Unless you have been living completely off the grid, you have noticed that prices are up for everything. This is especially in the automotive market. According to Kelley Blue Book, the average new car price had set a record high in November of $48,681, which was $2,250 higher than the previous year. Similar reporting from Financial Samurai indicates the prices are even higher this year. The American Automobile Association (AAA) says that these high prices are motivating people to hang on to their cars longer. A recent AAA report says, ”since 2000, the average vehicle age has risen from 8.9 years to 12.1 years “.
If you are among the many drivers who would like to keep your car as long as possible, these tips are for you! Here are six important ways to take care of your vehicle and extend its service life:
- Regular Maintenance – Adhering to the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule is crucial. This includes routine oil changes, filter replacements, fluid checks, and other scheduled services. Regular maintenance helps identify and address potential issues before they become major problems.
- Safe Driving Habits – Practicing safe driving habits can significantly contribute to your car’s longevity. Avoid aggressive driving, sudden acceleration or braking, and excessive speeding. These behaviors can put unnecessary stress on the vehicle’s components and increase wear and tear.
- Keep it Clean – Regularly washing and waxing your car helps protect the paint and body from rust, corrosion, and other damage caused by dirt, road salt, and environmental factors. Cleaning the interior, including vacuuming and conditioning the upholstery, prevents dirt buildup and keeps the cabin in good condition.
- Proper Tire Care – Maintaining the correct tire pressure, rotating the tires regularly, and ensuring proper wheel alignment are essential for extending tire life and improving fuel efficiency. Regularly inspect the tires for signs of wear and replace them when necessary.
- Timely Repairs: Addressing any mechanical issues promptly can prevent them from escalating into more significant problems. If you notice unusual sounds, vibrations, or warning lights, have your car inspected by a qualified mechanic. Ignoring minor issues can lead to major breakdowns and expensive repairs.
- Storage and Shelter – When your car is not in use for an extended period, it’s best to store it in a covered and sheltered area. This protects the vehicle from harsh weather conditions, UV rays, and potential damage from falling debris or tree sap. If possible, avoid parking in direct sunlight for extended periods as it can cause damage to the interior and exterior surfaces.
Remember, proper care and maintenance are crucial for maximizing the service life of your car. Regular servicing, safe driving habits, and preventive measures can help you avoid unnecessary repairs and ensure your vehicle remains reliable for years to come.