There are some people who like to get a new vehicle every few years, whether they are on dealer lease programs or they trade-in and purchase a new or used car. Then, there are those of us who buy a vehicle and want to drive as long as it will keep running. We are proud when that odometer rolls over past 100,000 miles and maybe even 200,000 or 300,000 after many years of dependable driving.
Sometimes, you can get really lucky with a vehicle that lasts a long time. However, the best way to ensure that a car lives a long and healthy life is by performing proper preventative maintenance and taking care of minor problems before they turn into major repair jobs.
Here are 10 tips to extend the lifespan of your car, according to the Colorado Springs auto repair team at LightHouse Automotive:
1. Change the Oil
This is the most common and most important preventative maintenance procedure. If your engine does not have enough oil or the oil itself is old, dirty and sludgy, bad things will eventually happen as the components lose the necessary lubrication. The best way to help prevent engine damage is to get your oil changed at regular mileage intervals according to your vehicle's manufacturing specifications—which might be anywhere from every 3,000 miles in older cars up to every 10,000 miles in some modern vehicles.
2. Rotate Your Tires
If you are going to drive your vehicle for hundreds of thousands of miles, you will have to change your tires when they wear out. Still, it helps to make each new set of tires last as long as possible. The easiest way to do this is through regular tire rotations every 5,000-6,000 miles (usually in conjunction with each oil change). This evens out tread wear between all 4 tires over time, which is vital to a longer lifespan.
3. Maintain Your Transmission
Second only to the engine in terms of importance is the transmission. If the transmission isn't working right, you will have problems and the vehicle may not move at all. Though transmission services don't need to be performed as frequently as oil changes, you always want to monitor your transmission fluid. When it gets low, discolored or corroded—or if you start to notice fluid leaks—you want to replace the transmission fluid, filter and pan gasket replaced to maintain a healthy transmission.
4. Monitor All Your Vehicle Fluids
Engine oil and transmission fluid are just two of the fluids that keep your vehicle running right. Always check all your fluids regularly. This especially includes brake fluid, power steering fluid and radiator coolant.
5. Take Care of Your Fuel System
The fuel system is another thing that requires special attention and proper maintenance. Replace your fuel filter as needed and make sure the fuel lines are clean, so that your engine always has the gas or diesel fuel it needs for internal combustion. If you start to lose gas mileage, it may be a fuel system issue that should be addressed.
6. Replace Your Air Filter
Speaking of internal combustion, oxygen is the other important element that mixes with the fuel to burn within the engine's combustion chamber. Your engine needs a fresh supply of clean air, which is why your engine air filter is so important. When it gets too dirty or starts to show signs of wear, it's time to replace it.
7. Replace Your Timing Belt
Your engine has a timing belt (or timing chain) that connects the crankshaft to the camshaft. It is typically made of a rubber composite that will eventually degrade over time. In certain harsh environments with dry heat, lots of rain or ice/snow, the rubber can wear out even quicker. Monitor your timing belt and replace it as needed.
8. Get Your Brakes Serviced
No matter how long you own your car, you want it to be safe to drive. Get your brakes inspected regularly and serviced as needed. Replace the brake pads when they become too worn and top off the brake fluid if it starts to get low. Sometimes, mechanical components like the discs, drums, rotors and calipers need maintenance and repairs, as well.
9. Other Maintenance and Repairs
The first 8 tips on this list are the most common maintenance needs any vehicle will have. Otherwise, keeping your car running as long as possible will require ongoing attention and care. Whenever you think there might be a problem, get a professional mechanic to look at it. If repairs are needed, take care of them before things get even worse.
10. Find an Auto Shop You Can Trust
To handle all these maintenance tasks and repairs, you'll want to have a local auto shop that you can depend on for quality service. If you are in the Colorado Springs area, you can turn to LightHouse Automotive. We're here to help with all your automotive needs. We'll treat you and your vehicle right, so you can enjoy driving it for as long as you choose to own it!
Call LightHouse Automotive today at (719) 465-0302 or schedule your service appointment online.