If you’re wondering how to extend the life of your vehicle, you’re certainly not alone. Drivers—who are now keeping their cars longer than ever before—are realizing the long-term financial benefits of keeping a car for 200,000 miles or more.
If you’ve neglected following your vehicle’s regular maintenance schedule, it’s not too late to get with the program. We put together the top car care tips to help you prolong the life of your automobile.
1. Change your oil regularly.
One of the easiest ways to keep your vehicle in tip-top shape is to change the oil frequently. Doing so flushes any dirt and metal particles out of the engine, which helps prolong the life of your car. You’ve probably been told that you need an oil change every 3,000 miles—while many manufacturers judge frequency by speed, engine temperature, climate conditions and more. If you drive regularly (or drive in a lot of stop-and-go traffic), you fall under “severe” driving conditions which require more frequent oil changes.
2. Check your tires.
When tires aren’t inflated to the correct pounds per square inch (PSI) rating, they require more energy to move and maintain speed. In turn, under-inflation can increase emissions, reduce gas mileage and tire life. In fact, the average person who drives 12,000 miles per year on under-inflated tires uses about 144 extra gallons of gas. That’s an extra $400 per year in additional fuel cost!
Be sure to check your tires regularly—weekly, if not more—to save on gas and prolong the life of your car.
3. Drive responsibly.
Being considerate to your vehicle shouldn’t stop after the first few months of ownership. The more you drive with care every day, the longer you’ll be able to avoid repairs. Be sure to take the following into consideration to extend the life of your vehicle:
• Allow enough time for your engine to warm up in cold weather.
• Don’t speed. Accelerating quickly wastes gas, increases emissions and forces your engine to work harder.
• Lighten your keychain. While it’s easy to let your single car key turn into a heavy load with a dozen keys,
• Be aware of your surroundings. Try to avoid potholes, objects in the road and curbs when driving or parking.
4. Take care of the interior.
Prolonging the life of your vehicle requires interior attention, too. It’s important to keep the inside of your car clean—from the dash, to the seats, to window weather-stripping, to floor mats, and all the spaces in between. Remove clutter and trash on a regular basis, wipe down the center console, clean the windows, wash mats and vacuum the car on a regular basis. If your vehicle has leather seats, be sure to condition them to prevent cracking and drying out.
5. Get frequent washes.
Paint is the first line of defense against rusted body parts—so the worst mistake you can make is neglect to wash and protect your car. While sap and bird droppings appear to be minor, the longer the substances are on your car paint, the greater the potential damage to your vehicle. If you look after your car paint properly (and get washes once every week or two), it will be more resistant to external influences.
If you’re someone who prefers to wash your own car, you’re in luck! Washing cars by hand is the kindest way to do it. Just be sure to use mild cleaning agents with a low pH value as well as soft sponges and cloths. And don’t forget to wax on, wax off. Car wax preserves paint and forms a barrier against pollution.
6. Change your air filter regularly.
While it’s not always easy to know when to change your engine air filter, it’s one of the most important factors when it comes to extending the life of your vehicle. The engine requires quality airflow to work properly and you may experience some long-term issues without that quality airflow—including a decrease in gas mileage and potential ignition problems.
If you don’t happen to see any tell-tale signs, be sure to check your owner’s manual, which will generally recommend changing every 12,000 to 15,000 miles.
7. Stay on top of repairs (even minor ones).
The second you notice something wrong with your vehicle, no matter how small the issue, it’s important to tend to repairs in a timely manner. Otherwise, these minor issues can turn into major ones—costing you more time, money, and wear and tear on your vehicle. Here are some things to keep an eye out for:
• Windshield chips
• Corroded light sockets
• Small dings or dents
• Engine problems
If you’ve recently been involved in a collision, we have a team of certified auto body repair experts ready to assist you. Learn how our variety of services can get you back on the road as soon as possible.
Think you’ve mastered how to extend the life of your vehicle?
No matter how long you’ve been an automobile owner, your driving habits have a direct effect on the life of your vehicle. Have you spotted a minor ding or dent on your car? Are you looking for a certified expert’s opinion? Request a free online estimate, stop by any of our three locations or contact us today to learn how we can help you prolong the life of your vehicle.