TV commercials will sell the latest gimmick to extend the life of your car, but preventative maintenance is the only miracle you need. Today’s cars can easily last twice as long with the proper maintenance. All moving parts require grease. All systems require fluids. And, all interiors require protection from the sun.
The following 9 Tips will extend the life of your vehicle when done in conjunction with a regularly scheduled maintenance program. Some of the more costly maintenance items aren’t necessary if you are only keeping your car for a couple years or up to 100,000 miles. However, if you plan on keeping your car for a longer period of time, it will be far less costly to do so by following all 9 Tips below.
Change the oil and filter every 3,000 to 6,000 miles based on oil and synthetics. This is the most important element of extending the car’s life. Drops in oil levels and long stretches between changes will greatly shorten the life of the car.
Flush the cooling system and change coolant in accordance with the vehicle’s service intervals. By using a 50/50 mix of coolant and distilled water the system will fight corrosion and prevent any form of buildup. This is important as corrosion works from the inside out.
Change transmission and differential fluids in accordance with service intervals.
Keep the vehicle clean. Washing the outside of the vehicle cleans away winter road salt and other grimy items that can rust and scratch the body. The cleaning should include the underside of the car and wheel wells.
Lubricate all moving parts including door hinges, ball joints and driveline u-joints.
Seal the car’s paint with a quality wax coating every six months.
Protect the interior plastic from the sun by applying a UV protectant to prevent the plastic and vinyl from drying out.
Change the power steering fluids every 2-3 years. This will greatly extend the life of the power steering pump and steering gear.
Replace brake fluid and bleed the system every two years to avoid moisture buildup that causes components to corrode and fail. If not handled regularly expect to replace expensive calipers, wheel cylinders, master cylinders, and ABS valves. Also, inspect steel brake lines for corrosion due to the harsh environment in the area.