(StatePoint) Nearly 70 percent of all car sales are used vehicles, thanks to the rising costs of new cars and the increasing quality of their used counterparts. While buying a previously owned vehicle makes the best financial sense in a lot of cases, experts say there are some things to keep in mind.  

“To keep everyone on the road safe and protect your purchase, all drivers need to stay up-to-date on car maintenance,” says Doug Turner, director of service operations at Byrider, the nation’s largest used car and finance network of dealerships. “This is especially true for those with used cars.”

April is National Car Care Month and to help you extend the life of your used car, the automotive experts at Byrider are offering the following tips:

• Follow the maintenance recommendations of the manufacturer.

• Caring for a vehicle is similar to caring for oneself -- take preventative steps to help keep your car healthy. Pay special attention to issues, noises or warning signs that could indicate your vehicle needs maintenance. Warning lights on your dashboard are illuminated for a reason. Understand what they mean and address them as-needed.

• Prevent rust and other issues by keeping the interior and exterior of your vehicle clean.

• Use a trusted repair service that hires Automotive Service Excellence (ASE)-certified technicians. This certification can make a big difference when it comes to quality repairs and maintenance.

• Complete as-needed or at a minimum, an annual inspection, on the vehicle. Keep in mind that different seasons of the year require different inspections and repairs.

• Use quality parts.

• Fill your vehicle with the proper gas. Use premium if the vehicle manufacturer suggests it.

• Regular oil changes will keep your car running as smoothly as possible. Be sure to use the proper oil per the manufacturer recommendations.

• When buying a vehicle, stick to retail dealers that put cars through a detailed inspection process. This will help to ensure a given vehicle’s safety and reliability. At the same time, consider dealers with an attached service department. “Your relationship with the dealership shouldn’t end once you drive the car off the lot,” adds Turner. In the case of Byrider, every car sold comes with a warranty or optional service agreement, as well as discounted parts, labor and service. To learn more, visit byrider.com.

A used vehicle can be a great investment. Extend the life of your car and stay safer on the roads by making smart purchasing decisions and taking a proactive approach to maintenance.