Car’s represent a significant financial burden for the everyday American. Whether you decided to buy a new car, or an older used car, the best way to get the most of your money is to take the best care that you can of the vehicle you have and make it last as long as possible! Here are the ways to do that:
- Maintain your car according to your owner handbook
- Put the best fluids you can in your car
- Don’t ignore the warning lights in your vehicle
- Regularly check fluids and filters
- Keep your tires in tip top shape with frequent rotations and inspections
- Pick a car brand that lasts
30 years ago, you would be incredibly lucky to see your vehicle make it to 100,000 miles. Today the average vehicle can make it to OVER 200,000 if properly maintained!
Why Are Cars Lasting Longer In This Day and Age?
It really all comes down to the parts and fluids that the vehicles are being built with and maintained through. Better parts lead to less breaks. Every time a part in your car breaks down it puts stress on the vehicle and the sheer force of some parts breaking can damage other parts!
Maintain Your Car According To Owner Handbook
Every vehicle will come with a booklet that offers any and all information on the vehicle that the owner could possibly want. If you bought your car used and the handbook wasn’t included you can find and download a PDF copy of your make and model on the internet using a simple google search.
The owner’s manual will give you a rough outline of what your maintenance schedule should look like including the mileage range or time frame that oil should be replaced to more intense maintenance items such as when a timing belt or water pump will need replacing.
If you want your car to really last, use the maintenance schedule your manufacturer provides for the car and take your car to a trusted mechanic regularly and follow their instructions for maintenance. These are the basic parts that you can expect to renew:
- Oil and oil filter
- Engine coolant
- Fuel filter
- Power steering fluid
- Timing belt
- Spark plugs
- Windshield wipers
Put The Best Fluids, Parts And Fuel You Can In Your Car
Think of your car as you would your body. If you fill up your body with nothing but fast food, grease and simple sugars, you’re almost certainly setting yourself up for diseases and medical complications such as diabetes and heart disease. Now apply these same principles to your vehicle.
If you put good parts in, you are usually going to get quality and quantity miles out of your vehicle. Better made parts will last you longer breaking less frequently. When your car breaks it is due to a part failure and when those parts break they can physically damage other parts costing you more money to make repairs.
Better fluids and oils are especially important. Over time the oils and fluids in your car break down, and as they break down they don’t do their functions as well as they could. Whether that is the oil keeping the engine parts lubricated or the coolant in your radiator making sure your engine doesn’t overheat, you want them functioning optimally. To make your vehicle last as long as possible use the best parts and fluids that you can.
Don’t Ignore The Warning Lights
One of the worst things you can do in terms of shortening the usable life of your vehicle is to ignore any sort of warning light or check engine notification your car gives you. Check engine lights can indicate both minor and major issues from low coolant to O2 sensors.
Like most things in life, a small problem ignored can become a major headache down the line. For example, you may just be low on engine coolant which is a $30 fix, but if you continue to drive without proper coolant levels, you could face thousands of dollars in repairs when your engine overheats and you blow a head gasket. You can even total your vehicle this way.
The point is, these warning lights are there for a reason and you need to take heed to them.
Regularly Check Fluids And Filters
Your vehicle has a surprising amount of fluids and filters for those fluids and other components to keep it operating properly. Without these your car would break before you were able to drive even a few blocks. The fluids that should be changed on a regular basis include:
- Engine oil- this keeps the engine block components lubricated. Replacement schedule will vary depending on the oil but on average every 3,000 to 5,000 miles
- Engine coolant- this is the substance that removes heat from the engine and prevents overheating. Replacement schedule will vary depending on the oil but on average every 3- 5 years
- Transmission fluid- this fluid keeps the car shifting gears smoothly. Again the timeframe will vary but on average 50,000 miles to 100,000
- Brake fluid- Get this fluid checked out at every oil change as it is essential for properly functioning brakes. Replacement should take place every 2 years.
- Power steering fluid- Essential for the car to turn with ease and without excessive force put on the steering wheel by the driver. Just keep an eye on the levels at every routine maintenance check and top off when necessary.
Just about every vehicle has 4 main filters and they do need replacement over time. The job of a filter is to skim out harmful additives from whatever is being filtered from air to oil to fuel. These additives if left in can cause serious damage to the vehicle if not removed therefor the filter is critical to the health of the vehicle.
The filter can be a hindrance if not replaced when necessary as filters can become clogged and reduce the volume of whatever is passing through them. Fuel for instance can’t pass through a clogged filter and can decrease power or even cause a vehicle to stall out.
Filters That Need Regular Replacement:
- Oil filter- the oil filter should be replaced whenever the oil is to maintain the integrity of the new oil, so every 3,000 to 5,000 miles. An oil filter will remove particles (dirt, oxidized oil, metallic particles, paint chips, etc) from the oil as it is passed into the engine block.
- Cabin filter- the cabin filter is responsible for filtering air before it moves into the cab of your car. This is important so the driver and passengers are not inhaling dust, pollen and other junk that is kicked up as your car drives. If you want to filter out emissions and exhaust consider an activated carbon filter. Replace your cabin air filter at least every 30,000 miles.
- Fuel filter- you can probably guess that this part filters out your fuel. When you fill up your car you can get outside particles floating around your tank or even have internal chipping of the tank lining itself. The filter will remove any of these contaminants before your car tries to burn them, which is great. The filter should be replaced every 20,000 to 40,000 miles.
- Air filter- This air filter is for the air that your car utilizes in the combustion process. Similarly to how you don’t want particles in the fuel for this, you don’t want unwanted airborne particles changing the efficiency in which the fuel burns. From insects to dust the air filter keeps the air clean for burning. The air filter should be replaced every 12,000 to 15,000 miles
Keep Your Tires In Excellent Condition
We all know what an important component tires are to our vehicles. Without tires we couldn’t go anywhere, however without proper tread on tires, stopping can also be an issue. If you want your car to really last then avoiding an accident should be a primary objective for you. Maintaining your tires will directly impact your handling, suspension, acceleration and braking.
Because they are such a vital component, tires should be looked over frequently. At least every 1,000 miles if not more frequently like once per week. If you have sudden temperature drops or heat waves in your area you’ll want to check out the tire pressure on the vehicle as well to ensure proper inflation and avoid uneven wear and tire cupping.
Unfortunately you can’t avoid all tire mishaps. However you can lessen your chances of a tire blowout by staying out of the emergency lane where you can pick up nails, glass and other road debris. Keeping tires well maintained can also help to preserve your suspension.
Pick A Brand That Lasts
A huge factor in how long your car will last is the brand that you decided to purchase, among other maintenance routines, how the car is driven as well as where.
A Honda or Toyota will likely last well over 250,000 miles and won’t cost you an arm and a leg to maintain because the parts are cheap and anyone can work on a Japanese vehicle. If you own a BMW or a Mercedes, you may find that your car will not last you as long. Even Volkswagen vehicles in some cases are lucky to reach over 150,000 miles.
Brands aside, cars today are lasting longer than ever thanks to technology improvements in the industry. This means car parts are being made better, fluids and oils are synthetic and lasting longer and we know what works. Even still if you want to make your investment in a car really work for you, you should buy a car brand that is known to last.
The car brands that last the longest according to valuelinecars.com are:
So there you have it! If you want to make your car last you can do so by Maintaining your car well, putting the best fluids you can in your car, not ignoring the warning lights your vehicle gives you, regularly checking the fluids and filters, keeping your tires in tip top shape with frequent rotations, and by picking a car brand that is known to get a ton of miles.
Need Help Fixing Your Repairs?
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We hope this article has answered all of your questions regarding new car smell, and that you feel more prepared to take control of the scent of your vehicle both now and in the future. Consider protecting your vehicle with an extended warranty plan from Protect My Car. In addition to warranties, Protect My Car also offers insurance and maintenance plans and can negotiate the best prices on repairs with mechanics.