Your car is vital to your family’s routine. It’s your means of transportation to and from work, and it’s a significant investment of your hard-earned money. Maintaining your car is essential to keeping up with your to-do list and retaining its resale value. Want to learn how to make your car last longer? Follow these five mechanic-minded tips!
How to Make Your Car Last Longer
1. Stick to the vehicle’s service schedule.
Ever heard the term “scheduled maintenance?” Every vehicle has a specific set of guidelines written by the manufacturer, like Ford, Toyota, or Honda. These guidelines tell you the optimal frequency to replace your spark plugs, change out your air filter, and have other preventative services performed on your vehicle.
Adhering to your vehicle’s manufacturer suggested maintenance schedule is one of the best ways to prevent car issues before they get out of hand (and out of budget!).
Not sure how to find your car’s maintenance schedule? Choose your make and model on Edmunds handy lookup tool to check out the recommendations (and check if there are active safety recalls on your car, while you’re at it).
2. Monitor your vehicle’s fluid levels.
Your car relies on several different fluids to run smoothly—such as engine oil, brake fluid, coolant, and transmission fluid, to name a few. Over time, these fluids can evaporate, break down, or become polluted, causing premature wear and tear to your car. Keeping fluid levels topped off is vital to your car’s health, and it can be easy to do with this quick tip.
Kill two birds with one stone by heading to your local Jiffy Lube for an oil change, and they’ll check and top off all your vehicle’s vital fluids while they’re performing your service. Make sure to call ahead, as some locations may have different restrictions on this popular service.
3. Get oil changes early and often.
By now, you probably know that your car needs the oil changed regularly. But do you know why? Changing the oil prevents harmful deposits from building up inside your engine, which in turn keeps internal engine parts in good condition.
Driving around with old motor oil can lead to significant damage in your engine from inadequate lubrication. Yikes! To make your car last longer, stay ahead of recommended oil change intervals—your engine will thank you.
4. Pay attention to out-of-the-ordinary sounds or vibrations.
Are your brakes squeaking? Do you hear an unusual clicking noise in the engine? Make a mental note, then head to a mechanic as soon as you can. If you’re able to, record the sound on your phone or try to replicate it yourself (sure, you might feel silly, but your “reenactment” of noises can help your mechanic know where to start looking for issues).
New sounds can often indicate a minor problem, but sometimes, they point to something that needs immediate attention. Make your car last longer by taking it to a trusted mechanic as soon as you suspect something’s off.
5. Check your tires and wheels monthly.
Driving on rough roads or over potholes can damage your tires, wheels, and suspension system. It’s smart to visually inspect your tires and wheels monthly for signs of damage, like a slash in the sidewall of a tire or a severe dent in a wheel. Remember, even small issues and minor imperfections can turn into big problems if not taken care of.
Flat tires may or may not be evident at first glance, so be sure to check your tire pressure monthly, too, and inflate as necessary to maintain the suggested tire pressure. You can find the manufacturer recommended tire pressure in your owner’s manual or on the driver’s side door jamb. Over- or under-inflated tires or tires with uneven tread wear can put unnecessary stress on your suspension system, and could ultimately lead to costly damage.
Just like it’s important to know when your tires are damaged, it’s vital to know when they need to be replaced. To prevent dangerous driving conditions or accidental tire blowouts, learn how to tell when you need new tires.
How to Help Make Your Car Last Forever
Here’s the bad news: you can’t learn how to make your car last forever. Nothing lasts forever! But you can learn how to make your car last longer. It’s all about taking care of minor issues before they become major ones. When you’re proactive about maintenance and repairs, your wallet and your car will be much happier in the long term.
No matter what you do to make your car last longer, some things just can’t be prevented. Like flat tires—who knew that nail was in the middle of the road? Here at Direct Auto Insurance, we can help you when things don’t go as planned. Call, click, or visit your nearest Direct Auto Insurance for more info on affordable auto insurance policies, different levels of coverage, and even roadside assistance!