Making Your Car Last

Making Your Car Last
Making Your Car Last

 

Let me ask you a few questions; has your car started making strange and/or different noises?  Has it become a little less quieter than usual?  Does it drive a little rougher than it used to?  Has the engine light, or any other lights suddenly popped on?  Are you spending more and more time and money at repair shops?  Are you tired of searching the phone book for a trustworthy repair shop?  Finally, are you willing to get your hands dirty?  If you answered “yes” to any or all of these questions; then don’t go anywhere because we’ll show you how to make your car last.

Contrary to popular belief, taking care of your car so that it’ll last longer isn’t as difficult, time-consuming, or expensive as it’s made out to be.  It only becomes all of those things when you fail to do them.  There’s only one primary thing that you have to do to extend the life and durability of your car—stay on track with your routine maintenance.  There are several key areas of routine maintenance that you should focus on; tires, engine care, and parts.

 

Routine  Maintenance

So what exactly is routine maintenance?  Routine maintenance is the mileage or time-based intervals to have your car serviced.  Routine maintenance includes; oil changes, tire rotations, transmission flushes, and so forth.  Typically, your owner’s manual will list the recommended mileage to have different services performed on your car.

 

Engine  Care

The engine is the most important part of your car; consider it as the ‘heart’ of your car because all the crucial parts are connected to it; the transmission, your fuel system, alternator, starter, wiring, cooling system, all your hoses, belts, and pumps.  There are several major categories that fall under engine care.  If you maintain these areas and stay on schedule with your service intervals, you should have no problems taking care of your car’s engine.

ü  Oil Change – Changing your oil regularly is the most effective way maintain the life of your engine. Forget the traditional 3,000 miles/3 months rule, it no longer applies.  Today’s engines are designed to go approximately 5,000 to 10,000 miles in between oil changes.  Despite the higher cost, semi and full synthetic oils are the best because they burn slower and have additives that prolong the life of your car.  A semi-synthetic/high mileage oil is better for cars with 75,000 miles or more while full synthetic oils are recommended for newer engines with 75,000 miles or less.

ü  Serpentine Belt – Your serpentine/drivebelt will hardly ever need to be replaced.  Most manufacturers recommend replacing it approximately every 100,000, which means you may only replace it once or twice while you own your car.  The only other time you would replace it is if it becomes severely frayed and cracked, and if chunks are missing.

ü  Flushes – Stay current on your flushes. Most transmissions are flushed every 30,000 to 100,000 miles, check your manual.  Radiator flushes are typically every 50,000 miles, engine flushes can range between 20,000 to 30,000 miles, while fuel system cleanings are approximately 60,000 to 75,000 miles.

ü  Hoses – There’s not a known interval for replacing hoses such as your radiator hoses, however, you typically want to replace them after swelling or if they become dry-rotted, cracked or slit.

 

Tire  Care

Tires are another essential part of your used auto.  Tires have a direct effect on fuel economy, ride comfort/discomfort, and steering and braking, as well as overall safety.  Here are the focus areas for tire care.

ü  Proper PSI – Having the right amount of air pressure in your tires will increase your fuel economy, make your car’s load lighter, and give you a smoother ride. Warmer temperatures (80° and up) automatically inflate tires 2 to 3 PSI, while cooler temperatures (40° and below) automatically deflate tires 2 to 3 PSI, so compensate and keep the proper air pressure in your tires.

ü  Tire Rotations – Most manufacturers recommend rotating your tires every 5,000 to 10,000 miles. Rotating tires evens out the tread wear, reduces balding, and prolongs the life of your tires.

ü  Wheel Alignment – If you’ve noticed your car pulls to one side, it could be sign that you need a wheel alignment, and/or your tires are going bad.

ü  Seasonal Tires – Change your tires according to the season. In spring and summer, you can use summer tires because their rubber has been designed to stick to warmer surfaces, usually 80° or higher.  In the winter, switch to a set (all 4 tires, not just 2) of snow/winter tires because they’re equipped with sipes and tread designed to cut through snow and ice, and their rubber is designed for lower temperatures of 40° or less.

 

Replacing  Parts

There are a few parts that it wouldn’t hurt to replace regularly such as your fuel filter, air filter, and PCV valve.  For a mechanic, the fuel filter shouldn’t take anytime at all, and the air filter and PCV Valve you can do yourself with practically no tools in just a few minutes.  Changing these parts will increase fuel economy and also give you a smoother ride.

 

When you are financing a used auto, it is very important to ensure that you take care of the vehicle for the length of time you will be making payments on the used car. A small monthly investment into preventative care will likely result in not only a more reliable vehicle, but also one with a higher re-sale value at the end!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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