These Car Care Tips Can Add Years to the Life of Your Vehicle

Your car is more than a mode of transport; It is a significant investment that takes lots of effort to pay off. In that regard, it should serve you long enough to ensure you get a return. It would financially hurt if you had to get a new one even before you wholly paid for the current one.

Proper car care should be a top priority if you are to protect your investment. You probably already know about regular maintenance, but what else would extend its lifespan? Here, we’ll go over a few car tips that will help you add years to the life of your vehicle.

Keep Up With Scheduled Car Maintenance Services

Your vehicle is a machine with a lot of moving parts. It’s only natural that it will experience wear and tear over time. If you ignore maintenance services, the vehicle will have problems that will quickly become expensive repairs. Repairs are not the only things that will become expensive. Even an auto insurance quote will exceed what you are willing to pay whenever you want coverage.

If repairs become a trend, the vehicle will not last that long, and you’ll have to buy another one. It will also be risking your life. Mechanical failures have been a leading cause of road accidents and fatalities. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported over two million crashes caused by these failures in two years.

The only way to extend your vehicle’s lifespan and remain safe is through scheduling car maintenance services. This car care tip prevents wear and tear from spreading and destroying your vehicle. You catch potential problems before they escalate.

How do you know when to schedule car maintenance services? The answer is in the vehicle’s owner’s manual. Read it and find out when to visit your mechanic for tune-ups.

Don’t Skip Oil Changes

Your vehicle’s engine must always be in top shape to get more miles from it. Oil is its lifeblood. With old and grimy oil, the engine will become defective. Oil is a lubricant that eases the movement of parts, preventing metal-to-metal grinding.

With time, oil becomes too dirty to provide the necessary lubrication effectively. As a result, the moving parts start experiencing friction and overheating. If this happens for too long, it can cause irreparable damage to the engine. Regular oil changes are among the many essential car care tips.

It’s essential, even if it may sometimes seem like an unnecessary expense. According to CBS News, some auto mechanics charge anywhere from $30-$100. However, you can change it yourself if you know how. According to the American Automobile Association, your average car can clock 5,000 to 7,500 miles before needing an oil change.

Keep it Clean

Retaining a sparkling, clean vehicle isn’t purely about aesthetics. It’s an essential component of car care that keeps it alive longer. Allowing dust, grime, and debris to accumulate inside can cause undue wear to the surfaces.

For instance, when corrosive substances like road salt accumulate, they accelerate rusting, which is detrimental to your vehicle’s body and structure. Dust and debris that collects on the exterior may start to erode the paint job, leaving it susceptible to rust damage. It even degrades upholstery and internal surfaces, affecting comfort and resale value. While this won’t happen overnight, the effect gradually reduces the lifespan of your vehicle.

Ensure you wash your car regularly. If you live in regions with snowy winter conditions, cleaning it every two weeks should work. If there’s no snow to contend with or mud, then monthly should be enough.

However, do not use hash detergents, especially in the interior. Some soaps can damage your leather seats, causing scratched dashes and cracks. Wax it, too, to keep the paint job pristine. Usually, the elements can go hard on the exterior, making the vehicle lose its luster and shine.

Check Your Tire Treads And Pressure

Tire treads and pressure are essential elements of your vehicle’s safety. The tire tread provides traction, directly affecting your car’s handling and braking power. If they are worn out, you risk slipping or skidding off the road and damaging your vehicle.

On the other hand, tire pressure provides balance and stability for your vehicle. When the tire pressure is too low below the recommended amount, it becomes problematic to steer the car. It also affects the braking distance, which can be dangerous when applying emergency brakes or maneuvering.

Low pressure also allows the sidewalls of the tire to flex excessively and generate heat. Generally, moderate heat will wear out tire treads, while high heat leads to blowouts. The chances of getting involved in an accident are very high. Any accident will automatically lower your vehicle’s lifespan.

Checking your tire treads and pressure is a car care tip that adds years to your car’s life and keeps you safe. Check your tire pressure at least once a week and right before any long road trip. According to Consumer Reports, you can rotate tires every 5,000 to 8,000 miles to prolong their lifespan. However, check for damage regularly.

Get Your Car’s Fluids Checked

Six essential fluids keep your vehicle running smoothly. Keeping them up to date reduces maintenance and repair costs and prolongs your car’s service life. In your car care routine, ensure that the following fluids are in perfect condition:

Engine Oil. This fluid takes care of your engine’s moving parts. It provides lubrication, preventing grinding and overheating. Check engine oil levels at least once in between oil changes.

Brake Fluid. The safety of your vehicle when driving relies on the brake fluid. It allows you to stop your car quickly and prevent collisions or landing in a ditch. It’s the fluid you see when you open the bonnet in a clear plastic container mounted to the firewall above the master cylinder in front of the steering wheel. If you haven’t had an incident or brake repairs, checking it at least once a year would be great.

Automatic Transmission Fluid. This fluid enables the gears to switch smoothly. If it’s dirty or low, you might experience a delayed response when shifting gears or transmission failure. Some vehicles don’t need fluid replacement for 100,000 miles or more, what we call ‘lifetime fluid.’ However, it’s worth checking at least once a year to ensure your car has enough. If you don’t have a dipstick, you can ask technicians at transmission repair shops to check it for you.

Engine Coolant Fluid. It keeps your engine from overheating and prevents freezing in cold weather. Check it at least twice a year before cold or hot weather.

Power Steering Fluid. This fluid makes maneuvering your vehicle easier by ensuring the steering wheel turns smoothly. Low levels of this fluid can result in stiff handling or power steering failure. Have your mechanic check the levels every time you have an appointment or once a year? Its reservoir is near the brake fluid reservoir.

Windshield Washer Fluid. The windshield washers have a fluid that allows you to wash off dirt and grime as you drive. You use it more often than you can realize. Therefore, check its levels once a month.

Replace Your Wiper Blades

Visibility is necessary if you’re to prolong your vehicle’s lifespan. A significant part of that is maintaining your vehicle’s windshield wiper blades. Worn wiper blades are hazardous in rainy conditions or snow. They can not clear your view of the road, preventing you from taking evasive action or seeing potential hazards. Even worse, the metal part can scratch your windshield when the rubber deteriorates.

Wiper blades wear out faster in sunny climates and with regular use. While there is no definite time to replace them, the general rule is to have new ones once every few months, depending on the conditions you encounter. If your view is clear and precise, it might not need that frequent replacement. But if you see small deposits, streaks, or things getting left behind on the windshield, replace them immediately. Don’t wait until it rains.

Remember, wiper blades are not among the aftermarket auto parts you can cheap out on. You need entirely new ones. The good thing is they are affordable, ranging between $13 to $27, according to Forbes.

Replace Engine Air Filters

Another car care tip is to replace your engine air filters every 12 months or 12,000 miles, whichever comes first. However, the frequency may change depending on the vehicle brand and environment. According to the AAA (American Automobile Association), you can replace them after 20,000 miles if you drive in a relatively clean city or suburban area. According to Mercedes-Benz of Charleston, 30000 to 45000 miles is enough.

Clean and fresh air flow is necessary for your car’s performance and longevity. The filter keeps dust and debris from the engine, preventing internal damage to sensitive components such as cylinders and pistons. While trapping the air-borne contaminants, they get clogged to the point of restricting air from entering the combustion chamber.

This clogging restricts clean air, lowering gas mileage and burning more fuel. It also reduces acceleration and rough engine starts. You should schedule maintenance with local auto repair technicians to clean or replace the engine air filter. It’s a relatively straightforward process, even for beginners. You can save a few coins by learning how to do it yourself, but if you’re not confident enough, leave it to professionals.

Perform a Weekly Inspection

Vehicles are machines, and sometimes they can be unpredictable. It could be fine today, but a problem can develop the next day. Some of these problems might only be easily visible once they escalate, resulting in costly repairs.

Every time you get into your vehicle, you often check a few things, even without realizing it. For example, you always fasten your seatbelt, check the fuel levels, and mirror alignment. But by adding a few more checks to your car care routine, you can enhance its safety and increase its service life.

But where do you start checking? Start with lights. Check if they all work, including turn signals, high beams, brake lights, and reverse lights. Replace any bulbs that are not working. From there, listen to any weird noises from your engine. Usually, the vehicle might be working perfectly, but there is slight corrosion, as evidenced by a rattling sound.

The horn is also something to check every week. It might not be working when you need it most. Plus, it’s easy to fix if there is an issue. Also, inspect the electronics. Schedule an electrical service if it has a problem with your infotainment or touch-screen systems.

Tend to Minor Repairs promptly

How fast you tend to minor repairs determines the extent of damage and subsequent related costs. A slight hum from air conditioning might not seem like much, but if it’s ignored, it will escalate. The same applies to when the steering wheel pulls sideways, or there is a slight shaking when braking.

Minor problems like muffler repairs may not seem urgent, but they reduce your vehicle’s overall performance. You must take care of them at your earliest convenience before they become significant problems that lower the years your car serves you. For instance, if you find a loose belt when inspecting your vehicle, fix it as soon as possible.

You don’t have to worry about scheduling repairs when you have such issues. If you’re a loyal customer of an auto repair service center, they will probably serve you as a matter of emergency. This car care is the only way to avoid getting stuck by the roadside and saving thousands of dollars.

Drive Responsibly

How long your vehicle serves largely depends on how responsible as a driver you are. The general car care tip here is to avoid driving recklessly. That includes overspeeding, slamming your brakes, and accelerating too fast.

Irresponsible driving that leads to accidents is a sure way to have your not-so-old or new car in a salvage yard. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the US had over 5.2 million collisions in 2020. Most of these accidents left severe damage to vehicles, with a good number completely wrecked.

If you want to keep your vehicle for long, avoid getting into unnecessary accidents. Even if you have insurance coverage, the aftereffects of a collision are sometimes irreversible. Drive responsibly to protect your vehicle and yourself against such incidents. If you have a fleet of vehicles, ensure you have qualified drivers. Also, schedule local fleet maintenance service to ensure they always have safe cars.

Proper car care ensures your vehicle is safe to drive, performs well, and serves you for a long time. You don’t need mechanical skills; a little commitment and regular checks will do. Regular visits to your local repair shop will save you from costly repairs in the long run.

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