For many of us, the longest relationship we’ve ever had is with our car. And, we don’t want it to end any time soon. It’s not just that you love your car, but let’s face it, buying a new car is expensive. Getting another hundred thousand miles out of the old girl sounds like sweet music to your ears. If you start early enough and stick with it, extending the lifetime of your car is easier than you think.
1. Oil: Think with your dipstick
Oil is the lifeblood of your car. If you want to keep your engine running smoothly, you need to keep an eye on your oil. Thanks to new formulations in motor oil, you don’t have to change it nearly as often as you used to. Unless you have an old classic or old clunker, every 6,000 to 7,000 miles should suffice. Don’t forget to change the oil filter too. Keeping nasty deposits out of your engine doesn’t just extend its life; it gives you better gas mileage too. To stay on top of it, check your oil every few hundred miles.
2. Coolant: Remember to flush
Just like us, cars don’t like to be too hot or too cold. If you don’t keep an eye on your coolant levels, your car can overheat. Serious or repeated overheating can lead to expensive engine repairs. If it’s been more than a few years, you should flush the system and refill with fresh coolant.
3. Air Filters: Cars deserve clean air, too
Changing your car’s air filters is one the simplest and least expensive ways to extend its life. Your car’s air filters keep harmful particles from getting into your engine and gumming up the works. Even the smallest little bit of dirt, if left to its own dirty devices can do serious damage to an engine.
4. Tires: Where the rubber meets the road
One of the easiest ways to get more out of your car is keeping your tires properly inflated and the wheels aligned. Improperly inflated tires or misaligned wheels will cause your tires to wear unevenly and put stress on your suspension. Check your tires for wear or perform a simple test to see if your wheels are out of whack. Find a flat stretch of road. Drive down it with your hand resting gently on the wheel. If you’re about to veer, it’s time to steer…your way to the mechanic for an alignment.
5. Interior/Exterior: She’s still a looker
When it comes to your car, it’s okay to be vain. Keeping your car’s interior and exterior looking good isn’t just about style; it’s about protecting your investment. Taking time to protect the paint job with frequent washing and waxing and keeping stains to a minimum will help your car hold its value.
6. Maintenance: Time for a check-up
Follow your car’s maintenance schedule, and take your car in for regular maintenance. It might seem like overkill, but the money you spend keeping your car healthy can save you tons down the road. Keep all of the receipts; they’re important to any potential buyer. And, be sure to address any problems early. The longer you wait the worse and more expensive they become.