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How to Keep Your Car Running Better for Longer

Educational  ·  May 13, 2019

How to Keep Your Car Running Better for Longer

How to Keep Your New Car Functioning Optimally

There’s just something special about getting a new car, regardless of whether it is really brand new or simply passed down. However, the excitement of having a new automobile can quickly evaporate once the car begins to develop issues. This is why a building a maintenance culture for your automobile is of great importance. 

Keeping your car working in optimal conditions is necessary if you want to maximise its use over its lifespan. Here are several ways to do it. Applying these tips can also help you minimise the cost of repairs.

Familiarise Yourself with the Owner’s Manual

If you are a DIY person, chances are you don’t like to go through manuals for anything, especially your car. After all, what could possibly go wrong with driving and maintaining a car? 

Short answer - a lot!

Many aspects of car maintenance are make- and model-specific, so there is a ton of specific information you can miss out on if you don’t read the manual. Little things like the kind of fuel and oil to use can be found within the pages of that manual. The more familiar you are with it, the better you can maintain your car.

Change the Oil Regularly

Leaving the oil in your car for too long is one sure way to ruin your engine quickly. Cars rely on oil to run smoothly and efficiently, and the lack of oil or lack of quality oil will eventually cause problems that will cost way more.

Although there is no specific time interval for all cars, your car manual should provide a reasonable estimate of what is needed by your vehicle. A general rule of thumb is to change your oil after every 10,000 kilometres or after every 6 months as opposed to the claim of 20,000 kilometres made by most oil manufacturers.

You should know, however, that if your car has to go through harsher conditions or start and stop traffic frequently, you will likely need to change the oil more often. 

Test Your Car Battery

Imagine being stuck by the roadside in the middle of nowhere, hoping that some very generous trucker will pick you up and haul you into town. More often than not, the guilty party for this predicament is a dead battery. A car's battery can stop working for several reasons, it may be bad, low or just have exhausted its lifespan.

Having a bad car battery is a totally avoidable problem if you test it often. Fortunately for everyone, auto shops offer battery testing at quite reasonable prices. You can easily detect faults before it is too late. 

Also keep in mind that batteries should be changed every 4-5 years so, if yours has been around that long, you better start planning on replacing it. 

Keep Your Car Tyres Well Inflated

Paying attention to the details of how well your tyres should be inflated may be the difference between you driving 110 km/h on a freeway safely and having a blowout in the middle of some high-speed fun. Like most things in life, too much pressure in your tyres is bad for you, as is too little pressure. If your tyres don’t have enough pressure, they will wear out quickly. If they have too much, you have an increased risk of suffering a blowout. 

Knowing how much pressure you should have in your tyres is another reason you should read the owner's manual. Since cars differ in size and weight among other things, the average tyre pressure can only be ascertained by reading up the manufacturer's instructions.

Make sure to keep track of changes in your tyre pressure by checking regularly. You can get a tyre pressure gauge to help you accurately monitor its condition.

Alternate Your Tyres Periodically 

Tyres suffer wear and tear with every journey, and that's not necessarily a problem. However, they can suffer wear and tear in different proportions especially if you take similar routes and one of the tyres has to suffer more than the other. This can easily lead to a reduction in the lifespan of all the tyres.

An excellent way to solve this minor but niggling issue is to alternate the tyres periodically. You can move the front pair and put them at the back or switch the ones at the left with those at the right. What you will be ensuring is that the wear and tear spread evenly. Eventually, though, you will have to change all the tyres. 

Be Constantly Aware of Brake Issues

Your car’s braking system wasn’t made to last forever. Due to use, parts of the braking system like your pads can suffer wear and tear. With wear and tear will come a sure drop in efficiency. That drop in efficiency is something you really want to avoid since your brake is the only thing stopping you from crashing into your neighbour’s mailbox.

If you notice a screeching sound or any other kind of noise anytime you step on the brake, it is time for a check-up. In most cases, you may just be required to change the brake oil. However, if it is anything more severe like worn out pads, you will have to change them.

You can decide to change the brake pads in your automobile yourself if you have access to the proper tools and instructions. However, if you’re in doubt as to your proficiency at doing an auto-mechanic’s job, do call one for professional service. You may refer to our directory for the nearest service provider.  

Constantly Top-up Your Engine Coolant

A car's engine can reach very high temperatures when it is actively working. This increase in temperature can easily cause a lot of damage in the car, hence the need for engine coolant. Making sure you have enough coolant in the vehicle is vital to the longevity of the engine and the vehicle itself.

For most cars, there is a temperature gauge on the dashboard that can give you an idea if your engine is heating up way too much. 

If you notice your vehicle is heating up too often, you should check for a leak. In fact, checking for a leak in your car is something you should do regularly. It can save you a potentially embarrassing and frustrating trip. 

You should also check your coolant reservoir to make sure that there is some left before going out. Although it is probably for the best to leave that for when your car has not been active for a while. In a working car with a hot engine, the coolant can become very hot. 

Change How You Drive 

Truth is how you drive goes a long way in determining how long your car will last. The rougher your driving, the shorter time the car will last. Try as much as possible to minimise driving in rough terrains. In addition to rough terrains, speed bumps also warrant special attention. You should approach them slowly to reduce the wear and tear on your car tyres and other parts. 

Another thing to consider is excessive speeding. Driving at high speeds means you are using a lot of your car’s moving parts maximally. And if there is one thing that guarantees, it is the wear and tear. To maximize your car’s functionality for a longer time, it is best to be modest with your speeding. 

In Case of a Major Repair, Call a Professional Mechanic

It is the age of the DIY-ers, and everyone loves to be the Fix-it-yourself person. The only problem is that in trying to fix, you may actually end up breaking parts to smithereens. While we cannot recommend that you take all your car problems to a mechanic (you can fix some yourself), automobiles can be somewhat tricky.

Ideally, you should stick to fixing only minor issues – car spark plug, battery, wipers, air filters, and the like. Other more complex systems like your fuel system or air conditioning are best left to professionals. 

Even when going for auto-mechanics, there are certain things to look out for. Using a good mechanic guarantees you a good job done. One of the best pieces of advice to take when looking for a mechanic to handle your car’s issues is to find a dealership and check out their auto-shop directory. 

Keeping your car looking and performing great is a daily routine that you must never skip. Not only will your car be in great shape and a pride to drive, but it will also improve your car's resale value. This means that these small everyday tips will not only save you money, but they can also make you money.

Always check and replace the oils and fluids required for your cars proper functioning. Fix any small issue once it arises to prevent it from escalating. Read your owner’s manual. Make timely repairs and replacement of car parts. If you can do all these, you will help your car stay in better form and function for longer. 

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