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The Ultimate Guide to Car Care for the Uncaring

Let’s face it, some folks derive immense pleasure from getting down on their knees and scrubbing away at their wheels with a toothbrush. What’s more, there are people who actually get into changing their own oil, swapping out air filters and even think it’s cool to add fluids to those enigmatic holes positioned all over their engines. And then, there are others who don’t give a rodent’s posterior about car care and can’t even manage to spray a hose on their vehicle once a month.

If you’re part of the former crowd, stop reading, this article isn’t for you. Go on and get back to your pristine machine and have at it with your dental instruments and filter wrenches. However, if you’re in the latter group of grimy, clunking vehicle owners, this article is written to scare you clean and tune you up.

To get your motor running, let’s hit you where you’ll feel it the most. No, not there – get your head out of the gutter. We’re talking about your wallet.

Do you realize that your lack of car care is going to cost cash money? Those Blue Book values that you drool over at trade-in or selling time are based on vehicles that have not been neglected. Not giving your car a bath on a regular basis is neglect. Not changing your oil according to a schedule is neglect. And, “neglect” translates to less money when its time to move on to a new ride.

The good news is, with a few minor tweaks to your regular car care routine, you can whip your vehicle into re-sale shape in no time. Warning: the following outline of suggestions isn’t the best practice, it’s what works for those of us that just can’t seem to find any sort of satisfaction in vehicle maintenance.

First, we’ll start with a little cleaning. Take your vehicle to a car wash. Touchless is best, but considering how you’ve maintained your vehicle in the past, even the scratchy gas station washes will do. You just want to get the bulk of the filth off.

Then, find yourself one of those parking lot detailers. For $10-$40, you get your vehicle looking pretty sharp. Plus, if there is a real problem with your exterior, such as paint oxidation, swirling, or fading, the detailer may have a solution like clay bars, rubbing compounds and even touch-up paint. Keep in mind, those extra services will cost a bit more. And, don’t skip the interior, your friends and family will thank you. By the time the work is done, you’ll be amazed at what your car is capable of looking like.

So far, you haven’t lifted a finger, other than pressing the car wash button and pulling a few bucks out of your wallet.

Next, the big step in the car care conundrum - going under the hood. Of course, you’re not going there, and here’s why - it’s cheaper and easier to pay the guy at the quick change oil place to do your dirty work. If you find a reputable place, they’ll get you fixed up in a jiffy (no pun intended). They can perform many services at a reasonable cost. And, you can bet they’ve seen some pretty ugly stuff, so you don’t have to be embarrassed when they point out that your battery terminals have corroded into nothing more than flaky, white gunk. They’ll probably swap out your air filter, which, depending on how long it’s been, will improve your gas mileage. They may start with the “flush your cooling system” or “change the transmission fluid” routine and, honestly, you may need it. But be careful, because if they recognize you as a sucker, they’ll keep working it until you walk out with a $300 bill, spoken from experience.

Now, thanks to a little car care your vehicle is looking and running better than ever. Your father-in-law isn’t scowling at you like you’re some sort of dirtbag anymore. You’re no longer embarrassed about offering rides to co-workers. Heck, you can even take a date in your vehicle. Do you like that? Would you like to keep it that way? It’s really quite simple, just follow the steps mentioned earlier – wash it and get the oil changed every-once-in-a-while.

Once car care becomes a regular practice and then a habit, it’s not so bad. You might even start venturing out by adding custom aftermarket accessories such as an air intake, seat covers or even an exhaust system. Whatever the outcome, just remember that a little car care goes a long way.

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