As the economy continues to sputter, many Americans are keeping their cars longer and driving them further into debt. The average car loan is now nearly $30,000, and the average length of a car loan is 68 months.
If you’re one of the millions of Americans struggling to keep up with your car payments, you’re probably looking for ways to make your car last longer. Here are ten tips from the experts to help you extend the lifespan of your car.
- Get regular tune-ups. Just like your body, your car needs regular check-ups to stay in peak condition. A well-tuned engine will run more efficiently and use less fuel. It will also emit fewer pollutants into the environment.
- Change your oil regularly. Engine oil is the lifeblood of your car’s engine. It lubricates moving parts, cleans debris, and helps keep the engine cool. Most mechanics recommend changing your oil every 5,000 miles or so.
- Check your tires regularly. Properly inflated tires not only improve gas mileage, they also reduce wear and tear on your car’s suspension and steering components. Check your tire pressure at least once a month, and don’t forget to rotate your tires every 5,000 miles or so.
- Keep your car clean. A dirty car is more likely to rust and corrode. Regular washing and waxing will help protect your car’s finish from the elements.
- Keep up with repairs. Don’t let small problems turn into big ones. Keep up with routine maintenance and repairs, and don’t hesitate to take your car to the shop if something doesn’t seem right.
- Drive sensibly. Aggressive driving habits can shorten the lifespan of your car. Sudden starts and stops put unnecessary stress on your engine, transmission, and brakes. And speeding reduces fuel efficiency and increases wear and tear on all of your car’s systems.
- Don’t neglect routine maintenance. Scheduled maintenance is key to keeping your car running properly. Follow the maintenance schedule in your owner’s manual to ensure that your car gets the care it needs when it needs it.
- Watch for warning signs. Pay attention to your car’s warning lights, and don’t ignore strange noises or other unusual symptoms. These could be signs of a serious problem that needs to be addressed immediately.
- Invest in quality parts. When it comes time for repairs, use quality replacement parts. Cheap, aftermarket parts may save you money upfront, but they could end up costing you more in the long run.
- Drive less. The best way to extend the lifespan of your car is to simply drive less. If you can carpool, ride a bike, or take public transportation whenever possible, you’ll save wear and tear on your car and save money on gas as well.
By following these ten simple tips, you can help extend the lifespan of your car and avoid the need for expensive repairs down the road. Keep your car running smoothly for years to come, and save yourself money and headaches in the process.