55 percent of the households in New York don’t own a car, with most people preferring or being forced to use the city’s famous public transit system, according to a report by the New York City Economic Development Corporation.
While car ownership is not for everybody, nothing beats the convenience of being able to run errands without worrying about train schedules or even take a road trip during the weekends to decompress. We at offMetro always recommend that if you do get a car – then get a green electric car.
If you belong to the minority that owns a car in New York, you know that it’s quite different from having one in a suburb or other areas. From insurance to potential problems with the engine and mechanics, it’s important to adjust to city living and make smart investments that allow you to make the most out of your car and keep it in tip-top condition for as long as possible. Here are some tips for owning a car in New York.
Tips for Owning and Driving a Car in New York
Get the right insurance
While it may not be the sexiest topic, insurance is super important as it can save you from massive losses. Living in New York comes with unique safety issues, and it’s vital to have insurance coverage that reflects that.
First of all, you need insurance coverage that covers damage to your car as well as liability coverage to take care of anything that happens to another vehicle in an accident that you are at-fault. Comprehensive insurance covers you if your car is stolen or damaged while collision insurance covers you in case of an accident, regardless of who is at fault. If you don’t drive often, getting pay-per-mile insurance might be the better option as it could save you a lot of money in the long run.
Be prepared for potential mechanical problems
When driving on New York roads, beware of the unique mechanical risks you face and plan for them accordingly. For example, with so many construction projects going on around the city, work zones and potholes are more common in New York roads.
As a result, your car is more likely to face more suspension problems and flat tires than one in the suburbs, and you must have a plan to prevent such problems and deal with them should they arise. This means testing your suspension more regularly, checking your tires often, and doing more brake checks.
Other routine maintenance operations, such as changing the oil, rotating your tires, or changing the spark plugs should be done on a time basis as opposed to a mileage basis since in New York, time matters more than mileage.
Investing in safety equipment
New York isn’t an inherently dangerous place, but with a higher population density, there’s a higher risk of an incident when your car is parked on the street than in your driveway. The first thing you need is a car alarm and security system that prevents thieves from accessing it and alerts you, the neighbors, and authorities should anyone gain unauthorized access.
Since thieves may also target your wheels, tires, and other items inside your car, it’s also a good idea to have a set of wheel locks and to remove or hide all your valuables before leaving your car in the parking spot. A much safer option than leaving your car parked in the street would be to look into businesses that provide secure overnight parking services.
Keep your car clean
The streets of New York are dirty and if you’ll be driving on them, your car is going to get grubby as well. There are many car washes spread across the city, but going to them every time you need a car wash is not a good idea. For example, although automatic car washes do a great job of removing dirt from your car, they can strip off the protective layer of wax on it or even damage the sensitive paint. To prevent this, a better option is to buy a car wash kit.
A car wash kit typically comes with car wash soap, wheel cleaner, glass cleaner, car wax, a bucket, sponges, and microfiber towels to wash and detail your car interior and exterior by hand. This allows you to get to the nooks and crannies that automatic car washes will never get to without damaging your paint or wax job. When choosing your car wash kit, make sure that the detergents and other included tools are safe to use on your car.
Your driving habits in New York have a direct impact on how well you’re able to take care of your car. If you can, avoid driving during rush hours as you’ll end up spending more time and fuel on the road.
You also want to drive as smoothly as possible, even though stoplights, pedestrians, and traffic may make it difficult. By avoiding heavy braking and applying light throttle, you can use less fuel and minimize wear and tear on your car.
If you own a car in New York, congratulations! You belong to the lucky minority. But, to keep enjoying your privilege, you must take measures to keep your car in good condition and protect it from the dangers of the big apple. I hope you learned something from these tips for owning and driving a car in New York.