A vehicle is a valuable thing. When you invest in a motorcycle, car, truck, or other vehicle, you plunk down a large chunk of change in exchange for something that — you hope — will serve you well for years to come.

But it takes more than luck to enjoy the full potential life of your vehicle. You need to care for and protect it, too! Here’s how.

Warranties and guarantees

Your vehicle’s fate depends greatly on the decisions that you make when you first buy it. You need to do your research before you shop at a dealership or online for a new or used motorcycle, car, truck, SUV, minivan, or other vehicle. The more you know, the better informed your decision will be and the better chance you’ll have of getting a lasting and reliable vehicle.

And when you complete the transaction, you may have options for protecting your purchase, like Mopar protection plans for Chrysler Dodge Jeep RAM vehicles. A good warranty will protect your vehicle and reward you for doing the right things to care for it. Be sure to read the full agreement and recognize any limitations or obligations.

Your most important ally

Protecting your car, truck, motorcycle, or other vehicle means making sure that it always has the best care. And when it comes to getting that care, nobody is more important than your mechanic.

Sure, there are certain repair and maintenance jobs that you can do yourself. But you may want to hold off on that, depending on the conditions of your warranty — be sure the read the fine print on that thing. And for the most part, you want to turn to a certified mechanic. Ideally, you should have a trustworthy mechanic who specializes in your particular make and type of vehicle.

Do your research, and don’t be afraid to shop around for a good mechanic. Ask friends or coworkers with similar vehicles who they trust, and remember that some warranties may require you to get work done only at dealer-approved shops.

Being proactive

Once you have your mechanic, your next job is relatively easy: listen to that mechanic. When your mechanic recommends repair or maintenance work, you should nearly always take them up on it. When it comes to caring for your vehicle, being proactive pays off.

After all, problems with your car or motorcycle won’t get better on their own. They’ll only get worse, and worse problems cost more to fix. So the more that you put off repair work, the more you’ll pay when you finally pull the trigger.

And this goes for basic maintenance, too. Don’t stretch the time between oil changes or tire rotations. Your vehicle’s systems are interdependent, and creating weak links by neglecting maintenance will hurt your vehicle.

Choosing real parts

When your mechanic replaces a part on your motorcycle or car, they will likely give you a say in which part you should buy to replace it. You’ll be able to choose between cheap off-brand parts and pricier OEM parts. OEM stands for “original equipment manufacturer,” which means that those OEM parts are the exact same ones as were put into your vehicle in the first place.

Generally speaking, you’re going to want to opt for the quality parts from sources like Chaparral. Your mechanic can help you with the specifics, but suffice it to say that it never hurts to get the best quality part.

Remember, all of your vehicle’s different parts and systems are interdependent. You don’t want to be introducing any weak links, so opt for the best car or motorcycle parts that you can find.

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