10 Tips to Make Your Car Last Longer
Written by DriveAxis.ca July 05, 2023
Cars are the second-largest investment that individuals make during their lifetimes, with houses clocking in at number one. That means you should get into the habit of making sure you’re keeping your car running optimally at all times, both for the sake of maintaining its value, and extending its lifespan over the course of many years.
Should you wish to sell or trade in your car at a later date, you’ll want to make sure it’s safe, sound, and valuable. Thankfully, that’s easier said than done, provided you adhere to a few basic tips related to car maintenance. Stay proactive, and you’ll not only keep your car running longer, but it’ll also look, drive, and sell better!
#10) OIL AND FILTER CHANGES
Oil is indeed the lifeblood of a car, and replacing it on schedule is vital for preventing massive problems that may accrue later down the road. The most important of these is engine health, which you’ll want to prioritize at all times. Don’t forget your filters as well! These include oil filters, air filters, cabin filters, and fuel filters, all of which play a role in maintaining the health of your car. It’s as easy as taking your car into a reputable and reliable mechanic a few times a year, depending on your particular car’s maintenance requirements. Stick to them, and your car will thank you for it!
#9) REGULAR WHEEL ALIGNMENTS
You’ll be forgiven for thinking that your wheels all point at the same angle, 24/7, 365 days a year, but that’s not actually true. Wheel alignments exist for a reason - to keep your wheels balanced at all times. Unbalanced wheels can lead to big problems, such as your car pulling to the left or right, uneven tire wear, irritating noises, and unstable steering. You can test for misaligned wheels by driving straight down an even road and taking your hand off the steering wheel for a moment. If the car begins steering to the left or right on its own, it may be a sign that you’ll need a wheel alignment performed. If you’re still not sure, have your mechanic check for you.
#8) KEEP AN EYE ON BRAKES
Brakes are a vital safety feature that should never be taken for granted. Make sure to keep a close eye on brake pad wear over the course of time, and replace as necessary. Today’s brake pads are quite tough, and capable of going the distance without breaking your wallet. That’s a good thing, but leaving worn brake pads on for too long can lead to major issues, including damage to the calipers, which are far more expensive. Have your mechanic clean out your brakes and check for wear once or twice a year, then replace as necessary.
#7) KEEP YOUR CAR CLEAN
This tip goes for both interior, as well as exterior cleaning. Both are important when it comes to warding off damage that may accumulate over time via dust and the elements. While the exterior of the car should be kept clean so as to avoid rusting, chipping and other damage, the interior should be cleaned to preserve the longevity and beauty of the materials, whether it’s the dashboard, seats or floor mats. Try to clean your car’s interior at least once a month, maybe two, and give the exterior a wash whenever required. This is a particularly good idea when it comes to Canadian winters, which create a lot of ice, salt and other corrosive elements that can build up outside, and underneath the car, leading to further damage. Try to pay extra for a premium car wash package whenever possible, which includes rust-proofing and other protective chemicals. Otherwise, stick to a basic wash when the car just needs a thorough once-over.
#6) REPLACE RIMS AND TIRES WHEN WORN OUT
A set of balding and worn out tires forces your car to work extra-hard, which in turn puts strain on the engine and drivetrain. To avoid this problem, swap your tires when it’s time to do so, and don’t put it off any longer than necessary. Worn out tires are dangerous to drive on, since grip and stopping power are vastly reduced. More than that, however, the lack of traction means the car needs to compensate, which means extra wear and tear. Similarly, if your rims are rusted and/or damaged, replace them immediately. A blown tire or a cracked wheel can be life-threatening while on the road, but it can also lead to thousands of dollars worth of damages which can devalue your car.
#5) GET A REGULAR TUNE UP
All cars come with a factory-recommended tuneup schedule, and whether you decide to take it to the dealership, or your local mechanic, you shouldn’t skip them for any reason. Contrary to popular belief, tuneups aren’t actually that expensive, especially when weighed against the potential costliness of damages that can build up over time. Consistent, regular tune ups are one of the most proactive things you can do to extend the lifespan of your car, while keeping it running the way it was designed to run. This affects everything from ride quality, to comfort, and even gas mileage.
#4) CHECK YOUR CAR BATTERY
Your car’s battery is out of sight, which often means out of mind, as well. Don’t forget about it, or you may find yourself stranded in the middle of nowhere when it is least convenient. Car batteries tend to last only a few years before they’re ready to be put out to pasture, so keep tabs on your calendar to make sure you’re ready to buy a replacement. Remember that car batteries work in tandem with how regularly you drive your car. If you store your vehicle for the winter, it’s advisable to attach a trickle-charger to the battery in order to keep the charging level stable. Otherwise, lack of engine activity and micro-drain from internal electronics will drain the battery completely, causing permanent and irreversible damage.
#3) CHANGE YOUR SPARK PLUGS WHEN NEEDED
The spark plugs of yore are a far cry from the reliable upgrades we’ve received over the years, which means they’re going to last a lot longer. However, nothing lasts forever, and eventually spark plugs will begin to wear out. That can cause your engine to work much harder to start, as well as power drains, misfiring engine cylinders, and rotten fuel economy. While changing spark plugs used to be an easy and straightforward affair that one could do at home, today’s cars often hide them underneath a ton of engine components. If you’d rather not hassle yourself, have your mechanic do the job for you.
#2) PROTECT THE FRONT OF YOUR CAR
Anyone who has flown down the highway during a relaxing trip has experienced the “ping” of a rock flying towards their car, which often means there’s a stone chip waiting when they get out to inspect the damage. Thankfully, there are options to prevent damage to the front and hood of your car, whether it's an invisible protective layer of film that guards against stone chips, or hood deflectors that generate an upward draft, deflecting small stones and insects away from the vehicle. While neither of these are foolproof, they can go a long way towards minimizing damage that would otherwise require a new paint job. When it comes to avoiding windshield damage due to flying stones, a simple solution is to maintain a longer distance between your car and the vehicle in front of you, especially if you’re following a large semi or transport truck.
#1) STORE IT SAFELY
If you only drive your car a few months out of the year, you’ll want to make sure it’s being stored properly. Make sure it’s somewhere safe, with a stable temperature in order to keep all the components healthy and intact. Second, invest in a high quality car cover that will prevent dirt and dust buildup, as well as other elements. Always treat your car like the prize it is, so you can enjoy it when it’s time to get behind the wheel again.
Extending the lifespan of your car means adhering to the above tips with a sense of proactiveness and a routine. Doing so will reap a number of benefits, some of which you may not notice right away. Rest assured, following these tips will save you money in places you did not expect, which is always a great thing for any car owner.
DriveAxis understands the need to keep cars looking their best, which is why we only carry the best in our inventory. We offer a selection of amazing high quality pre-owned vehicles that are safe, reliable, and most importantly, well taken care of. We back this up with a rigorous and thorough inspection process, and one of the most reassuring warranties in the business, so you can enjoy greater peace of mind. Interested in purchasing a new car? We’ll even handle all the financing in-house, and approve you instantly, regardless of your credit! Contact us today for more information.