So, you have a new car—or, more likely, one that’s seen a few thousand miles before you bought it. Even though your car may not be fresh from the factory anymore, you still want to use it for as long as you can. Here’s how to make your car last forever in four doable steps.
Keep Track of Routine Maintenance
The brunt of the work geared towards keeping your car on the road will involve maintenance. Familiarize yourself with general tips such as replacing your oil every 6,000 to 7,000 miles, checking and refilling your car’s fluids, and so much more. One point of emphasis is tire maintenance, because mishandling this can lead to long-term damage to your car and risk an accident that shortens the car’s life and endangers you.
Get in the habit of repairing your car’s ailing parts as soon as possible. Not addressing something like an engine timing belt repair can lead to cascading problems with your engine that run up your bill even more. It’s better to invest in a repair upfront than deal with bigger future failures. To set yourself up to realistically do this in a pinch, establish a small car savings fund with about $500 or so and build up from there when you can. This makes it easier to say yes to important repairs that lengthen your car’s life.
Clean Your Car
Going through a car wash is more than a cosmetic exercise. Getting rid of grime keeps certain substances (such as bird droppings) from setting in and helps you avoid rust and corrosion. This is particularly worth heeding in the winter, because salt accelerates the rust development process. If your car is washed often enough, you can prevent water leaks and exhaust complications caused by rust. Periodic washing every two to three weeks does the trick.
Practice Safe Driving
Apart from routine maintenance, driving safely is perhaps the best way to make your car last forever. To ensure you never hear the words “totaled,” obey road rules like fully stopping at stop signs, signaling before you change lanes, and staying within the speed limit. Courteous driving, while a nice gesture, also protects you from a collision. And to be absolutely safe, occasionally rehearse defensive driving options you have during various situations. Don’t drive in a spot that leaves you with nowhere to go if someone else veers off course.