You’ve had your car for a decade now, and she has always served you well. But by automotive standards, she’s considered old. You should probably trade her in for a new car, but it’s too big of an expense right now. So how are you going to squeeze a few more miles out of the ‘ol gal? Here are some preventative measures you can take to keep your car running a little longer:
1. Drive Your Old Car Regularly, But Sensibly
Your first instinct may be to leave your car in the garage—if you don’t drive it, it can’t break down, right? The truth is, you should drive your car regularly, to keep the fluids warm and the parts running properly. Leaving your car parked for months at a time can cause the hoses and gaskets to leak, run dry, or crack.
Be sensible with where and how long you drive, though. Long road trips and rides on rocky terrain can put more wear and tear on your car than necessary. If you gun the accelerator, tow other vehicles, or stow heavy objects in the back of your car, it can also put a lot of strain on your vehicle.
2. Change Oil in Your Car Regularly
It’s easy to forget a routine oil change, but the results could be way more costly than the oil change itself. Without fresh oil, the parts of your engine can overheat, which can cause the engine itself to fail. You should change your oil every 1,000 to 3,000 miles, depending on manufacturer recommendations, the age of the vehicle, and on how often you drive it. Use your car manual as a starting point, but then check with your mechanic. Your older vehicle will also burn oil more quickly so it’s critical to check it frequently; every time you fill up is a good rule of thumb. And make sure to use quality oil. If your car requires synthetic oil, that’s what you need to use.
3. Keep Your Coolant Flowing
Coolant keeps your car from overheating—in the summer and winter. Unlike oil, though, you don’t need to change it every couple of months. You may actually go years without flushing and changing your coolant. But when was the last time you did it? With that older vehicle, it’s time to check. As your antifreeze ages, so does its chemical makeup. And when they happens, it can damage engine parts, like gaskets and seals. Check your owner’s manual to see how often the manufacturer recommends a coolant change.
4. Get Regular Car Inspections
Your car could have a frayed wire or a leaky hose right now and you wouldn’t know it. That’s why it’s important to get regular inspections and tune-ups for your car. Some states require safety inspections, but most don’t. If you live in a state where it isn’t required, you should still get your car checked out at least once a year. And while the potential cost of repairs may make you hesitate to visit a mechanic, fixing small problems can save you big money.
5. Invest in Quality Tires for Your Old Car
If you blow out a tire, don’t even think of replacing it with a cheap one. Good tires are worth the investment. Cheap tires will wear quickly and, most likely, unevenly. They can even throw your car’s suspension out of alignment. And if your car is all-wheel drive, it’s likely that a single ruptured tire means you need to change all four.
6. Take Your Old Car to a Trusted Mechanic
The last thing you would want is for your car to have a problem thanks to human error. Before you get your car inspected or worked on, find a mechanic who is reputable and trustworthy. An independent mechanic often charges less than a dealership, but don’t settle for lesser quality. You and your old car deserve the best!
Are you pretty good with cars? Maybe it’s time to turn your passion for cars into a career. Become that trusted mechanic. The Automotive Technician Education and Training Program at Porter and Chester Institute in Connecticut and Massachusetts will provide you with the skills you need to diagnose, repair, and maintain most vehicle makes and models. And you could complete the program in as little as 12 months. Fill out the form to request more information now.