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Gone are the days of waiting for a delayed train or full bus. You drive to campus with a huge smile on your face while sitting back, relaxed and tuned into your favourite radio station. There’s nothing better than having your own car. You’ll be in such a good mood that you’ll even be willing to pick up a few friends on your way. Perhaps you’ve already planned a roadtrip with varsity friends. You’ll be in charge of the steering wheel and will be able to go through the drive-through several times a day without your parents asking about it. You’ll be enjoying every moment of life until that one shocking day when something goes wrong with your car.

Getting from point A to point B by car will cost you a certain amount. And while you can’t always control ownership costs such as fuel, repairs and insurance rates, one thing you do have power over is making your vehicle last longer. Although having a car at varsity means freedom, accessibility and flexibility, it can also bring pains such as maintenance problems and high expenses.

Here are a few ways to maintain your car as a student.

Regularly inspect the tyre pressure

Maintaining the tyres of your vehicle on a regular basis will keep you safe and even save you money in the long run. This is something you should keep your eye on at all times. So it’s best to check regularly and add air when needed. Do this by making use of an air pump at home or a petrol station. And for a more accurate fill, keep a tyre pressure gauge on hand. Determine how much air should be in your tyres. If you’re not sure, it’s best to approach a professional. Keeping your tyres at the correct pressure will protect them so they last longer.

Keep it clean

You should look at your car the way you look at your face. It has to be clean at all times, right? So keep your car clean at all times. You’ll likely do everything in your car, from commuting to university to visiting the drive-in cinema. A car doesn’t stay clean on its own. You can maintain your car on a weekly or monthly basis. Perhaps you can make a cleaning date for every second Saturday? You could also keep a plastic bag in your car to throw all your rubbish in. And take all unnecessary things, like your coat and that empty water bottle, out of your car at the end of each day. It’ll make the cleaning process easier.

Inspect your car

If you buy a pre-owned vehicle anywhere in South Africa, you must get it inspected first. Go through that process first to make sure the car is safe and secure to use. A mechanic should look at everything from the steering wheel to the exhaust pipe. If any problems occur, you can act on them right away. It might be a bit pricey, but it’s better to solve any problems now rather than later. The last thing you want is to have a broken car while on campus.

Safety comes first

In today’s life, most people spend half their day driving around. Cars differ from each other and therefore you should take a few weeks to familiarise yourself with your car to ensure that you’re comfortable driving it. Don’t drive long distances if you’re not ready. From making U-turns to sitting in traffic, you need to know how to drive safely. Always wear your seat belt. It doesn’t matter if you’re only going to the shop down the road.

Create a budget

Driving your own car means there will always be extra expenses. You’re going to take care of your daily petrol, insurance and general maintenance. If you don’t have a budget, it can become difficult to cover all this. And you don’t want to be on your parents’ necks for money. It can be extra difficult to budget for tickets or accidents, hence why safety comes first. When setting or working out your budget, try to budget for more than your monthly car expenses. That way you’ll always have extra money in case an emergency occurs. If you’ve set aside too much, you can always put it in a savings account and use it when the need arises.

Maintaining your car regularly isn’t that easy. However, considering these tips might help you and your car in the long run. Taking good care of it is essential. With a little bit of knowledge on how to do that, you can enjoy your varsity days stress-free.