You sink a lot of money into your car, so it’s only natural that you want to protect your investment. While all cars are subjected to wear and tear, keeping your car well-maintained can prolong its life. Help your car last well over the 100,000-mile mark and save the money that would go towards a new vehicle with these pro tips.
Think twice before racing the person next to you or opening your windows and speeding down the highway. While these activities may feel exhilarating in the moment, they can shorten your car’s lifespan (and cause an accident). Hitting the brakes quickly can wear down your brake pads, use extra fuel, and place undue stress on parts of your car. Accelerating quickly can weaken your engine prematurely, especially in cold weather. Besides, there’s incentive to drive safely as most car insurance companies offer safe driver discounts.
Read the Owner’s Manual
If you haven’t already, read your owner’s manual from front to back. It contains everything you need to know about your car’s safety features and maintenance needs. In addition, you’ll learn how to customize your vehicle and identify what needs fixing and when. Essentially, the manual will help you preserve your vehicle.
Clean Your Car
Despite popular beliefs, cleaning your car isn’t just about outward appearances. Rust, dirt, and other debris can harm your vehicle over time and lower its resale value. Lingering dirt can harm your car’s paint job, which can eventually harm the body underneath. Experts recommend giving your car a thorough wash and underbody rinse regularly. How often you should wash your car depends on where you live, local weather, where you park, etc. Overall, once or twice a month should suffice.
Don’t Neglect Car Maintenance
Keeping your car well-tuned is the key to keeping it healthy long term. Change your air filters, check your oil, pay attention to your tires, and don’t wait to get things fixed. Check out our guide to car maintenance to learn how to craft a maintenance schedule.
Save Your AC
Try to preserve AC where you can. Your AC is powered by your vehicle’s engine, so using AC unnecessarily puts additional pressure on said engine. Park in the shade, cover your windshield when you park, and air out your car before driving to keep things cool without using your AC. Parking in the shade can also protect your car against the sun’s harmful rays, which fade and damage paint jobs and interiors over time. While rolling down your windows can reduce AC usage, it also creates drag and increases fuel consumption, so find a balance between the two.
Utilize Your Parking Brake
Your vehicle’s brakes are controlled by what’s called a parking pawl—a device that locks your transmission when you park. Parking on an incline can stress your parking pawl and—while rare—break or dislodge it. Experts recommend using your parking brake even when you park on flat land. Going a long time without using your parking brake can cause the attached cables to age poorly and break when you need them.
Avoid Short Trips and Traffic (If Possible)
Short trips can shorten your battery’s lifespan as they don’t allow your vehicle to warm up to a temperature that prevents wear. A slow engine, dim headlights, and a battery warning light on your dashboard are all signs that your battery is weakened. While we know this is a luxury, try to avoid traffic when you can. Stop-and-start driving uses your car’s components more than smooth driving.
Have a Quality Insurance Policy
If your car needs repairs from a collision or another covered event, car insurance can protect you against financial losses. Get a car insurance quote in under two minutes or read more on our insurance blog.