Be sure to buy the right wheel cleaner. *File photo
Be sure to buy the right wheel cleaner. *File photo

We all know by now that regular maintenance can keep your vehicle running longer and more efficient, and can help you avoid expensive repairs. 

Yet the focus is usually on routine maintenance like checking your tyres and fluids, and changing your oil. 

This month I want to talk about more unconventional vehicle maintenance that’s also important and that you can do yourself.

Keep a lid on it

People don’t often pay too much attention to the gas cap on their vehicle, in fact, it can be easily lost or left behind after a fill-up. 

A missing gas cap can reduce your fuel efficiency by one to two per cent. Gas naturally evaporates and if there is no cap, those vapours will escape and pollute the air. The gas cap also keeps dirt and other contaminates out of your gasoline. Gunk in your gas tank reduces fuel efficiency and could harm your car.

You also want to make sure the cap fits nicely. Over the years, your gas cap can lose its seal as the rubber warps or breaks, which can also lead to loss of fuel efficiency. To check, listen as you unscrew the gas gap. 

You should hear a hiss, which means the cap is fitting well. 

Keep moisture out

Many people might not think to regularly inspect weatherstripping and door and window seals. 

With Bermuda’s sunny climate, weatherstripping can dry out and crack from repeated exposure to UV rays causing it to leak. 

If you notice any damaged or loose areas, get them repaired immediately. 

Also, don’t forget this area when you wash your vehicle. 

Keeping your weatherstripping clean will help preserve it. 

You may even want to use a special treatment or conditioner as recommended by your owner’s manual or an automotive service professional.

Use wheel cleaner

Your vehicle’s wheels take the brunt of road dirt. Pair that with the dust that wears off your brake pads and you’ve got a formula for stains that are tough to remove when you wash your vehicle. 

Car-washing liquid won’t do the job. 

You need a wheel cleaner specifically formulated to remove such stains.  Be sure to buy the correct formulation. 

Some cleaners are designed for metal wheels, and others for painted or clear-coated wheels. 

The metal wheel cleaners come in various formulations as well, depending upon whether your metal wheel has a satin, aluminum, or chrome finish. 

Protect metal wheels with wheel polish and painted wheels with a coat of wax.

Inside detailing

When you’re cleaning the inside of your vehicle, take it easy on the dash gauges. Use a soft damp cloth to lightly wipe dust from the clear plastic lenses on your dashboard. 

Too much pressure will scratch them. Too many scratches can make it difficult to read your gauges under certain lighting conditions.

Also, many of us have leather seats because they are durable and don’t require a lot of maintenance. 

After a few years, however, the seats can become soiled. 

Use a leather cleaner to remove dirt and stains. Then apply a leather protectant formulated for the type of leather used in in the seats. Protectants will resist stains and make the upholstery easier to clean in the future. Choose a protectant that includes conditioners to keep your leather supple.

The bottom line is that your vehicle is one of the most expensive purchases you’ll ever make, so it’s worth it to take good care of it, which includes inspecting and maintain those areas you might not always think about. 

Krishna King is the after sales parts manager at Bermuda Motors Limited. For more info on automobile maintenance, call Bermuda Motors: 292-0893 or KKing@bermudamotors.bm or www.bermudamotors.bm