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If you’ve got a car that you use as the family’s taxi, you want to keep it running and looking its best. Making sure that your car is running properly can help to ensure the safety of anyone you put in it. Not only do you want your car to be safe, but there is little doubt that you want to keep it looking well maintained. Here are four tips that will keep your car running as it should and looking great:

1.Routine Maintenance

When it comes to our cars, busy lives often cause us to neglect routine maintenance like oil changes and tire rotations. Keeping up with regular oil changes, fluid top-offs and tire rotations can help to ensure that your car runs like it was designed to for as long as possible. Keeping up with routine maintenance can help your car run smoothly and improve your gas mileage. If you’re on a budget, improving your gas mileage can help keep a few extra dollars in your wallet each week.

2.Major Repairs

Never make the mistake of ignoring your dashboard’s warning lights, odd sounds you hear under the hood and any dragging, stuttering or pulling you feel under your foot. If you are involved in a car accident, never assume that the damage is only cosmetic. Ignoring these things can shorten the life of your vehicle and put your family at risk. If your dashboard lights alert you to an issue, take your car to your mechanic for a diagnostic test and possible repair work. If your car is damaged in an accident, contact your car insurance agent for help in assessing the damage and finding an approved body shop or mechanic.

3.Interior Organization

No mom or dad wants to get into a car that looks like it’s been the victim of a natural disaster. It can be easy to turn the interior of your car into what amount to a landfill if you aren’t careful. Look for ways that you can organize the interior of your vehicle to keep it clean and tidy. Plastic shoe boxes, coolers for snacks and even plastic shopping bags stored in the glove box can help keep the inside of your car organized. Plastic shoe boxes are great for crayons, coloring books, first-aid kits and non-essentials. Small, lunch coolers are great for non-perishable snacks and juice boxes, and you can use plastic bags for any garbage that you’ll need to throw away or recycle.

4.Regular Washes

Washing your car once every week or two will keep it looking like new. Try to set aside 20 minutes on the weekends for washing your car in your driveway with a green cleaning product; laser washes and car washes can be harmful to the environment. In fact, if you find that squeezing even 20 minutes into your schedule is difficult, you can find no-rinse, environmentally-friendly car wash liquids at your local big-box store.

Try to avoid neglecting your car simply because you have a schedule packed full of work, school and family activities. Neglecting your car can lead to serious safety consequences for your family. By keeping up with routine maintenance, fixing major damage in a timely manner and keeping your car clean and organized, you’ll have a vehicle that is a pleasure to drive long after you’ve made your last payment.

Jen Gilbert lives and writes in London. She writes for www.carinsurance.org.uk where you can find more information on car insurance, trips, and tips for saving money when you drive.