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Six Easy Ways to Extend Your Car’s Life

Along with your home, your car is probably one of the biggest investments you’ve ever made. For your car to run smoothly for as long as possible, you should take the best care of it you possibly can.

Fortunately, this doesn’t always mean a huge time or monetary commitment. Read on to learn more about how easy maintenance checks and good driving habits can keep your car running longer.

1. Change Your Oil

Having enough oil and changing the oil at regular intervals will keep your engine happy and functional. Something as simple as changing your oil every few months can save you thousands of dollars on a costly, preventable engine replacement.

Having enough oil and changing the oil at regular intervals will keep your engine happy and functional. Something as simple as changing your oil every few months can save you thousands of dollars on a costly, preventable engine replacement.

Your car’s oil keeps your engine lubricated so it can run smoothly and efficiently. If you don’t have enough oil in your car, your engine’s metal pieces rub directly against each other. This causes so much heat and friction that the engine’s moving pieces can eventually fuse together.

Most people have enough oil in their car to keep this from happening. However, if you don’t change your oil frequently, it gets progressively dirtier. This thick, dirty oil causes damage as it circulates throughout the engine. Over time, additives in the original oil that helped it lubricate the engine and prevent corrosion run out, which means your oil won’t work as well as it should.

If you’re comfortable with cars, you might have no problem changing the oil yourself. Otherwise, a mechanic can easily and quickly change the oil for you. Most mechanics and owner’s manuals recommend changing your car’s oil every four or five thousand kilometers (a round 3,000 miles). However, you should check your owner’s manual for recommended oil changes specific to your car.

2. Check Your Fluids

Along with checking your oil levels, you should also check your antifreeze/coolant, brake fluid, power steering fluid, and transmission fluid regularly. This will help you catch leaks early and keep your fluid levels at the optimum level.

Why and how often do you need to check each of these crucial fluids?

  • Antifreeze/coolant keeps your car from overheating. Check your antifreeze levels at least twice a year (before the summer and before the winter), but you can always check on it whenever you pop the hood. Replace your antifreeze every two to three years.
  • Brake fluid helps your brakes work correctly. If your brakes aren’t working properly, you should check the brake fluid immediately. You should check your brake fluid whenever you check your oil. Replace it every two years or if it ever looks brown instead of gold.
  • Power steering fluid lets you steer the car smoothly. If your steering wheel ever creaks or makes strange noises, check the power steering fluid. The levels should stay about the same throughout your car’s life; if they ever drop, you might have a leak and should see a mechanic immediately. Check your fluid every month and consult your owner’s manual to find out if or when you should replace it.
  • Transmission fluid enables your car’s gears to shift smoothly. Your transmission fluid should never be low. If it is, or smells burnt, see a mechanic immediately. You should check your fluid monthly and replace it between every 80,000 to 16,000 kilo meters (50,000 to 100,000 miles).

3. Break Your Car in Gently

Driving a new car is exciting, but you should take it easy on the engine at first. For the first 1,600 kilometers (1,000 miles), try not t o go faster than 120 kph (75 mph). You should also stay in the lower RPM range most of the time, though you can up the RPM from time to time so your engine can experience its full range of motion. Driving slower will help your engine’s piston rings position themselves correctly.

Breaking your car in slowly might seem like an annoyance, but it can greatly extend your engine’s life. Consult your owner’s manual for specific instructions on how to break in your car’s engine.

4. Don’t Speed

While speeding might seem to get you to your destination faster, it forces your engine to work harder, which wears it out faster. Try to keep your speed to a lawful limit without impeding the flow of traffic-your engine and wallet will thank you in the long run.

5. Pay Attention to Your Car

This might seem obvious, but many of us don’t fully understand our car’s ins and outs. Take a little bit of extra time to get to know your car: read the owner’s manual, listen for strange noises or vibrations when you’re driving, and keep track how many kilometers you get per liter.

When you know how your car typically runs, you’ll be more attuned to small changes that can spell big trouble in the future. This also helps you help your mechanic by describing exactly what the problem is and when it occurs, which can help them make quicker, more accurate repairs.

6. Schedule Preventative Maintenance

Don’t wait for your car to die during a road trip before scheduling maintenance. Preventative car maintenance can save you money in the long run by catching problems before they occur and keeping all of your car’s parts running smoothly and efficiently.

When you follow these easy steps, your car is much more likely to last. Put these six easy steps into practice today, and your car will do the rest.

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