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8 Ways to Extend the Life of Your Vehicle

Modern vehicles can easily last a decade or more with the right care and maintenance. Most people trade in their vehicles because they want a newer model – not because their car has finally kicked the bucket.

But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do everything that you can to extend the life of your vehicle. Taking good care of your car will allow you to drive it for longer or get a higher price when you trade it in for an upgrade.

Here are eight simple ways to extend the life of your vehicle.

1. Change Your Oil Regularly


It should go without saying that you need to change your oil regularly, but many car owners put this important maintenance task on the backburner.

Oil is essential to your engine’s operation (unless you have an electric vehicle). When oil levels are low or the oil becomes grimy, it creates friction between the moving parts of the engine – which leads to unnecessary wear and tear.

Get your oil changed at the appropriate mileage interval for your vehicle. Your mechanic should slap a sticker on your windshield which tells you when to get your next oil change.

You should also know how to check your oil. It’s easy to do, and it’s one of the simplest ways to keep your car healthy. Ideally, you want to check your oil once a month, depending on how often you drive it. Check your owner’s manual for specific instructions on how to check your oil, how often and what type of oil to use.

2. Don’t Ignore Seemingly Small Problems


Your check engine light comes on while you’re driving on the highway. Nothing feels off. The car seems to be driving just fine. You shrug it off, and tell yourself that you’ll take it to the mechanic in the morning.

Before you know it, it’s been weeks since the check engine light came on. Now you’re starting to notice that your car isn’t driving the same as it used to. You’re forced to bring your car to the mechanic, and the problem is expensive to repair.

Don’t ignore seemingly small problems. If your check engine light comes on, take it to the mechanic or use Fixd to figure out the problem. If your car is making strange noises or feels “off” when you’re driving it, take it in to the shop to get it looked at.

The longer you wait, the bigger – and more expensive – the problem will be.

3. Change Your Filters


Air filters should be changed about every 12,000 miles. Make sure that you’re changing them when they’re supposed to be changed. Over time, dust and dirt will accumulate in the filter, and this can have a negative impact on both your engine performance and your gas mileage.

Oil and engine filters keep sediment and debris out of your engine where they can cause damage.

Consult with your owner’s manual to find out how often you should change your filters, and make sure that you follow that recommended schedule.

It’s easy to forget to change your filters, but it can ultimately lead to costly engine trouble in the future if you don’t keep on top of it.

4. Keep an Eye on Your Tire Pressure


When it comes to vehicle maintenance, tires are usually an afterthought. If something is off with your tire pressure, you might ignore it because it doesn’t seem to have an immediate impact on your vehicle’s performance.

But ensuring that your tire pressure is at the optimal level will help you get the best gas mileage possible. It also improves the handling of your vehicle, allowing for a smoother and more enjoyable ride.

5. Park in the Shade


Sun exposure is another overlooked hazard that can damage your vehicle’s surfaces over time. UV damage can oxidize your paint, causing it to peel and create a rusty look. It can also damage your interior fabrics and surfaces, lightening the colors over time and potentially weakening these materials.

Whenever possible, park your vehicle in the shade, garage, carport or covered lot. Garages are the best option because they protect vehicles from the flora and fauna that can damage the paint. It also keeps snow and ice off of your vehicle in the winter.

6. Keep it Clean


It’s important to keep your car clean both inside and out. Clean cars look nice, but they also fetch a higher price when trading in or selling privately. It’s especially important to wash your vehicle in the winter, as road salt can eventually eat away at the metal.

7. Drive Safely and Carefully


Remember – your vehicle isn’t a race car. You might dream of tearing up the track, but your car won’t appreciate the extra strain you’re putting on it.

Avoid:

  • Sudden starts and stops
  • Driving at high speeds
  • Taking sharp corners

Drive safely, carefully and responsibly. Doing so will put less strain on your vehicle, ultimately extending its lifespan.

8. Read Your Owner’s Manual


Most people keep their owner’s manual tucked away in the glove box or in a safe place inside of their home. But unless you’re a car junkie, you probably never read the manual unless you have a problem or need to look up maintenance schedules.

Taking the time to read through the manual is important. The manual contains a wealth of information about your vehicle, including the best care practices to keep it running in good shape for as long as possible. These pages can answer just about any question you have about your vehicle, from oil changes to safety belts and when to make fluid changes.

We talk a lot about car maintenance on this site, and that’s because it’s so important. If you’re not maintaining your vehicle, you’re shortening its lifespan and reducing its value in the process. If you want to get the most out of your vehicle and keep it running for as long as possible, these care tips will help you reach that goal.

November 11, 2019

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Benjamin

Picture this: You’re driving down the highway, when all of a sudden your check engine light comes on. Your car had been driving a little funny, but nothing too out of the ordinary. In a panic, you pull over off the road and call a tow truck.

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