There’s nothing more frustrating than a car that suddenly won’t start when you’re already late for work. Every car owner has probably dealt with this at least once in his or her life; but it’s something that’s easily avoidable if you take proper care of your car. Even if you drive a beater of a vehicle with only one working window and a steering wheel that looks as though it’s been chewed by a gerbil, it’s possible to keep your car’s engine running perfectly for years.
But how do you make your car run forever, even when the cosmetics start to look their age? It might be a simpler process than you’d expect!
Here are a few tips for making sure your vehicle stays in tip top condition until you’re good and ready to buy a newer model!
1. Change Your Oil Regularly
This may seem like an obvious tip, and it is, but it’s an important one nonetheless. A regular oil change is an easy and cheap way to ensure that your engine stays well-lubricated and young even when your car is getting up there in years. Regularly changing your oil is essential to your car’s upkeep. If you do allow your car to go many months and thousands of miles without an oil change, it can really affect the performance of your engine.
2. Check Your Tire Pressure
Again, this may seem like a small thing, but keeping your tires nicely pumped up will not only make your tires last longer, it will also ensure that you get better miles-to-the-gallon as you’re driving. Keeping your tires at optimal air pressure will also make you less susceptible for flats or torn tires.
3. Be Aware of all Those Bumps, Rattles and Rat-Tat-Tats
Don’t be afraid to be one of “those people” who call up their local mechanic at the smallest strange sound rattling around in their engine. Sure, chances are it’s nothing – but if you’re wary and attuned to your cars little moans and groans, you have a better chance of catching problems before they become serious, and expensive.
4. Read the Manual
Your car’s manual will have a detailed explanation of when and how to keep your car maintained. It’s tempting to let a couple months slide when it comes to your oil change or tire rotation; but in order to keep your car running for years, you will definitely want to follow the manual. Each car’s manual is slightly different than the next – so read through each one whenever you get a new car.
5. Maintain an Emergency Fund
Of course, even if you keep your car well maintained, accidents still happen. Sometimes it’s that guy in the grocery store parking lot who dings up the paint on your driver’s side door; or sometimes it’s a legitimate fender-bender that leaves you with thousands of dollars in repairs and medical bills. Either way, it’s important that you keep a decent-sized nest egg in your savings for just such emergencies. It’s never a comfortable feeling to know that your car isn’t safe to drive because you just don’t have the money to fix it. No one should be in that situation if you can help it at all.
Of course, these tips are helpful for any car, make or model; but it’s helpful if you already have a decent vehicle. For example, a junker that’s not made well is basically always going to be a junker. You can keep it running for a while with regular maintenance; but it probably won’t last forever. Try to invest in a decent new or gently used vehicle if you truly want a car that will last you for years. Japanese cars are typically very well made, and several American brands are also gaining accolades as well-made and long-lasting vehicles.
It’s also important to make any necessary repairs as quickly as possible. Keeping a repair fund is useless if you procrastinate for months on replacing those brakes or your transmission. Be on top of your car – that’s the best possible way to keep your vehicle in tip-top condition. Regular maintenance and routine checks to scan for any damages or needed repairs; and everything else is just advice.
Cars just need a little love, like pretty much everything else in your life. You provide them with plenty of TLC, and you’ll have years of loyal love and devotion from your vehicle.