The average age of a car in the US is 10.5 years with owners holding on to them due to better quality/performance and the prohibitive prices of buying a new vehicle. Moreover, owners maintain their rides properly to extend their longevity, improve performance, and save time & money in expensive repairs. These factors also contribute to higher ownership of older models. Here are easy and practical ways to keep your ride in great shape.
Give it A Good Scrub Inside and Outside
Cleaning the interior and exterior of your car is one of the easiest things that you can do to extend its life. Keep it free from grime and dirt to preserve the paint and finish.
Hose down the undercarriage regularly. If you’re living near the ocean or in an area where roads are salted during winter, it is important to remove the salt that’s going to stick under your vehicle as soon as possible to prevent corrosion and rusting.
Keep Your Ride in a Garage
In addition to preventing your car from being stolen, a garage provides shelter avoiding direct exposure to the elements. Too much sunlight can make the paint fade quicker while hail can damage your windshield and the body of the car. Make sure to use a garage parking mat to protect the surface of your parking area. It is also easier to spot leaks (oil or transmission fluids) that might fall on the mat so that you can repair faults as quickly as possible.
Protect the Engine
Your car’s engine is its main source of power. Change the engine oil at regular intervals to ensure that vital parts of your vehicle are well lubricated so that it won’t overheat. Replace air & fuel filters to avoid particles from getting in your engine that could cause extensive and expensive damage.
Maintaining the cooling system is also important as it prevents the engine from overheating. Check coolant/antifreeze levels and make sure that they are at recommended heights. Flush and top up as needed.
Check the Battery, Tires, Brake, and Suspension System
The battery of the car stores all the energy that is required to start your engine. Keep it clean and make sure that the terminals are tight.
Your brake system is also very important for your safety and that of others. Have it checked by the garage at least once a year, and change brake fluids and replace brake pads when they are worn out.
A mechanic should also inspect your steering and suspension system annually or if you notice, feel or hear anything unusual while driving. Vibrating sounds can mean shocks or springs need to be replaced or steering fluids topped up. It is also vital to check the condition of tires and their pressure.
Maintaining a vehicle does not only involve cleaning, parts replacement, and regular servicing for enhanced safety, performance, and comfort. It also implies regular inspection of the car and staying vigilant for anything that looks out of the ordinary so that you can address a potential issue before it escalates into something big and costly to repair.