Both new and used cars are expensive right now. They’re one of the areas of the economy seeing some of the most inflation, meaning people want to extend the life of their current vehicle. Even if you aren’t necessarily worried about the high prices and limited availability of vehicles, you still want to get the most out of what’s probably your second-biggest investment aside from your home.
From making sure that you’re protecting the paint of your car to regular mechanical maintenance, there’s a lot you can do to get the most out of it. The following are seven things you can do to extend the life of your vehicle.
1. Wash It
You might think about washing your car as a way to simply keep it looking good, but regular car cleanings are about more than aesthetics. When you regularly give your car a good clean inside and out, it can help protect your paint job first and foremost. Exterior cleanings prevent the deterioration of your pain, which, if you let it happen, can slowly erode and destroy the body underneath.
If you let your body rust or corrode, you can think of it like termites. You’re allowing slow damage to occur to some of the most important parts.
You don’t necessarily have to wash your car every other week, but you might want to, especially if you park outside or you have a long commute.
When you wash your car, every once and a while, you might want to apply a coat of wax. Wax protects the paint and the bodywork and can also prevent corrosion.
2. Perform Regular Maintenance
You might put it off or think it’s not that important, but regularly maintaining your vehicle is extremely important. The best way to get it to last longer and to spend less on bigger repairs and maintenance is to do the small stuff on a regular basis. It’s like taking your car in for a checkup.
An experienced mechanic can look at the biggest problem areas and help you avoid bigger bills later on.
Some of the essential tasks to keep up with for your vehicle include change of the lubricant oil, inspections after regular intervals, tire rotations, and alignment checks. You also want to make sure your mechanic is doing brake inspections, checking your cooling system and refills, and doing battery changes when needed.
3. Examine and Spin Tires
Your tyres and disks are one of the most vital but overlooked parts of your vehicle. They’re essential to everything else your vehicle is doing on a daily basis. Your handling, brakes, acceleration, fuel consumption, and drive depend on your tyres and disks.
Since they are so critical, it is important to check them occasionally. Make sure you pay attention to warning signs such as reduced pressure, excessive wear, or patterns of uneven wear. If you see any of these red flags, you might need to rotate or align your tires or potentially replace them. You want to make sure they’re always at the right pressure too. That helps your tires stay in a fine state, and it boosts your fuel economy.
4. Use Genuine Replacement and Lubricants
Replacement and lubricants for your car are not all the same. There’s going to be, for example, a huge distinction between an oil filter you might buy online and one that You can get at the garage of your manufacturer. The cheapest oil similarly won’t be in comparison to what you can get from your mechanic.
If you try in the short term to save money on parts and fluids, you’re going to end up paying more in the long run.
5. You Need to Change the Way you Drive
How you drive affects your car as much as how you maintain it in many ways. If you’re a rushed or aggressive driver, it will generally damage your car out faster than if you drive calmly.
6. Get Your Air Filter Changed
If you go to get your oil changed, you may be worried they’re going to try to scam you or upcharge you for every little thing. Changing your air filter doesn’t fall into that category. The air filter is important because when dirt and debris gather, it can harm your engine and take years from its life.
Your air filter can prevent a lot of damage from particles, but if you don’t get it changed often, the debris is going to make it through.
You can check your manual for exact instructions on how often you should change your air filter, but it’s probably going to be anywhere from every 15,000 to 20,000 miles.
7. Mind Your Brakes
There’s a lot you can talk about when it comes to your car’s brakes, but in general, the brake pads and rotors are like the middleman between your braking system and your tires. If you don’t have them, you can’t stop your car. To maintain your brakes, notice how long it takes you to come to a complete stop. If you feel like it’s taking too long to slow down, you might need to visit a mechanic to replace your rotors or pads.
Your brake fluid is what keeps your system working smoothly, so you need to check it and change it regularly.
Check your owner’s manual to figure out what this interval is—it’s usually between three years or 25,000 miles.
If your brake pedal feels different, it may be a sign you need to replace your fluid. For example, if moisture gets into the brake system, then your pedal might feel strangely soft or spongey.
Finally, use your emergency brake when you park because it gives you more stability and keeps it in good order. If you don’t use it regularly, it can rust, which affects its functionality.