Woman Showing Car Keys Out Of Car Window

Your first car is more than likely the most significant investment you have made so far, which means that it is essential to make sure it lasts for a considerable amount of time. You have completed your driving test and are ready to be on the road independently. With age, cars do start to run into small issues and faults, but there are many different things that you can do to ensure that these problems are kept as minimal as possible.

Tips To Keep Your First Car In Top Condition

Not only is it important to keep your car in good condition to make it last longer, but also so when you eventually come to sell it, you get a good return. Vehicles decrease in value for many different factors; potential buyers will request money off for minuscule issues, so you was to keep these are little as you can. Our top tips on how to make your first car last are not very time consuming and can be done quickly if you know the best ways around them.

Build Up Speed

The idea of slowly building up speed when driving instead of motoring off the moment you start the engine is a helpful tip that not many people realise it helps. Once sitting stationary overnight, the oil within the engine settles to the bottom and once started up, needs a little bit of time to distribute itself around the engine parts. If you speed up immediately, the oil hasn’t had a chance to cover all of the components, meaning that they will grind against each other and will wear out quicker.

Stay Away From Dirt

Of course, in an ideal world we all want to have a sparkling, clean looking car at all times, but cleaning your vehicle regularly is not only important appearance-wise but build ups dirt can cause damaging effects. In general, dirt isn’t smooth; it has a rough surface which makes it a prime target for scratching the paintwork. Once a chip appears in paintwork, it takes only a small amount of time for rust to start appearing, which will continue to spread and built up. A surprising factor that also damages paintwork is bugs and bird droppings. Both include acid, which over time starts to eat away the paintwork, which can prove hard to resolve. Although it sounds like an off-putting task, it is always best to clean off insects and bird droppings immediately, insect remover and bird dropping wipes are available which makes the job quick and easy.

cleaning a car using a power washer

Don’t Ignore Issues

It can be very easy to put off the odd light that pops up on your dashboard or strange sound, but this could result in a whole host of serious problems which could have been quickly resolved if dealt with straight away. One of the most important issue that must be addressed straight away is the engine light; this only comes on if there is an issue with one of the components. It is a massive indication that your engine is starting to fail and the seriousness of the problem can be seen through the colour of the light. An orange light means that the issue is smaller and red means that the issue is severe.

We spoke to Noel McDermott, who teaches driving lessons in Northern Ireland about his experiences with new drivers.
“I’ve been teaching for more than 10 years now, and I’ve noticed that some of the most valuable skills I can teach a pupil are things that are not needed to pass your test. Things like how to fill up their car and how to know when there is an issue with your car that you need to get seen to, problems can easily get brushed away, and they’ll do nothing but build up more and more.”

Regular Oil Changes

There are many different reasons as to why it is crucial to ensure that you keep up to date with your oil changes. We regularly hear of engines overheating, and one huge cause of this is lack of oil. As a car is driven, the engine parts move and cause friction which causes heat, the main way to cool down the engine is through the oil. Changing oil also gives you the perfect opportunity to give the engine a small clean. Regular cleaning helps to stop a thick sludge of oil building up in the engine, which eventually stops it from lasting as long.

changing engine oil

Check Tyre Pressure

Having both low and too high tyre pressure can have a negative impact on your car. Every car requires a different tyre pressure and this information can be found in your vehicle handbook. Low tyre pressure means that there is too much of your tyres surface area causing friction against the road, over time starting to weakening them. On the other hand, too high tyre pressure causes not enough of the tyre surface to touch the road meaning that you will feel as if your car is bouncing along the road, making it harder to come to a stop. It is recommended to check your tyre pressure once a month using a tyre pressure gauge.

Watch Out For Heavy Loads

Over time, we see ourselves accumulating and hoarding a huge amount of things in our car, most of which are objects that we do not necessarily need. The heavier the load you carry in your car, the more you force your car to work. Your brakes, engine and suspension have a massive strain on them if you consistently take a heavy load. Although in some cases an extra load cannot be helped, for example, if you regularly carry passengers, you can make a small difference by sorting through how much of the junk in your car you do need.


Cars cannot last forever, but with proper care, they can last a reasonable amount of time fault free. Taking care of your car is something that you will need to research and learn with time as it is a factor that it is unlikely that you would have been taught during your driving lessons. Some aspects of car care are the same for every vehicle, but others differ depending on the car you invest in.