Manufacturers have gone a long way towards making cars last longer by improving the design, adding high-tech safety equipment and upgrading the interiors. It’s not unusual for a car to have over 100,000 miles on it, and according to a story in The Wall Street Journal in June 2021, the average age of a used car on the road is 12.1 years. If your car is past that age, you may want to shop for a newer vehicle at one of the SCA auctions in Jacksonville, FL, where you’ll find cars that have a lot of miles left in them.
If you’re looking to make your car survive for years to come, here are six ways to make your car last longer:
When it comes to a longer life, your manufacturer knows best. That’s why the owner’s manual has a list of things that you need to do at regular intervals. You’ll find the recommended mileage for oil changes, tire rotations, fluid changes, timing belt changes, and more in the manual. If you don’t have a manual, then your local dealership or repair shop can tell you when you should schedule the next visit.
If you keep the car in good repair, there is less of a chance of you getting stranded out on the highway because of something routine, like a radiator hose. You will have already replaced worn and old hoses, clamps,and belts as part of your maintenance.
It may seem like something that doesn’t affect your car’s life, but careless driving can make a significant impact on how long your car lasts. Smooth starts and stops are less stressful on your brakes. Also, when driving on the highway, keep your speed steady and resist the urge to accelerate quickly if it’s not necessary. These types of habits cost you fuel efficiency.
If you tow, don’t carry an excessive load or you’ll put stress on the engine and the suspension. Your vehicle has a tow limit, so read your manual to find out what it is.
Avoid potholes and speed bumps whenever possible, and slow down for the ones you can’t avoid. These variations in the road can do significant damage to your suspension or tires and rims. If you hit a pothole hard enough, you can even bend a rim.
Also, this may seem small, but if you put your car in reverse, and then put it in drive before you have stopped rolling backward, you can do damage to the transmission. Always make sure your car is stopped before shifting into drive.
Your car is designed to give you warnings for any part that is not operating, so if you see a warning light on the dash, don’t ignore it. If you don’t know what the light means or if it’s a check engine light, then get to a dealership or repair shop and find out what is going wrong with the car. It might be something simple like an oxygen sensor, or a major part could be failing. Ignoring the lights can eventually lead to disaster.
Keep it Clean
When you regularly clean your car, you protect it from dirt, grime and other substances like oil and road tar. All of these things can damage the paint or ruin the interior. It’s always best to wash it regularly and wax it often. A good set of floor mats protects the carpet and keeps the floors clean.
While this is usually done during regular maintenance, you should make it a habit of checking your fluids at other times, especially in extreme weather. Make sure that you’re using the right coolant for the weather and keep the radiator filled. This helps keep your engine in good shape.
Gas acts like a coolant in the fuel system, so it’s never a good idea to let your car run low on gas. This can put a strain on fuel system parts like the pump.
Don’t forget to check your transmission and brake fluids when you are checking fluids. Low fluids make the parts work harder, which puts more wear on them. Brakes can squeal when they are low on fluid, and the transmission can slip when it’s low on fluid.
The parts you use to repair your vehicle matter. A cheap part doesn’t last, and a low-quality part fails faster than an OEM part, so always use the parts that your manufacturer recommends. These are the parts for the best performance.
Protect Your Car
Most people have a garage or carport, but if you don’t have somewhere that you can bring your car out of the elements, then invest in a good cover for it. Rain, snow, ice, hail, extreme sunshine and tree sap can all do damage to your vehicle when it’s outside, so protect it from the elements.
If you take good care of your car, you can get years of life from it, and that could be why people are keeping their cars for 12.1 years or more.