June 7th 2011

Extend the life of your car in 6 easy ways

Unless you like to lease a new car every year or so, chances are you want to keep what you have… and make it last.

But it takes a little more than driving through a car wash here and there to extend it’s longevity past its prime.

Here are our top six ways to make your car last as long as you want it to, then sell it for a good price, too.

Read the Owner’s Manual

Sounds obvious, right? Well, chances are you haven’t cracked it (unless, of course, you found it on Google). The majority of us put aside the manuals and instructions and assume we know what is what.

The owner’s manual is written by engineers… Those that specifically created and designed your vehicle. It holds the “secrets” to the maintenance schedule and the “what to do when” details… both of which will keep your car healthy for years on end.

Fill ‘er Up

Although the numbers at the gas station influence us otherwise, keeping our gas tanks full helps out our cars, too. If you keep a low level of gas in your tank, moisture, dirt and rust can enter the fuel system.

To avoid this, try to keep it above a quarter full.

Flush the Coolant

What do you think is one of the most common problems with cars? Yep, that pesky engine icon, lighting up on your dashboard to alert you something is up.

When you see those cars on the side of the highway, you can assume one this: the engine light. And if you do have an overheated engine, it can destroy gaskets and ruin engine components… both of which sometimes can’t be repaired.

By flushing out your cooling system and replacing the coolant every couple years, you can get rid of that possible heat that will make your engine bid its goodbyes.

Fresh coolant releases heat, replenishes lubricants and improves rust inhibitors in the system.

Get That Oil Changed

Simple enough, an oil change is recommended at specific intervals–generally about 5000 kilometers. In that bible of a manual, it might recommend something specific for your car, so take a look. Synthetic oil allows for further longevity, improved starting in cold-weather and slightly better fuel economy.

Clean It

Don’t just drive it through a car wash… give it regular washings (by hand), and waxing, too. Debris such as bird droppings are acidic, and can damage your car’s exterior. As well, the sun’s rays break down paint, causing it to fade and even peel.

And don’t ignore the interior. If something spills, clean it quickly–you wouldn’t let it set in your carpet, would you? And every year or so, opt for a good cleaning with shampooing, steam cleaning, and removing dents and scratches.

Test Those Tires

Invest in a tire pressure gauge. It is estimated that about a third of all of the tires on the road are under inflated. What does mean? These tires have a shorter life span and a tendency to become flat.

Tire pressure gauges have about a ten dollar price tag, and will go a long away. Check your tires monthly, have them rotated every 15,000km, and keep your eyes open for leaks and rust.

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Andrew loves art and design, and pursues his studies in his final year at the Ontario College of Art and Design. He loves seeking out new artists and giving them their dues, and in his spare time, focuses on his own abstract sculpture.