Buying a car and finally claiming it is a magical experience. Once you claim the unit from the dealer, it’s all yours. You are free to do whatever you want with it, but you can’t just ride off into the sunset without a few preparations first.
Car ownership is a privilege and a responsibility. Having a car means that you are tethered by fuel payments, maintenance, and the law. Before you drive off into the sunset, here are a few things to consider.
Upon claiming the vehicle, you will be handed two pieces of paper – very important pieces of paper. The first is the certificate of registration (CR), the next is the official receipt (OR). These documents are issued by the LTO and is more colloquially known by its acronyms, OR/CR.
Once you get these, keep them in a safe place and don’t fold them. Ask the dealership or a photocopier service to get these documents replicated. Have a handful of copies on hand, a few to file, and one to keep in the car for identification purposes. Don’t keep the original OR/CR in the car, because if those documents get lost, you will be hard-pressed to get another from the LTO.
Browse the manual, warranty, and insurance policy
It is important to understand what protects your car. By browsing the manual you can avoid getting dumbfounded by your new acquisition. You can also learn about the warning signs to look out for like those warnings on your dashboard.
Also, browse other details like insurance and warranty policy. These items will be critical if the need arises, so it would be good to blow over a few things. Know how much your warranty covers as well as the coverage period. Lastly, know if your car will get free service from the dealership.
Setting it up
Before you get out and drive, make sure to adjust and play with all the settings to familiarize yourself with all the bits and bobs in the car. Get to know the control scheme of the vehicle, like the light switches, A/C controls, trip computer, and head unit.
Also, test out all possible seating positions in order to ensure safe and comfortable motoring.
Break it in
There is what we call a break-in period, but this is getting less and less common especially with the tolerances to which cars are being built today. Back in the day, the break-in period was crucial because of the looser tolerances in the engine, but nowadays there are two schools of thought. It will be better safe than sorry, but do so as you please.
Cobble a kit together
Apart from the standard tool kit that is supplied with your vehicle, it is also good to keep a few other items in your car. Have some tissues, hand sanitizer, and maybe a microfiber cloth to keep your interior dust free.
It goes without saying, you can’t expect the unexpected, but you can prepare for it. Personally, I keep a first-aid and emergency kit inside my car. This contains basic survival gear such as an emergency blanket, a few first aid supplies, a flashlight, and a multitool. I also keep a set of hand tools, as well as a portable air compressor in case I need to inflate on the fly, and a set of jumper cables.
Did you know that your dealer actually has a service schedule in either the manual or service booklet? Check it out and plan ahead. Having a car serviced is one of the more mundane tasks of car owners everywhere. Make sure that you follow this schedule to ensure the optimal performance of your new acquisition for years to come.