My scholarship effort: Due 12/15/19, 1000 words minimum. For CarCovers.com
|NOTE: This is a draft that is still being written for please take that into account when reviewing.
21 Ways to Make Your Car Last Forever
Today, vehicles are more complicated and expensive than ever. Kelly Blue Book reported in January 2018, the average price for a new vehicle had risen 4% to an industry average of $36,270 from the prior year’s average of $34,910. That’s a big jump and a hit to the wallet. Before looking at buying a new car, make sure you buy a good quality car and then follow these tips to make your new car last forever.
1. Replace Parts Before They Break
There’s a manual with each new vehicle and in it comes a recommended servicing schedule that many vehicle owners don’t follow. But following this schedule religiously can save you headaches from maintenance issues, as well as increase the life of your vehicle exponentially. By replacing parts before they can break, you prevent irreparable damage to vital parts. Replacing belts especially can avoid costly engine repairs.
2. Routine Maintenance is Key
Getting to know your car on day one is important. Dog ear the pages for service maintenance and other frequently used information. Don’t be afraid to highlight parts that are important for easy future reference. Then schedule your routine maintenance accordingly. Not every vehicle needs an oil change every 3,000 miles or spark plugs yearly. Know what your vehicle needs for oil changes, spark plugs, belts, filters, and other routine maintenance. Don’t forget to pay attention to lights, tire pressure daily, and the type of fuel you use. Cheaper fuels can cost you in the long term so choose a good quality gas
3. Replace filters on a schedule
Your air filters will get gummed up. After all, they’re there to filter out all the things that shouldn’t go into your engine or vehicle’s cabin. For them to work properly, they need to be cleaned or replaced regularly. Many mechanics are happy to show you how to properly change the simple filters like air cabin filters. Leave the more complicated filters for your mechanic like fuel filters.
4. Replace spark plugs and wires
Spark plugs and leads are a vital component to your vehicle. Every single time you start and use your vehicle your spark plugs are being used to ignite the air/fuel mixture within your engine. Over time, the tips of the spark plugs can become corroded with ash from this process. Changing these out before they become too corroded or dirty will ensure your engine works properly every time.
5. Don’t redline your engine
No matter what kind of vehicle you have, pushing the engine into the redline (the red area on your speedometer) is bad for the engine. Essentially, this is the manufacturer’s way of letting you know that if you run the vehicle in this way, something is likely to break. Combustion engines in cars are designed to handle certain pressures and redlining isn’t one of them. So avoid this at all costs to ensure your engine lasts forever.
6. Don’t be aggressive
Being aggressive means you’re jumping on the accelerator from a stop, or braking hard regularly. As an aggressive driver, not only are you at more risk of an accident, you’re also tearing up vital components like acceleration and braking components. Use a consistent, easy foot on the pedals and your vehicle will thank you with great performance longer.
7. Control Your Braking
Avoid hard braking accept in an emergency. One of the ways to do this is to increase your traveling distance. There should be a minimum four second gap between you and another vehicle, even on the highway. The higher the speed (i.e. 75 mph), the more distance you’ll need to come to a stop or react to an emergency. Any less than that, and you’re in a hard-braking situation which will affect not only your brake pads, and tires, but also your calipers which are large metal plates used to slow the vehicle. These plates become super-heated during breaking and sudden stops will leave uneven spots on the plate that then have to be filed.
8. Use Your a/c regularly to keep it operational
Using your air conditioner year round can help it stay functioning properly year round and avoid costly repairs from lack of use.
9. Repair dings in windshield – Rocks happens
As you travel on the roadways, you'll find hazards and none are more frustrating than rocks. Keeping your windshield repaired from these dings and dents, ensures your windshield's integrity in a crash or during normal expansion and contraction from the weather. Nothing is worse than coming out in the morning to find a giant crack where only a dent used to be.
10. Check fluids regularly
Fluids will get low but checking them regularly ensures your vehicle won't run out of vital fluids. Check oil, brake, antifreeze, and windshield wiper fluid to ensure those systems don't develop problematic leaks and to keep those systems properly lubricated. This is easily done during an oil change that includes a quick vehicle inspection. Or you can do this yourself monthly by adding a reminder to the calendar.
11. Keep tires properly inflated
Many modern vehicles have a sensor to tell you your air pressure at any given time but if yours doesn't, keep an air gauge and check air pressure while tires are cool. Be sure not to exceed recommended air pressure to avoid over-inflation problems.
12. Follow the manufacturer’s service manual
There's a reason these manuals are included - they're your car's service and ownership bible. They contain everything from the best fuel to use to how to operate all the parts of the vehicle. It also includes a handy service manual.
13. Avoid exceeding towing capacity
Have you ever seen a four door sedan hauling a U-haul trailer? Just because the vehicle can do it, doesn't mean it should. This creates tremendous stress and strain on the transmission and engine not to mention being unsafe!
14. Maintain the battery
Batteries should be changed every 3-5 years depending on the manufacturer. Some batteries also need their water reservoir refilled regularly.
15. Don’t go cheap on parts or labor
This can lead to additional costly repairs and breakdowns. Only use recommended parts and a properly trained mechanic to service your vehicle.
16. Have vehicle chassis rust-proofed
This is especially important if you have a vehicle that deals with a lot of snow, ice, and salt as the combination brings about a lot of potential for rust. Any vehicle can rust though, so a shellac coating of the car's under-body can really help save you from this.
17. Don’t Modify, buy the features you want up front
After market parts may lead to unexpected issues long term so purchase the features you want up front where possible. This ensures those items are built to work with your vehicle properly and long term.
18. Protect the Body
Make sure to properly wax and wash your vehicle to ensure the body stays intact and free from insects which can harm your paint.
19. Use Vehicle Consistently and Well
Letting a vehicle sit for a long time can lead to breakdowns as parts become less flexible and lose lubrication over time. Having a regular driving habit can help prevent this.
20. Buy a Car Cover
While you can use a garage to store your vehicle, what about all those hours out on the road? When you go to work, does your vehicle sit in a parking lot with the sun beating down on it? Using a car cover will prevent your car’s exterior and interior from becoming damaged by the sun, a critical component to making it last forever.
21. In essence, LOVE your vehicle every day!
Vehicles are necessary daily tools and with proper love, will last for many years. Maintenance, care, and consistency are all keys to loving your car and making it last forever.
By following these 21 steps, you’ll be sure to have a vehicle that lasts many years beyond the average of 11.4 years.