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Buying a car is easy. Maintaining it in top shape is hard work. Whether it’s a new car or a pre-owned one, regular check-ups and maintenance routines can extend its life, while making yours easier!

A well maintained car is not only more reliable, but will also save you money on heavy repairs. As they say – a stitch in time saves nine!

Here are 20 basic car care and maintenance tips from to help you get the most of your car in Rwanda.

  1. Give your car a regular wash: Give your car a good wash to keep it free from accumulated dust, mud, dirt and bird droppings. A clean and shiny car can say a lot about you! Use a vehicle cleaning formula and micro fiber towels to avoid swirl marks.
  2. Wax your car to maintain the shine: Waxing your car regularly protects the paint job from harmful UV rays, pollution and bird droppings. It also adds that extra shine!
  3. Ensure clear visibility: Make sure that the windshield, the windows and mirrors are clean and not broken before you begin driving. Low visibility can be a serious safety issue.
  4. Replace faulty wipers: We think of wipers only when it rains or snows. But it can be frustrating to find them not working when you really need them! Dirty, damaged or worn out wiper blades can impair visibility during rain or snow, and can lead to unpleasant driving experiences or incidents. Clean the wiper blades regularly and check for wear & tear to keep them functioning effectively.
  5. Park in the shade: Parking in direct sunlight exposes your car to UV damage and interior damage caused by excessive heat trapped inside. Park in shade or better still – in a garage whenever possible. It saves your car from acidic things like bird droppings, tree sap, dead bugs, and airborne elements like dust, dirt, and pollen.
  6. Clean the interiors frequently: Clean and vacuum the interiors regularly to keep it free from dirt, stains, bad odors, and allergens. Dust and wipe the mats once a week, or as needed. You would need more frequent cleaning if you have young children or pets! Remember, the interiors can leave lasting impressions on people who ride your car.
  7. Be a considerate driver: Accelerate slowly when you begin to drive, and shift to neutral at red lights to give the engine some rest. A little care while driving can go a long way to extend the life of your car, and avoid unnecessary repairs and sudden breakdowns.
  8. Maintain the tires: Check the tire pressure at regular intervals. Keep them inflated to manufacturer specified pressure. Underinflated tires can result in lower mileage and poor handling. Also check for wear & tear or other signs of damage regularly. Worn out tires can lead to major accidents while driving.
  9. Check the lights: Give attention to the headlights, tail-lights and indicators, and keep them clean. Replace faulty or broken bulbs that can cause safety issues, especially while driving in the night.

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  10. Change engine oil regularly: Changing the engine oil helps flush out abrasive dirt and metal particles out of the engine, leading to longer engine life and better performance.
  11. Top-up the fluids: The fluids are crucial for smooth running of an engine. Check and top-up the coolant, brake fluid, power steering fluid, transmission fluid, etc. periodically to avoid breakdowns.
  12. Replace dirty air filters: A proper mixture of air and fuel is needed for effective working of a car engine. Dirty and clogged filters can lead to low performance and lower mileage.
  13. Schedule professional check-ups: Not all car maintenance tasks can be done at home. Scheduling regular tune-ups and check-ups with a professional car care centre can go a long way in preserving your car in good shape.
  14. Learn to read the warning signs: Most contemporary cars have sensors and use warning lights on the instrument panel to notify about issues that require urgent attention. You can get to know the significance of these warning lights from the user manual. Get professional help if required.
  15. Check the braking system: The braking system of a car should be maintained in top condition always to avoid accidents. These include the break pad, the break oil and break discs.
  16. Inspect belts and batteries: Batteries and belts are essential parts of an engine. Keep a check on them and replace faulty and old ones to avoid major breakdowns.
  17. Take care while filling up: If there is a tanker filling the tanks at the gas station, go to a different station. When the underground tanks are filled, the turbulence can stir up sediment, which in turn can clog fuel filters and injectors.
  18. Check wheel alignment: Get the wheels aligned after fitting new tires every time. If you find steering harder than usual, or feel the car pulling to one side, get the wheel alignment checked as well. Improper alignment can shorten the life of tires and also result in poor handling.
  19. Change spark plug: Replace the spark plug if your engine misfires, or gives trouble while starting. A faulty spark plug can also lead to high fuel consumption, lack of acceleration and low engine performance.
  20. Keep an emergency kit in the boot: Every vehicle should have an emergency kit in the boot. In case of break down, things like a spare tire, jumper cables, a flashlight, tire inflation tools, first aid kit, basic tools like spanners, wrench, screw drivers, pliers, wheel jack, etc. can be of great help. If you are stranded in a lonely stretch, these tools can help you get to the nearest service station.  

Keep visiting – Rwanda’s leading online automotive marketplace – for more tips, blogs on maintaining your car, and latest updates and car reiview and news in the automotive industry.