Today’s car prices are creeping higher and higher. A recent survey showed the average sticker price has exceeded $47,000.
Investing that much money in a vehicle is a significant hit to your wallet. It’s not something you want to do on a regular basis. Protecting your investment could make a difference between a well functioning car for 100,000 miles, or pushing it to 200,000 miles and beyond.
Maintenance tips to make your car last longer
To make your car last longer, it requires regular maintenance to keep it working well. It doesn’t take a lot of work. Just common sense items that ensure it’ll keep working its best for years to come.
Keep your car protected from the elements
Driving in Colorado can be tough on a vehicle. Winter brings sub-zero temperatures, ice and snow pelting the finish, and chemicals splashing up on the undercarriage from the messy streets. Summer brings intense heat, dust storms, and hail, pelting the finish.
In order for a car to continue to run well, it has to look good too. A dirty finish is an indicator of caked on dirt, grime, and chemicals. All of that can rapidly deteriorate a car’s frame and body, and impact many of the systems that keep you safe.
Take the time to wash your car by hand. It keeps the paint intact and won’t scratch the finish. Wax the paint occasionally to ensure it stays protected from UV rays.
Don’t forget the inside. Clean it out regularly to keep the seats looking their best. If you install mats on the floorboards, it’s easier to keep them clean.
If possible, park in a garage. Parking indoors reduces exposure to harmful elements, and keeps your car looking and running better for the long run.
Follow a maintenance schedule
To stay healthy, you schedule regular checkups with doctors and dentists. You eat quality food. You avoid harmful scenarios.
Treat your car in a similar manner. Instead of waiting for a problem to arise, take action instead. If you haven’t thumbed through your owner’s manual, spend some time getting more familiar with your car’s systems. Manufacturers make suggestions on when to bring your vehicle in, and how often you should replace fluids and other parts.
Instead of waiting for them to wear down, if you stick to a timetable for replacing items like a timing belt, spark plugs, or hoses, it prevents expensive repairs when things go wrong, and reduces the likelihood of you being caught off-guard. It reduces the chances of you being stranded by the side of the road.
Change fluids frequently
Cars use a variety of fluids for lubrication and to ensure smooth operation. Some you’re used to changing and adding regularly – we’re programmed to replace motor oil every 3,000 miles. Others we may not think much about – when’s the last time you thought about transmission fluid?
AAA surveyed auto repair shops and found that 88 percent of drivers missed brake fluid maintenance, and 35 percent are behind in motor oil changes.
Fluids keep your vehicle operating well. Without fresh, clean fluid, it wears down, accumulates impurities, and allows debris to infiltrate the system. If you haven’t had a fluids check, or aren’t sure when many of them were last checked and replaced, a maintenance visit would be beneficial to ensure your vehicle is operating well.
Say yes to an air filter
It’s easy to overlook the little tasks, but they often cause the biggest problems.
Did you know your engine consumes a lot more air than gasoline? Its performance depends on a careful mix of airflow and fluid to ensure it works correctly no matter what you experience on the road.
The air filter is designed to keep that airflow as clean as possible, keeping dirt and debris outside of the engine where it can wreak havoc over time.
Your owner’s manual will suggest how often you should replace your air filter. Especially in situations where it may err on the side of being dirty, changing it more frequently will never hurt.
Drive as if your car depends on it
We all get busy. We rush from home to work, trying to fit in as many errands as possible. It’s easy to forgo washing the car, push back on how frequently you change the oil, and allow stuff to pile up in the back seat. When you’re late, you push the accelerator to the floor, trying to make up for lost time.
Yet driving your car like you’re in a road race is hard on your car. High speeds can put your braking system at risk as you pounce on the brakes, wear down your tires before their time, and impact the efficiency of your vehicle. Strong braking will rapidly deteriorate your brake pads. Coming to hard stops puts unnecessary wear and tear on your tires. And quick acceleration when your engine is cold can harm parts throughout the system.
Practice better driving not only for the wear and tear of your vehicle, but also for the safety of you and your passengers.
Fix the little problems
We’ve all heard a funny noise coming from somewhere in the engine compartment, and ignored it until we have “time.” That’s the fastest way to allow little issues to grow into big problems.
Cars are designed with warning signals built into all major parts and systems to give you a chance to repair them before they increase in severity. Technology has made it easier with dashboard diagnostic icons that light up when sensors are alerted of a potential problem. When these lights illuminate, it’s a signal to pull in for servicing as quickly as you can.
Rattles, squeaks, hums, bangs, and even smells are often signs of potential problems. Pay attention, and your car will thank you by providing a longer life.
Following a few maintenance tips will make your car last longer
Being proactive means keeping your car in the best possible condition for as long as possible.
The easiest way is to schedule maintenance visits regularly to ensure every system is working well. Notice noises and smells. Question if something doesn’t feel right about the way your car is operating.
It’s the best way to ensure a long life for your vehicle.