June 17, 2014

Simple Tips for Extending the Life of Your Used Car

Simple Tips for Extending the Life of Your Car

“They don’t build them like they used to.” You’ve probably heard this said about new cars today – and it’s a good thing that they don’t. Late-model cars can last far beyond the hundred thousand miles that used to be a death sentence for a vehicle. Many cars can, and regularly do, go twice or even three times that amount. But if you want to maximize your car’s life and get as much use from it as possible, there are a few things you should do.

1. Perform Regular Checkups

One of the best ways to extend the life of your car is simply to keep track of what it needs. Cars are a complex collection of moving parts and electronics, and all of those parts undergo gradual wear and tear. Fluids like oil, transmission fluid, coolant, and steering fluid are vital to keep your car functioning the way it should. On almost every car, checking these fluids is a very simple process that doesn’t take more than a few minutes and requires no tools beyond a clean rag. Your owner’s manual will detail the process, which varies a little bit for each car. In general, though, simply making sure all your fluid levels are topped up will keep your car running smoothly for thousands of miles.

2. Remember Your Maintenance Schedule

Just like the point above, maintenance is a huge part of keeping your car running smoothly. Many car manufacturers recommend taking your car in for a regular service every 15,000 to 30,000 miles. For the most part, most drivers can delay their services to the longer interval, but if you drive your car in severe conditions (like off-road or on rough roads, in wet or dirty conditions, or in extremely high or low temperatures) you might need more frequent service.

Regular maintenance will check everything from the condition of your tires and brakes to the wear on the internal parts of your engine and transmission. This is the best way to catch small problems before they become big ones, and in many cases repair bills will fall under the warranty.

3. Don’t Cause Unnecessary Problems

Without knowing it, many people engage in bad driving habits that put unnecessary strain on their cars. For instance, one of the biggest causes of engine wear is turning your car on and off frequently, or running it for very short amounts of time. If you take a lot of trips that are less than a mile or two, you’re straining your engine far more than if you drove ten or a hundred miles.

Fortunately, there are easy ways to prevent these sort of problems. If you’re running errands and have to make a lot of stops, drive to the farthest location first so that your engine has time to warm up. Then work your way back home. Also, if you’re only running inside for a moment (to drop off the dry-cleaning, for instance), you can keep your engine running rather than turning it off and on again.

Other bad habits to break yourself of include heavy acceleration or braking and making sharp turns at speed. All of these actions wear your car out faster than if you drive more conservatively. Basically, don’t drive like a NASCAR driver unless you want to replace parts at the same rate that racecars do.

4. Keep it Clean Inside and Out

Though it might not seem like a big deal, washing your car can actually help extend its life and keep it free of mechanical problems. This is because a lot of dirt and grime that you pick up from regular driving can work its way into the body and mechanical systems of your car. This gradual buildup can accelerate body rust and wear out moving pieces like bearings and joints. By getting your car washed regularly, you remove this buildup and keep your car free from rust and grime. And by cleaning the interior, you remove sources of odor and prevent dirt and grime from becoming stains or mold. After all, you will probably spend hundreds of hours in your car over its lifespan – you might as well be comfortable.

5. Take Care of Problems, No Matter How Small

If there is something wrong with your car, whether its a scratch in the paint, low tire pressure, a warning light, or a mysterious noise from under the hood, get it fixed as soon as you can. When you ignore a small problem, you allow it to build and potentially cause bigger problems down the line. A chip in the paint can easily lead to rust, and tires without enough air will wear out faster. A strange light or noise might seem like nothing, but they’re symptoms of a problem that probably won’t go away. Most garages will perform a free or flat-rate checkup on your car, so if you think there’s a problem you should at least find out what it is. Doing so will make sure you can keep it on the road for many years.

Sometimes, no matter how careful you are, a car simply wears out. If you’re looking for a new vehicle to replace that tired old beater, you should check out the high-quality used cars at The KEY in Oklahoma City! We have a huge inventory of late-model used cars, and we can get you financed even if you have bad or no credit. Call us today (877-921-6265), or get pre-approved online to see what cars you qualify for right away. You can also follow us on Facebook or Google+ for news and special offers!


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