What’s worse than your car breaking down or dying? You spent so much money on your car – the last thing you want is to wait on the side of the road, get a huge bill from your mechanic, or go car shopping again. The good news is that you came to the right place. You are about to learn the top 10 (relatively easy) tips to keep your car running forever.
No time to waste, let’s get right into it with our first tip.
#1: Routinely Change Your Oil
This cannot be stressed enough. An oil change packs the most bang for your buck as far as car maintenance is concerned. It doesn’t cost a lot, but it saves you more money than you realize in the long run.
The oil in your car will lubricate every moving part of your engine. It reduces wear, maximizes performance, and keeps your car alive. If you go too long without changing your oil, your engine can seize, and your car will be totaled.
That can be avoided by spending a couple of hundred bucks a year on oil changes.
#2: Check Your Fluids
Cars use different fluids to cool things down and keep things moving. Most of the fluids have an area that you can check their levels without taking anything apart. If the levels are low, you should top them off.
Some fluids in your car include transmission, windshield wiper, power steering, coolant, and transmission fluid. If you’re not comfortable checking, replacing, or topping off these fluids, any mechanic will be able to.
Remember that each of these fluids serves a very important function. Running out of even one of these fluids can render your car undrivable and lead to other problems.
#3: Always Inspect Your Tires
Inspecting your tire should become at least a weekly event. What goes into the inspection? Check the tire pressure, take a look at the tread, and look for any bubbles on the tire.
The driver’s door should have a printout that tells you the suggested tire pressure. Additionally, you can use a penny to see if your tread is okay. Stick a penny in the tread so the face of the coin is facing you, and Abe Lincoln is upside down. If you can see the top of his head, then your tread is not deep enough.
Healthy tires improve the handling, traction, and performance of your car. A tire with a bubble on it that goes unchecked for too long can lead to a blowout and extensive wheel damage.
#4: Keep an Eye on Your Brake
The brake system in your car includes a few different parts. Your brake pedal, brake line, brake fluid, and the brake assembly in your wheel include a pad, rotor, and caliper.
If any one of these parts is defective, your brakes won’t be as strong as they should be. They could even fail. This means longer stopping distances and longer reactions to quickly press the brakes.
If your brakes squeak when you apply them or the pedal is spongy, then you need to replace or repair something in your brake system.
Whenever you change your oil, you should take apart the brake assembly in your wheel and inspect the parts for wear and damage.
#5: Be a Regular at the Car Wash
This might sound crazy, but regularly washing your car works wonders. Not only do you get a great-looking car, but you’re also extending the life of your vehicle.
Car washes will prevent rust from forming and protect the undercarriage of your car. This is another one of those inexpensive tips that can save you a boatload of money. Don’t forget the clearcoat protectant which protects your car’s paint from UV rays, moisture, and rust.
If you live in a snowy area, the salt from the road is going to eat away at your car. Ice and snow on your vehicle will lead to damages down the road. For people in these climates, you should go to the car wash even more frequently.
Some car washes offer a monthly deal, check with your local car one. In no time at all, they should know you on a first-name basis.
#6: Utilize Your Parking Brake
In racing movies, you see the parking brake used to throw drivers into dramatic turns. Beyond that, people don’t ever think about their parking brake. The truth is that you should never touch your parking brake when your vehicle is in motion. Sorry, Vin Diesel.
The parking brake, also called an emergency brake, e-brake, or handbrake can help you more than you realize. The parking brake locks your transmission in place. Without the e-brake, your transmission moves around and experiences extra stress over time. For that reason, your parking brake should be used any time you park your car.
Pulling your parking brake takes about a second, and it saves you costly repairs on your transmission.
#7: Replace Your Old Windshield Wipers
So many people drive around with the same windshield wipers that were on the car when they first bought it. You should change your wipers every 6 to 12 months. Why? They are made with cheap plastic and rubber that very quickly wears out. Inside of the rubber is a piece of metal.
That metal scratches against your windshield glass, cracking and scratching it over time. A single scratch can ultimately shatter your windshield which is something we all want to avoid.
Wipers are really cheap to replace. Check online to see what size wipers your make, model, and year uses.
#8: Park it Indoors
Garages are paramount to extending the life of your car. If you have access to a garage or carport, that’s really good news. If not, you should consider the option of building a carport to protect your car.
If nothing else, you can buy a high-quality outdoor car cover. The weather, animals, people, and moisture in the air are going to destroy your car over time. Also, parking on grass or gravel will seep moisture into your undercarriage and rust everything out.
The best solution is to park inside a garage. When you think about it, your car probably spends more time parked than it does driving. This means that you need to consider where your car is parked.
#9: Maintain a Healthy Battery
Your car’s battery is the heart of your vehicle. Almost every component in your car relies on the battery in order to operate. If you’ve ever had a dead battery, you know how important they are.
If you want to avoid breaking down while driving, failing to start your car, or losing power steering in your vehicle, you need to take care of your battery. The battery is yet another part of your car that has a shelf life.
Every two to five years you should completely replace your battery. If you’re not sure, you can use a specialized tool or a general multimeter to check out your car’s battery. It should have about 12.6 volts not running, and over 10.0 after you start it.
Batteries aren’t as expensive as you might think, but it’s also a cost that you can’t avoid. Try to get an OEM battery because they were designed specifically for your car.
#10: Focus When You Drive
All the tips in the world won’t amount to anything if the driver isn’t focusing. The smallest fender bender can slash the life of your car and you’ll wind up back at the car lot looking for a new vehicle. Distracted driving leads to a ton of accidents every year.
If you want to keep your car running forever, make sure you’re always attentive while you’re driving. For the sake of your car, yourself, and other drivers – focus when you drive.
Honorable Mention: Picking the Right Car to Start With
It didn’t quite make the top 10, but it’s worth mentioning that buying the right car will maximize how long your car lasts. It might be too late for you now but keep this in mind the next time you’re car shopping.
Not to worry, even if you have the “wrong” car, the above tips will still help you out.
Try to pick a car or manufacturer that has a long history of lasting long. The two cars that come to mind are the Honda Civic and Toyota Camry. Do a little research on the expected life of your car before writing a check to the dealership.
Coupling our 10 tips with the right car will result in a car that will comfortably last 2, 3, even 400,000 miles.
At this point, you should have a better understanding of how to maximize the life of your car. The 10 tips on this list are easy enough to follow, and they can result in tens of thousands of dollars in savings. These tips should allow you to replace your car because you want to, not because you have to thanks to a mechanical problem. Remember to treat your car with respect and pay attention while you’re driving.