Protecting an important investment
4 Ways to Extend the Life of Your Car
by Don Elfrink
Prepare Your Car for Summer Driving
Extend the Life Of Your Car
Buying a new car is a massive expense, second only to buying a home. Obviously, unless you have a serious bankroll, maximizing that investment is important. If you don't want to replace your current car as soon as it's paid off, you need to know a few things about extending your car's longevity. The longer you can keep your current vehicle, the more money you'll save. Here are some helpful tips and tricks to get the most out of your car in the long run.
First, make sure that you're getting your oil changed regularly. The rule of thumb is every three months or 3,000 miles, whichever comes first. If you're wondering why time plays a role here, it's because conventional oil (and some synthetics) will lose their viscosity over time, even if the engine isn't used very much (viscosity is a measure of oil's ability to lubricate). You might also consider putting high quality synthetic oil in your vehicle. While these are more expensive than conventional oils, many of them can provide protection for a longer period of time, which saves you money and hassle in the long run.
Nothing puts a damper on driving quite so much as a blown shock or strut. While there's no surefire way to pinpoint when these suspension components are going to fail, having regular inspections will help ensure that you are aware when signs of impending failure begin to appear (fluid leaking from the top or bottom of the strut, for instance). Make sure the inspection is being conducted by a professional if you're not confident in your own skills, and ensure they're checking all the suspension components, not just the shocks and struts.
All vehicles, regardless of make, model or type, have major services required at specific intervals. Most often, these are at 30,000-mile intervals, but it does vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. To ensure that you are able to maximize the longevity of your vehicle, don't skip these services. They're expensive, but they're important. These are the times when the most important parts of your car are serviced (think transmission, differential and the like). Some major services also include a timing belt and water pump change. Skipping this service can be detrimental. Follow your mechanic's recommendations on major services.
Care for the Outside
While the condition of your car's exterior won't necessarily play a role in how reliable it is or how many miles you get out of the engine, it will play a role in how much you enjoy driving your car. Having a car that you're proud of will encourage you to keep it for a longer period of time. If you're driving a clunker that is dinged, nicked, scratched and dented, or the paint's oxidized to the point it comes off as powder, chances are good you're going to look to upgrade it even if it's mechanically sound.
Protecting the outside of your vehicle isn't that hard to do, but it does require that you take a proactive stance. Don't park outside if at all possible, and always wash and wax your car regularly. Take care of dings and dents as soon as possible. Use a high quality car wax and a cleanser designed specifically for washing a car (never, ever use dish soap).
With these simple tips, you should be able to maximize the longevity of your car and make the most of the investment. Above all else, be proactive with mechanical maintenance. There is nothing more important to a functional vehicle than an engine and transmission that have been kept in good condition.
Don Elfrink is the owner of AutoMatStore.com where he specializes in providing custom floor mats for your car or truck. Elfrink has been in the automotive industry for over 30 years.
Take the Next Step
- For more money-saving auto articles, check out The Dollar Stretcher Auto Section.
- Reduce the cost of your gasoline with a 'gas card'. Compare them now to find the best one for you.
- Are you getting the best auto insurance rate? See how much you could save with one click. Fast, free quotes, online comparisons, and instant access to ID cards!
- Before you buy or sell a vehicle, get all the facts. Edmunds.com will give you what you need to know to make a confident deal.
Share your thoughts about this article with the editor.
More Tips & Tools to Help You
Live Better...For Less
- 4 costly car maintenance mistakes to avoid
- 5 common ways you are killing your car
- 7 secret sales tactics car salesmen hope you don't know
- 7 smart steps to switching your car insurance
- Your trickiest cleaning problems solved
- How to eliminate mosquitos for less Insider Report
- Choosing a roadside assistance plan
- Auto loan calculator
- Should you buy or lease you next car?
- Is a new car or used car best for your next purchase?
- Auto down payment calculator
- More helpful auto calculators