Car Maintenance Tips to Extend the Life of Your Vehicle
According to Consumer Reports, the average lifespan of a car these days is about eight years or 150,000 miles. That doesn’t seem like a long time, especially considering just how pricey cars can be these days.
Luckily, there are some simple things you can do to extend the life of your car beyond that initial timeline, like routine maintenance, mindful driving habits and washing your car.
It’s definitely worth it, too; a well-maintained car can last up to 15 years or 300,000 miles! Talk about getting your money’s worth.
How to Extend the Life of Your Car
The good news is that you don’t have to do anything particularly complicated to extend the life of your vehicle. Many of these tips are common sense parts of being a car owner. The problem is that, regardless of how basic these tips are, many drivers avoid accomplishing them due to concerns about cost or time. It’s easy to put off washing your car, for example, but at the end of the day this seemingly harmless decision can cause rusting or erosion that takes a few years off your car’s life.
By taking care in the short-term to maintain your vehicle, you’ll save a lot more time and money in the long run. Follow these simple steps to get the most out of your car’s lifespan:
Keep Up On Routine Maintenance
While it may seem like this step should go without saying, routine car maintenance is so important that we have to mention it here. Your car is made up of complex systems that have dozens of different components working together. Over time, these parts will wear out and break down — there’s a lot of heat and friction created by the act of driving.
When some of these components stop working, they can trigger a catastrophic chain reaction that results in overheating, damage to the car itself and eventual failure. Once the failure happens, you’ll be facing huge bills, long repair times and even possibly needing to purchase a new car.
Bringing your vehicle in for routine maintenance helps you avoid this headache. Oil changes, brake pad replacements and inspections all contribute to making sure your car is running smoothly and safely. Plus, the auto technician will have the opportunity to identify any parts that are due for repair or replacement. You’ll also keep costs minimal by avoiding unexpected major repairs.
Follow the recommended maintenance schedule from your car’s owner manual for the best guide for maintenance, and talk to a trusted mechanic about anything you should be budgeting for.
Drive With Care
Driving is tough on your car. You can prevent and minimize the worst wear and tear by being gentle with your vehicle while you’re on the road:
- Accelerate slowly and avoid potholes.
- Avoid slamming on your brakes.
- Minimize idling.
- Shift to neutral at red lights.
- Don’t pull your steering wheel to extreme rights or lefts.
By following these tips, you’ll help to keep your vehicle’s parts at peak performance for longer.
Be Careful Where You Park
It’s no secret that weather can be rough on your car’s paint job, but it’s not the only hazard out there. Debris, wind, soccer balls by a playground and other drivers’ doors are all things that can damage the exterior of your car.
The easiest way to protect your car’s paint and interior from fading or cracking is to park in shaded areas or covered garages. It’s also worth avoiding busy parking lots or side streets when possible, too.
Don’t Ignore The Check Engine Light
We know it’s easy to pretend like you didn’t see the check engine light turn on, but don’t ignore it. That light is your signal that something needs to be inspected or addressed. An auto tech will read the code and let you know which part is due for maintenance or repair.
The check engine light is an early warning that will save you money. By bringing your car in as soon as it turns on, you’ll catch any problems early and get them fixed before they turn into expensive repairs.
Stay Within Load Limits
Your car’s owner manual has a recommended weight limit for items tied to the roof or pulled behind in a trailer. Keep an eye on those limits and stay well within them; otherwise, you risk burning out the engine or brakes because of the extra effort required to move your vehicle.
Loads that are too big are also a safety hazard. They can make it more difficult for you to turn, stop or respond safely to emergency situations on the road — and skidding into the bumper of the car in front of you will definitely shorten your car’s life span.
Regularly Wash Your Car
Washing your car once a month is a quick and easy way to extend the life of the exterior and interior. A good car wash will get rid of debris and dust that can scratch up the paint, keep your windshield clear and easy to see through, and minimize cracking, staining and fading on the seats and dash.
Getting your car washed is also really important in places like Ohio, since the winters mean there’s salt on the roads. Road salt can build up on the car’s undercarriage and trigger rusting and erosion. A car wash will clear the salt from the metal and keep your car safe from damage.
Keep Your Car Running For Years To Come
By sticking to regular maintenance, being mindful while driving and keeping your car nice and clean, you can extend your car’s lifespan way beyond the initial 150,000-mile range. A trusted, local auto repair shop is your best partner in this goal, since the techs can help you plan for maintenance to keep your car running the right way. Make an appointment for an inspection and let them know you’re hoping to get more miles out of your car; they’ll be happy to help.