open road this summer, but you don't have a set of wheels right now, The Car Connection wants to help. Whether you're looking for a new, used, or certified pre-owned vehicle, we've got your options covered!
And, if you're a bad credit borrower, you're not out of luck. We've gathered a nationwide network of special finance dealerships that work with subprime lenders. These lenders have the ability to work with people in all kinds of credit situations. You can get the process of finding your next car or auto loan right here. Simply fill out our fast, free, car loan request form to get started now!