Everyone knows the saying that you have to spend money to make money, well, in a way, the same philosophy can be applied to your car. Those years of running and looking good do not just happen, you have to give a little something (ok, sometimes a lot of something) to get good results in return.

You may not realize this but a tank of 90 octane may just turn that Kia you are driving into a Koenigsegg; seriously the extra octane found in premium unleaded does not do engines with low, or even moderate, compression that are designed to run on regular 85 or 87 octane, any favors. So, while using the higher octane may not hurt the engine it is most certainly a waste of money.

Believe it or not one of the most important things you can do to help your car is to wash, rinse and repeat. In other words, regular and consistent washing and waxing helps to preserve your paint and will prevent rust from getting a firm foothold. Don’t forget the interior be sure to vacuum and clean it frequently.

Whether you are heading into a summer road trip or the impending cold of winter your car needs to be prepared accordingly. The most demanding season on cars tires, coolant and batteries are winter and summer, so extra attention is important to those critical areas as it can mean the difference between getting stranded or getting there.

You should also research for technical service bulletins and recalls that are done by manufacturers as not all of them make it to the circulars that you get in your mail or into the daily news. This can be done by searching the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) website or even by signing up by email to be alerted by newsletters such as Automotive News.

Everyone knows about the Check Engine light and it usually gets a bad rap for going on for trivial diagnostics; however, it is there for a reason and you should pay attention to it. Most auto part stores have the means to scan for the codes and then translate them into English for you. True, it could be nothing more than a loose gas cap, but it could also pertain to a possibly serious power train problem, the more you know the better off you are.

One more important tip for maintaining your car is to use the proper engine oil. Check your owner’s manual as it gives you the accepted and recommended viscosities and perhaps even a brand name. Do not just assume that the brand name is a form of advertising it is probable that your car was made with that particular brand in its crankcase and you may be wise to continue with that brand.