Be honest with yourself for just a minute. How much care and attention do you give your car? Do you go the extra mile, or just stick to the basics? Do you keep to your optimum speed or do you thrash your motor all over the place at any given opportunity? Most people fall somewhere in between those statements, but many will find that their car needs replacing after a shorter period than is needed. With a little bit of TLC and a few intelligent decisions, however, you can extend the life of your vehicle to way beyond your expectations.
Of course, every car has the potential to develop a fault, and as time goes by that fault will get worse. This guide can’t help you prevent those problems – although if you follow the advice to the letter, you may be able to spot the issue before it becomes dangerous. However, it should give you the perfect platform to drive your car for many years into the future, and get the best possible resale value when it comes to selling it. Let’s get stuck in straight away, starting with the basics.
The first thing to realise is that some car manufacturers are more reliable than others. Auto engineering is a delicate art, despite the fact that it can result in monstrous power and speed. So, the car that you choose from the outset will have a lot of bearing on how long it lasts and its reliability.
Finding a reliable manufacturer is a lot easier to do for the average Joe on the street these days, thanks in no small part to the Internet. You can build up an excellent picture of the safety and reliability of all car manufacturers over at the Euro NCAP website. It should be your first port of call in choosing the most reliable vehicle you can get – and there are some surprises in there that are worth considering.
As everybody knows, it’s a legal requirement that any car on the road has to have an MOT once every year. However, an MOT will only cover the legal aspects of your car’s safety features, and won’t reveal any other underlying problems. Given that a lot of people regard the MOT as a 100% health check up, it’s no surprise that many vehicles expire before their time. Make sure that as well as an MOT, your car is getting a more thorough check-up at least once a year.
Car servicing is so important when it comes to caring for your vehicle, and in all honesty, a year between check-ups isn’t going to reveal all of the problems that it could develop. Every six months will help you identify potential issues at a far earlier stage.
Now let’s take a look at some of the things that you can do to keep your car running for as long as possible. Keeping the inside of your car clean may not be the first thing that you think of when it comes to extending its life, but it is important. Why? Well, if your vehicle is used as an extension of your rubbish bin, then it doesn’t say much for your respect towards it. Rubbish can also cause some problems.
First of all, any debris that is rolling around in the footwells can get stuck beneath your brakes or accelerator, and cause a severe accident. Also, there is a good chance of liquid from old drinks bottles leaking through the carpet, and starting to increase the chance of rust appearing on the floor. A little may not do much damage, but over the years it can build up, and once that rust starts to eat away at the metal, you could end up with holes and leaks. So clean up after yourself after every trip!
Check your oil
You should check your oil every couple of weeks and before and after any long journeys. Most modern cars will need a top up every now and again, but there’s no need to pay attention to the myth you need to change your oil completely every 3,000 miles. That used to be the case in days gone by, but improvements in synthetic oil production mean that a figure somewhere between 7,500 to 20,000 miles is all that is needed. If you are changing every 3,000 miles, well, you aren’t doing you vehicle any harm – but you are burning through a lot of needless spending. Check your car’s manual to find out how long your vehicle can go before needing an oil change.
Brake fluids, water and coolant
While many people check their oil regularly, far less check their brake fluid, coolant, and water. All three are essential for a safe drive, so try and get in the habit of doing so more often. Let’s take coolant as an example. A lot of people spend the first few months of the life of their car checking everything religiously, but as the coolant doesn’t go down that much, they tend to forget about it. Unfortunately, all it takes is a sharp stone to hit the coolant tank, and a leak could develop.
If you don’t check it often, you just aren’t going to see the problems, and the result could be severe damage to your engine. Your water levels are vital for the performance of your windscreen wipers, too. Although they are used for traveling in rain, you need that water there to clean your windshield when it gets dirty. All it takes is for a large cloud of dust to hit you on the motorway, and you could be blind. Without that water to clear your view, it is almost inevitable that you will have an accident.
Finally, make sure you are checking your tyres. So many people don’t bother, and run their tyres at far too low a pressure. It can lead to serious issues, as when a vehicle’s tyres aren’t running optimally, it will force the engine to work harder. And, it’s that hard work and overloading that can leave it susceptible to overheating and breakdown.
If you want to take care of your car, then keeping the tyre inflated at the right pressure is one of the most important things you can do.
We hope this has helped you see your car in a new light. Happy driving!