Breaking in Your New Car

If you’ve bought a new car, your first instinct might be to “see what it can do” and see how fast it can go. Don’t! Not only will this put you in danger of getting a speeding ticket, but it’s also potentially very bad for your car. Car salesmen will warn you about the “break-in” period for a new car and they aren’t kidding. New cars need to go around 1,000 miles before all of the parts and fluids are working at maximum efficiency. Taking your car to the limit out of the lot is a recipe for disaster.

During the 1,000 miles of use, it’s a good idea to not drive faster than 55 mph. You’ll also want to check the owner’s manual of your new car for further advice – certain cars will require that you drive even slower. Placing additional strain on the drive train is also a bad idea – this includes towing trailers or other vehicles or loading the roof rack and truck with heavy items.

It’s also a bad idea to let your car idle for long periods – this decreases the oil pressure in the engine, meaning that oil might not be getting everywhere it needs to be in the system. In fact, avoiding lengthy periods of idling is good for the car at all times.

In general, you’ll want to baby your car for the first 1,000 miles – including keeping your engine under 3,000 rpms. If you do this, you and your car will have a long and wonderful relationship.

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How Often Should You Change Your Motor Oil?

When you got your first car, chances are that your father gave you a list of things that you needed to do. At the top of the list was probably to change your oil every 3,000 miles. That number has become an industry standard – if you go to a mechanic to have your oil changed, chances are that they will give you a reminder to come back and have your oil changed again within three months or 3,000 miles.

But do you really need to change your oil that often? The answer is that you don’t, even though 3,000 miles was a good standard until recently. However, improvements in oil quality and the ability of modern engines to operate well at higher heats and stresses that are closer to their maximum tolerances mean that motor oil can last longer and that your engine doesn’t need fresh oil every 3,000 miles.

How often you decide to change your oil depends on several factors. If you have an older car or a work vehicle that is under high stress, then it’s still a good idea to change your oil close to 3,000 miles. Newer passenger cars can go significantly longer depending on the type of oil used. If you are using a regular, petroleum-based motor oil, you should change your oil around every 5,000 miles. If you use a synthetic oil, you can get up to 7,000 miles out of one oil change.

Choosing the Right Car Wax

Selecting the right car wax for your vehicle truly is a matter of personal preference. Your two main options are synthetic liquid waxes versus natural pastes. The one that you choose greatly depends on how much time you are willing to devote to the care of your car.

Natural paste waxes are probably what you were used to your father using on the family car when you were a kid. They are thick and need to be applied by hand. Meanwhile, synthetic liquid pastes can either be applied by hand or by a high-speed buffer or other machine. This means that if you are in a hurry, you can polish your car much faster using a synthetic liquid wax. The results are the same no matter which type of wax you use, and synthetics have the additional advantage of also having a polisher – eliminating that potentially lengthy step.

One advantage of a paste wax is that while it costs slightly more to purchase, one tin will generally last longer than a tube of liquid paste. There is also something to be said for getting the enjoyment of waxing your car by hand and knowing that you are carefully waxing every nook and cranny. However, for most people, a liquid wax will let them keep their car looking great while saving them time.

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