Reimagining self-care with car maintenance

Self-car-care: What in the heck is that?

Self-care. You’ve probably heard of this trend. Mental health walks, restorative bubble baths, expensive smoothies for better potassium intake, and sizzling hot yoga routines; just a few of the stress-reducing practices people are using to ensure they feel good and live fuller, longer lives. We had an idea; why not apply all this soul stuff to your car? 

Let’s call it self-car-care. The idea is to get into a routine of smaller things that care for your car, enhance your ride’s mechanical health, and keep your vehicle on the road a lot longer. Love it!

The first and easiest self-car-care practice is insuring your car with Toggle® Auto to give it customizable, flexible auto insurance. We have more self-car-care practices you can incorporate into your routine. Read on for sustained automotive wellness. 

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Give it a bubble bath. 

Let’s start with a fun one. Driving around in a freshly washed, sparkling car is like going out right after a haircut. When you look good, you feel good. The same goes for your car. Keeping your car clean and polished is one of the most beautiful acts of self care as it will slow your car’s depreciation. Dirt and grime–and salt if you live by the ocean–will build up and erode the paint, and even the metal, of your car’s exterior. Dirty windows can also cause more accidents.

Toggle_Car-self-care__0000_blur license plate ethan-sexton-pLRXgwOefDo-unsplashPhoto by Ethan Cull on Unsplash

If you’re not feeling like washing your car yourself, or if you’re in a state with water-use restrictions, zen out at a commercial car wash, which tend to use recycled water. Sitting there as your car is pulled through and sprayed with multicolored streams of foam is a meditative, sensory ASMR experience (for most people). 

Toggle_Car-self-care__0009_ethan-cull-9hMh4ymulMo-unsplashPhoto by Ethan Cull on Unsplash

Keep your batteries charged (yours and your car’s).  

Self-care recharges your spiritual battery. Your car’s battery may also need a little TLC. Battery terminals corrode over time, so keeping them clean from buildup can help extend your battery’s life. And thanks to Advance Auto Parts, this is something you can do yourself. First, ensure your car is completely turned off and that you’ve disconnected the battery cables. Always begin with the negative cable, marked by the (-) sign, and then remove the positive (+) cable. Wipe away buildup residue from the battery cables and terminals, then scrub the terminals with a paste of baking soda and water. A toothbrush works best for this; obviously, a toothbrush retired from active dental duty. Rinse the terminals with a small amount of water and dry them with a clean cloth afterward. 

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Your engine is due for a cleanse. 

Cleansing is an essential, well-known self-care ritual for people. But cars love it too. 

Most cars will need their oil changed every 7,500 to 10,000 miles. Can I change the oil in my car myself? Definitely. Here is a step-by-step guide from Advance Auto Parts. All Togglers get a 15% discount from them on Toggle Perks. Changing your car’s oil should only take about 30 to 45 minutes. That’s about the exact amount of time it takes to slather on a face mask and let it sit, so it’s possible you could cleanse your pores and swap out your oil simultaneously. It would look a little odd, but it’s worth it. 

Wait, are you seriously engrossed in reading about changing your oil? That’s super grown-up, adulting-elite behavior. For more such behavior, click here and continue to win at life.

Toggle_Car-self-care__0008_ethan-cull-OU9_C1tyCe4-unsplashPhoto by Ethan Cull on Unsplash

Keep your car hydrated. 

Hydration is key. Just H20 for your body. But transmission, oil, brake, power steering, coolant, and windshield wiper fluids for your car. Topping off these fluids can help keep your car functioning properly and running smoothly. Almost all modern cars have easy-access fluid systems, so you should be able to glance at your owner’s manual and figure this out quickly.

Of course, all this depends on you being able to open your hood. Many people are mystified by the many buttons, latches, and levers located around the dashboard. Somewhat humorously, here are about 19,400,000 video results for searching “how to open your car hood.” Enter your car’s make and model to get specific. 

A wiper blade refresh can be easy. 

Being able to drive safely during a rainstorm is a cornerstone of self-care because you crash less. Instead of realizing you need new ones when it’s too late, it’s generally recommended that you change them every 6 to 12 months. Super obvious indicators you need new blades include: they make a scratching sound, skip across your windshield, leave broad streaks of un-wiped windshield, or the frames become bent. Also, not being able to see anything.

If you need a video, here are a few: “how to change my windshield wipers.” Fun fact: there are about 226,000 video results for wiper change tutorials. 

And here’s a freebie: a side hustle idea. Here lie the secrets to starting your very own windshield wiper care empire. 

Toggle_Car-self-care__0007_hugo-ramos-npz9XYTzrdA-unsplashPhoto by Hugo Ramos on Unsplash

Too much pressure is bad. Just the right amount is good. 

Checking your car’s tire pressure is something that you’ll want to work into your monthly self-car-care routine. Having the right tire pressure will give you maximum safety, gas mileage, and a great look and feel on the road. Love your tires. They’ll love you back; the correct inflation will help the tires last longer. 

Open the driver’s side door, peek around on the door jamb, and you’ll discover a handy little sticker that tells you how many pounds of air pressure to put in. Don’t go over the maximum; it wears the tires out quicker. It’s a very easy car DIY. 

Here’s a little mind hack: when swapping out your seasonal wardrobe, think tires. You need to check your tires because seasonal temperature changes affect the pressure. And, yes, you’re welcome. We just jammed that seasonal reminder deep into the subconscious of your noggin, so there’s little chance you’ll forget.

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Tire surface touch-ups. 

Rotating your tires is an important car upkeep you can do to keep your self-car-care game on point. Rotating tires across your axles keeps them youthful by evening out all the bumps and imperfections, also known as tire wear. This is a job that is best suited for the mechanical healthcare specialists at the auto repair shop. We mentioned changing your own oil earlier, but if that’s not your thing, get your oil changed while you’re already getting your tires rotated. For some readers, it may seem very similar to getting your hair and nails done during the same visit. Check out our shiny auto perks in this area.

Toggle_blog-imagePhoto by Olivia Inman

Clean, fresh air is essential. 

First, make sure you’re getting enough fresh air for yourself. Then, make sure your engine is too. A lot of people think engine air filters are there to purify their air inside the car cabin. Actually, they keep dirt, sand, and other contaminants from entering your motor. It’s generally recommended to swap them every 15,000 to 30,000 miles. Your driving conditions–like whether you incorporate desert getaways into your self-care routine–will also affect the frequency you need to change them. It’s car maintenance you can do yourself. 

First, refer to your owner's manual to find the location of the air filters. Once you find them and remove them per the instructions, lift them and hold them to the light. If they’re white with some dust, you’re good, don’t touch it. Put them back in there. If they have a thin layer of dirt, you can clean them for continued use. If they’re caked with dirt that won’t go away, it’s time to swap them out.

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Track your car maintenance to keep things rolling.  

Keeping a maintenance record and an oil change log can help you sell your car for more money when you both decide to part ways. Here is a car maintenance schedule from Advance Auto Parts, so you don’t miss a thing. If you decide self-car-care just isn’t for you and your car ends up breaking down, you can save up to 35% on Budget Rent a Car as a Toggle Customer with Toggle Perks.

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Your car should be feeling itself now. 

Can you reset the miles on a car? Believe it or not, people search that phrase a lot (the answer is no). That’s silly. There’s no need to reset the miles on your car if you’ve embraced the principles of self-car-care. Maintain your relationship with your car, keep up your routine with these tips, and have a nice joyride!

Toggle_Car-self-care__0005_sofia-egyOm7Ya620-unsplashPhoto by Sofia on Unsplash


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