Most cars get scrapped once they are 14 years old, but the truth is that most road-worthy vehicles last no more than eight years. Looking to keep your vehicle road-worthy for longer? You could purchase some accessories such as rubber carmats and steering wheel protectors. Read on for more tips that will help you make your car last as long as possible!
1. Ensure the battery is well-maintained
If you haven’t driven for a while, your car’s battery will inevitably degrade over time and go flat. If you aren’t a frequent driver, consider purchasing a trickle charger. This keeps the battery charged even if the car is not being used. You can also consider investing in a battery conditioner if the battery seems to be unable to charge fully.
Having to jump-start your car as a result of a flat battery puts extra strain on it, risking damage to your engine and other intricate electronics within the car.
Of course, the easiest way to avoid all these is simply to use your car on a weekly basis especially in cold winters.
2. Ensure that the filters are regularly replaced
Both the oil and air filter of your car will get clogged over time, and you should take care to ensure that they are regularly replaced. Though replacement of the filters is usually part of regular car servicing, both are easy enough to do on your own and save some money while you’re at it.
Washing the filter can also prolong its life. If you are unsure if your particular filter is washable or not, it is wise to consult your owners’ manual. When replacing them, also take care to use authentic parts as cheaper fakes may cause irreparable damage to your engine.
3. Drive smoothly
It is ideal to drive with “mechanical sympathy”, which also means driving smoother without abrupt braking or stopping. By doing so, you reduce the wear and tear to your car’s parts, which can also make your car more fuel-efficient. As far as possible, always brake smoothly and tread gently when using the accelerator or brakes.
4. Turn the air-conditioning on
As with most technological devices, the air-conditioning is likely to break down if it is unused for long periods of time. In this case, the refrigerant gas will leak out, leaving you with large bills to pay to re-gas your system. To ensure this doesn’t happen, regularly switch on your air-conditioning, and also let the heat blow in the winter. Though it might cost you some fuel, the savings in re-gassing fees is worth it.
1. Replace your leads and plugs
With technological advancements meaning that many cars nowadays contain complicated software and computers onboard, it has led to drivers being hesitant to service their cars. However, it is quite simple to replace your spark plugs and high-tension leads, and you should do so to ensure optimal engine performance. Before doing so, be sure to refer to the owners’ manual that came with your car, to ensure that you know what you’re doing.
When checking your spark plug, ensure that it has a light brown electrode and insulator, no visible signs of wear and tear or unusual deposits on it, and isn’t in a gooey melted condition. If your spark plug is not in optimal condition, then it should immediately be replaced. In this case, it is also a good idea to bring your car into the shop for a more thorough engine check, as spark plugs in poor condition could be a hint of some more serious engine issues.
2. Top up your car’s fluids regularly
Just like humans, fluids are essential to the well-being of your car. If they aren’t replaced in a timely manner, the consequences can be dire.
Ideally, you should take a look at your engine oil on a bi-weekly basis. This can be done by prying open the hood while your car is on even ground and removing the dipstick. Using a rag, wipe the dipstick before dipping it in. If the oil level is between the minimum and the maximum marking points, then all is well. If not, top up your engine oil.
It is normal for the oil to be a light yellow or bronze colour if your car uses a petrol engine. However, if the oil is dark and dirty, then it should immediately be replaced. If you have a diesel car, then the colour of the oil isn’t a cause for concern.
On a bi-weekly basis, you should also check the amount of coolant left and the bottle of windscreen washer. The former can be topped up using a 1:1 ratio of water and antifreeze, while the latter can be topped up with screenwash bought from an automotive shop. While it can be tempting to simply use dishwashing liquid for the latter, it is not recommended since the salt and additives found within can cause damage to your paintwork that is irreparable.
3. Rotate your tires regularly
It isn’t an understatement to say that tires are the main safety feature of your car. Checking them every week could be the difference between life and death in an unfortunate accident.
Under or over-inflated tires will not handle well, and also decrease the fuel efficiency of your car. By keeping them to the recommended pressure, you not only save money but also ensure that your car is safe to drive.
Tyre pressures may differ for the front and back tires, so you may want to consider rotating your tires to even out the wear and tear on them, which could prolong their lifespan.
4. Religiously follow the servicing schedule
If you want to keep your car in an optimal condition and extend its road-worthiness, then it is vital to send your car for regular servicing.
Common servicing intervals are either based on the time in between each service, or the miles driven. More often than not, cars are sent for servicing either annually or once they have been driven for 10,000 miles. To figure out the specific servicing schedule for your car, you should refer to the owners’ manual that accompanied your car.
If you follow the steps listed religiously, then it should be no problem for your car to remain road-worthy for longer than the average vehicle would. Of course, you should also take care to consult either your local automotive shop or trusted dealer if you run into a problem with your car that you cannot solve on your own during your maintenance routine.