Gone are the times when owning a commodity such as a car was considered a status symbol. In today’s fast paced world and with this recession that does not want to end because of regulations and high taxes, it can be expensive to maintain two cars. Although, buying a car is not as expensive as it used to be, it still stands as a solid investment. And who wouldn’t want an investment to pay off for the long term?
An average car owner makes use of their car for about 6 years, but an average car can last up to 11 years, as long as the owner does their bit by putting in some time and effort or money to make sure the machine meets its standards.
Here are 5 quick tips that can help you increase the lifespan of your car.
- Regular Maintenance
As surprising as it is, a lot of car owners pay no heed to the maintenance of their vehicle, even though it is as simple as reading up your owner’s manual. Some may even prefer to follow the maintenance schedule they received at the dealership rather than the one from the manufacturer itself. However, the variance does not necessarily impart a world of a difference; some maintenance is better than no maintenance at all.
Maintenance is absolutely necessary for the cars that have ‘oil life monitoring systems’, which indicate to the driver when an oil change is due. The alert usually goes off somewhere between 5,000-8,000 miles, followed by 11,000-13,000 miles and later 16,000-18,000 miles. Some systems also display the percentage of oil left so there is minimal wastage. Proper maintenance between intervals is probably the easiest way to ensure that your vehicle endures the test of time.
- Monthly Checkups
It’s not entirely true that you need to make it rain to maintain your vehicle. Something as simple as this tip will help you be more aware of your vehicle’s condition. All you have to do is:
- Make sure the engine of your vehicle is cool.
- Open the hood, and using a wiping cloth, pull out the oil dipstick.
- Wipe the dipstick clean, reinsert it and pull it out again. (This will give you a clue as to the amount of oil that is sitting in the oil pan).
- Check the radiator overflow reservoir level and the brake cylinder reservoir.
- Check the power steering fluid level.
- Also check the hoses and belts for damages.
- Lastly, make sure each of your tires has the right amount of pounds per square inch (PSI), as stated in the owner’s manual or the door jamb on the driver’s side of the car.
It is best to get these checks done about once a month. As for the tires, once a week is ideal but twice a month is fine too.
- Pay Attention to Sounds
Listen out for any out of the ordinary noises that your car might be producing; when on a standstill or during under way. A few of them may include the following:
- Clicking noise – This may mean that a nail is stuck in a tire.
- Loud squealing – The brake wear indicators automatically go off when a car is being driven and the brake pedal is not depressed.
- Scraping or grinding – If you hear this sound while pressing on the brakes, it is most likely that the brake pads are too low.
Keep in mind that whatever the case, it is best that you take the vehicle to your mechanic for a professional analysis.
- Know Your Facts
There’s a misconception among drivers that ramping up the flooring after ignition helps a cold engine warm up faster. It is not so. It only takes a couple of seconds for the oil pump to lubricate the engine sufficiently. While that is taking place, the engine RPM should be kept down to a minimum. 30 seconds is enough to wait on before gearing up and driving off, a little longer in case the engine has sat for more than a day.
The most important thing to remember is don’t drive recklessly; nor should you go all-out on your engine or brakes. It is alright to throttle acceleration or invoke a panic stop now and then if you have too. But only if you have too for the most part.
Your car must be at a complete stop before shifting it to reverse or shifting it back to forward. This is pretty obvious but it is vital to contemplate when driving or operating your car. This avoids stressing the transmission components. It is also apparent that calm driving saves fuel by about 35 percent, so maybe that is incentive enough. We are getting taxed enough, you do not want to overspend on fuel.
These steps are easy to remember. Following these principles will also help you maintain your vehicle while increasing its longevity. But remember – your car is only as good as your driving habits.