Six Ways to Maximize Your Vehicle’s Lifespan
Your vehicle is likely one of the largest purchases you will make in your life aside from your home. If you’re spending so much money on something so essential, you’re going to want to get the most bang for your buck. If you treat your vehicle with the care it deserves, you’re not only being smart but saving money in the process.
Getting the most from your car doesn’t just mean staying out of accidents. There are many small things you can do to extend your vehicle’s lifetime. Of course, there is no top-down lifehack to make your car live longer. Successfully extending your car’s lifespan requires small, consistent efforts put-in from the bottom-up. If you pay attention to the small items listed below, your future self will be grateful.
While these tips may seem small, they can all add some time to your car’s lifespan. Do you know what that means? Money saved down the road.
Read the Manual
While the last thing you want to do when you buy a new car is to sit down and study a document full of technical specifications, your car’s manual is like its bible, and by knowing it you can ensure you are doing your part to get the most out of your vehicle.
Every car is different. The manual is the most important, reliable document that exists for your vehicle. It will tell you everything you need to know about keeping your specific car safe and alive.
Certain small things will vary from car-to-car. Your manual will tell you important stuff like how often you need to get your oil changed, whether you should let your car warm-up before you start driving it, or whether your car has a supercharger. All these things will impact how you treat your car moving forward.
Take Repairs Seriously
A major part of maxing out your car’s lifespan is knowing what you need to do to keep the engine running. Maintenance is more than just an emergency procedure; it’s something you should commit to regularly over time. Frequent check-ups are essential to identify problems you didn’t know existed before they escalate and put your vehicle in jeopardy.
If a check-up leads to you noticing an issue, it is in your best interest to fix it right away, no matter how minor it may seem. Scratches in your car’s paint won’t immediately impact how you drive, but they can leave its exterior more susceptible to damage in the future. Tire pressure warnings may not seem that important, but over time it can add significant wear to your tires and reduce your vehicle’s fuel efficiency. Sure, repairs can be costly, but the money you spend on repairs now could prevent even costlier repairs in the future.
Keep Your Car Clean
Sure, a fresh-looking car is cool, but is it really necessary? Well…actually, yes.
That answer may surprise you, but washing your car is more than just a commitment to making it look clean. While wanting something you spent so much money on to look nice should be a no-brainer, it’s also a safeguard against mechanical problems that might pop-up down the line.
Any grime that plants itself on your car’s exterior can have a larger impact long term. Dirt and grime on the exterior can create rust and holes where dirt and debris can enter into the engine. When this happens, crucial parts of your car are left susceptible to damage.
Interior cleanliness is important too. Dirt and clutter inside your car can make way for stains, mold, and pests…all of which will be costly to repair or replace.
Change Your Fluids
If you’ve ever been to a mechanic, you’ve probably been preached to about the importance of an oil change. While it seems like the type of thing you can shrug off, paying attention to these types of tasks separates those who get the most out of their car from those who need a new one before they know it.
In the case of oil, the compact parts in your car’s engine are in constant need of lubrication. Otherwise, the metal in your engine will start to rust which can lead to inefficiency or even failure. Engine failure can be a death sentence for your car, so we recommend you read your manual and change your oil as often as recommended.
Many other fluids in your car- such as brake, power steering and transmission fluids- need a similar amount of attention. When you bring your car in for a check-up, ask for your fluids to be checked. A leak can be catastrophic.
Filters and Tires Need Love Too
While proper lubrication and cleanliness can do their part to prevent engine damage, you also need to pay attention to your filters. Filters are crucial parts of your car that keep debris, dirt, and dust from entering your engine.
Make sure every oil change comes with new oil filters. Air filters are also important for keeping dust and other unhealthy sediments from contaminating the inside of your car.
For your car to run efficiently, you will need to keep up with your tires. Under-inflation can take its toll on your gas mileage and lead to uneven tire wear. Check the pressure and condition of your tires regularly to avoid this.
While getting in an accident can obviously lead to an early goodbye for your car, you probably don’t need us to tell you that. However, there are many good driving habits that are much less intuitive but can make just as much of a difference in the long run.
For example, turning your engine on for short periods of time can cause unneeded wear on your vehicle. Any time you turn your engine on or off or take a short trip, you’re putting a disproportionate amount of pressure on your engine. Over time, this can take its toll.
Now, we’re not saying you need to avoid short trips altogether. A smart way to combat this can be to tackle a bunch of tiny errands as a long journey, driving to the furthest destination first. This gives your engine time to warm up before it gets overworked. Although it may seem wasteful, it’s never a bad idea to leave your engine running if you’re only leaving your car for a minute.
There is no magical cure to extend your car’s life. Rather, everything you do requires commitment and day-to-day effort. However, when you look back on your life with your car and realize you got the most from it, all these small things will feel so worth it.