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One of the most significant purchases most people make is a new car, and I have found these days it’s more important than ever to know how to maintain its lifespan and trade-in value. But over the years, advice for breaking in and maintaining a car’s trade in value has changed.

7 Tips For Extending The Life Of A New Car

1. Break it in, Fact or fiction? Most of the tips for engine break-in periods and practices have filtered down through the years, originating from older manufacturing practices. Generally speaking, your owner’s manual will cover break-in information appropriate for your particular engine make and model.

2. Drive carefully each day. It sounds like your mum’s advice, but it’s true – driving responsibly, avoiding sudden bursts of acceleration or sudden stops, driving cautiously, not following too closely for safety, etc., are some of the best ways to prolong the life of your new car. Besides avoiding premature wear, it also helps you avoid accidents – thus preserving the structural integrity of your vehicle.

3. Use reputable service stations for fills. With the price of petrol seeming higher each time you have to fill, it can be tempting to go wherever there is a bargain. It’s important to choose reputable service stations with quality fuel and attendants who are knowledgeable about vehicle maintenance if needed.

4. Reduce the weight on your keychain. Too often people have such an array of key chains, keys, alarms, and computer memory devices on a single keychain. This weight can create quite a bit of tension on the ignition as a result. Lighten the load and keep your ignition working correctly for years to come.

5. Keep a log of fuel fill ups. It’s a simple step, really. But changes in your vehicle’s consumption of petrol are a strong indicator of emerging problems and are usually cheaper to fix in their infancy rather than waiting for a poorly timed breakdown. Have you noticed, like I have, breakdowns never happen at a good time?

6. Use touch up paint sooner rather than later. As you notice the inevitable chips to your vehicle’s paint, repair them as soon as possible. This will prevent the underlying metal from corroding as a result of contact with moisture or other debris.

7. Fill washer reservoir with washer fluid only. It sounds like it could save you money, but long term, it’s actually more expensive, especially in cold temperature if a water-filled reservoir cracks. While making a plan to replace the reservoir once a year is a great idea, don’t put yourself in the position of creating possible additional damage.

Whether it’s a Chrysler 300 SRT8 or any other vehicle, I would expect like mine, your new car is your pride and joy. Keep it in new car condition longer with these simple tips.

A freelance auto journalist from Melbourne, Becky Doucet is a master at keeping her own Chrysler 300 SRT8 looking and running like new. That is, when she’s not out indulging her love of adventure sports and hiking.