As owner of Clegg Auto in Provo and Spanish Fork, Kevin Clegg knows car maintenance isn’t a one-engine-fits all business. When customers bring their cars to the shop, Kevin suggests getting to know the customer’s preferences first to tailor advice to their situation. “Once I know who you are, I can help build a plan that’s right for you,” he says. Still, there are best practices for car ownership. Here are seven tips for caring for your car.
Find the right shop. “In order to maintain your car well, you have to have the right shop. And if you’re not at a place that understands cars that you can trust, then they might not give good tips to start with. They might recommend more or less than you need,” Kevin says.
Check up twice a year. “Especially here in Utah with potholes, constant construction and changing weather conditions — it’s a good idea to have your car checked out by someone who knows vehicles really well a couple times a year. And you might as well make that your oil change,” he says.
Consider synthetic oil. “In most cases, you’re better off using synthetic oil than conventional oil because the whole point of changing your oil is to keep everything lubricated and the temperatures down. So if you run with synthetic oil, it allows the car to run cooler and lasts longer. All of my techs use synthetic oil,” he says.
Pump it up. “Tires are one of the most expensive fixes, so watch the wear on your tires. A lot of times tires wear out because drivers don’t keep the air up. The tires get hedge wear and it prematurely destroys their tires. Then car owners are spending a lot of money to replace tires — more than what they are spending on an oil change. If you don’t rotate tires, most of the wear will be coming off the front of the car because they are turning and doing all of the work,” he says.
Notice the sounds. “If you notice something you’ve never heard before — clicking, thumping or buzzing — get it checked out. With lights on the dash, same thing. If the check engine light is on, you should get it to a mechanic as soon as possible. If it’s flashing, you’re supposed to not drive your car. Get it towed in because driving it could cause greater damage,” he says.
Choose used. “Generally speaking, buying a car a few years old is a better choice then buying new. Most of the depreciation occurs as soon as you drive it off the lot. Most of the time when you’re purchasing, if you can get it a few years old, it’s still under factory warranty and you’re getting way better value,” he says.
Be inquisitive. “In general, people shouldn’t feel bad about asking questions. Any question is a good question. You should pick a place that wants to help you understand your car. Ask questions. Be curious. Don’t just take it for face value. Be willing to be brave enough to ask.”