Making your car last as long as possible is something you should be concerned with if you want to keep your car in great condition, save money on maintenance, and maybe even sell it for more when the time comes. Many people end up running their cars into the ground before selling them and buying a new one, but this means having to replace it far sooner. Read on for the comprehensive guide on making your car last as long as possible!
Teach yourself how to maintain your car
You’ll save time and money if you can teach yourself how to maintain your car to a certain extent. That being said, you won’t be able to do everything yourself, so make sure you’re committed to taking it to a garage when it needs to go. Lots of things won’t be hard to do on your own, though, so use online tutorials and videos. We detail some of what you should be able to do later on in the guide.
Always keep up with your scheduled maintenance appointments
Keeping up with your maintenance appointments is an absolute must. You should follow the maintenance schedule in your car’s owner’s manual. It will tell you when to take care of every service for your car, such as oil changes and filter changes, and then more major services. Missing an oil change might not seem like a big deal, but it could cause damage due to premature engine wear. You need to make sure you’re keeping up with regular oil changes and even other seemingly minor things. It’s not too late to get with the program if you’ve neglected to do it so far.
Go to a trustworthy mechanic and have them to take care of problems, even if they are just minor. Then grab your owner’s manual and start from the beginning. It’ll still last a lot longer than if you were to just carry on as you are. Most cars now have longer-lasting components and fluids, so this means owners have increased service intervals. It’s pretty common to go 10,000 miles between oil changes, and some spark plugs don’t need replacement for 100,000 miles.
However, you also need to make sure you don’t over maintain your car; that can be a huge waste of money. Certain dealers may add on work that isn’t outlined in your manual, so make sure you watch out for that.
Start slow when you get in the car
Most people rush to get out of the door in the morning, but you shouldn’t jump in the car and drive off quickly hoping to get ahead of the rest of the people on the road at that time. Your car needs time to warm up after resting for a bit. If it has been sitting for a few hours, the motor oil that lubricates the car will have sunk to the bottom, then when you start up your car, the oil pump distributes oil through the engine, but it takes time for all the parts to get oiled up. By driving straight away you will increase friction between the engine components, and they will wear out faster. After you start the car, just wait a minute to get the oil up to temperature and allow it to make its way through the engine. Simply getting out of the house one minute earlier to do this could save you a lot of money and help your car to last a lot longer.
Clean your air filters regularly
A clean-flowing filter will help overall fuel economy, as well as keep the engine itself from any damage. The air filter helps to protect the engine from debris, so occasionally popping the filter out of the air box for a quick cleanup will help you to assess whether it needs to be replaced and ensure everything is moving smoothly.
Don’t ignore issues
We all experienced issues with cars from time to time, but one of the worst things you can do is ignore them. They won’t fix themselves. For example, a radiator fan that’s on the fritz could cause the car to overheat in traffic, which can blow the head gasket. Imagine the horror when you have somewhere to be! It’s very holistic, so an issue with one thing will cause a knock on effect with another. Make sure you get things checked over just to be safe.
Keep your car clean
Over one year, your car’s exterior goes through a lot. If you get birds pooping on your car, it’s going to corrode the paint due to the calcium in it. Then in the water there’s salt/snow brews and freezing temperatures which can ruin the paintwork too. It doesn’t matter what the season is; keeping your car clean will save you money on a new paint job later on. You’d be mistaken if you thought that cleaning your car is simply to make it look nice – it aids longevity by cleaning away contaminants that cause corrosion. The paint on the panels on your vehicle protects it from the elements, but the underside of your car is always exposed to water, dirt, and grime that forms rust. This is why even during winter it’s especially important to keep your car clean. Road salt keeps the pavement free from ice but is notorious for eating holes straight through metal parts.
Service your spark plugs and cables if worn out
Keeping your ignition system in great shape can make all the difference in the long run, especially if you drive your car on a daily basis. Worn out spark plugs and distributor cables mean your solenoid works harder to get the engine fired up, among other problems. If you don’t keep up with it, you could experience problems such as misfiring cylinders, poor fuel economy and loss of power. Check your car’s owner’s manual to see when you should be doing this, as outlined above.
Keep your car light
The less a car weighs, the better it will drive. The more a car weighs, the harder the engine, transmission, brakes, and suspension have to work. While cars are designed to carry extra weight, over the long term any unnecessary strain will take miles off its life. Remove excess stuff that you don’t need in the car for every day trips and only drive with the essentials. Think about what you really need in the car in advance and take things out. If nothing else, you’ll save some money on your fuel.
Avoid tyre pressure that’s too high/low
Very often, tyre pressure gets too low or high, and when this happens it increases the fuel consumption. This then negatively affects the car’s drivability. You could find your car skidding when braking, and you could easily get into an accident. You have to change your tyres in a timely fashion if you want to avoid this. Don’t forget about the seasonal tyre change. You should think about switching front and rear tyres at least once a year.
Avoid abrupt braking and sharp acceleration
Sharp acceleration and abrupt braking are harmful for cars. They can affect many different systems in the car: for example, the gearbox and the engine suffer a lot, brake pads and brake discs deteriorate faster, brakes’ serviceability reduces, and you’re more likely to get into an accident. The safer and more responsibly you drive, the better you can expect your car to last. It may help you to have a black box fitted so you have more of an incentive to drive sensibly.
Take care to park properly
Parking isn’t always the most easy thing to do, especially if you have to squeeze into a tight space. Many driving don’t stop the car while parking, they simply change gears and continue. However, stopping the car before changing gear will help to avoid unnecessary wear.
Don’t buy cheap parts
Sometimes, you can save some money by getting some great second hand parts from a trustworthy garage. However, buying cheap parts and fluids might actually cost you more in the long run. Even putting the wrong fluid in your car can cause damage, leading to expensive repairs, void your warranty, and diminish your car’s life span. You should make sure that you use only parts and fluids meeting manufacturer specifications.
If your car’s manual says that premium fuel is required, go for the expensive stuff. You may be damaging it by going for the cheaper stuff. If premium fuel is recommended (but not required), you’re fine using lower-octane fuel. Bear in mind that using premium fuel won’t do a thing for a car designed to run on regular gas. You won’t see any improvement in performance, fuel economy, or engine life, so save your money, so be smart and know what’s important for your own car!
Hopefully, you now have a good idea of how to make your car last as long as possible. Thanks for reading, and remember, it’s never too late to start!
** This is a collaborative post