3 ways to prolong the life of your car

It's important to create a schedule and set maintenance reminders to get routine tasks done for your car. (Photo courtesy of Allstate.com)

It's important to create a schedule and set maintenance reminders to get routine tasks done for your car. (Photo courtesy of Allstate.com)

How do you stay fit, healthy and in shape? Chances are you schedule an annual check-up and then do your best to make it to the gym a few times a week.

The same rules apply if you want to keep your car optimized and running smoothly. For an automobile, preventive maintenance is the same as going to the gym. Here are three car maintenance tips that just might help prolong the fitness of your vehicle.

Everything rides on the tires

Whether it’s tread separation, a blowout or a flat, you can help avoid tire failure with periodic care and preventive maintenance. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, tire pressure should be checked at least once a month, and this includes the spare.

The NHTSA says you should abide by the recommended tire pressure listed in your vehicle’s owner’s manual—not the number listed on the side of the tire.

You’ll also want to do the following:

•   Check tire valve stems for leaks and tighten tire valves.

•   Inspect tires, particularly treads and sidewalls, for signs of damage and wear.

•   Be sure not to overload the vehicle.

Maintaining the integrity of your tires will not only help to prevent flats and other potential road hazards, but the NHTSA says it can extend tire life and fuel economy. And, in this age of unpredictable gas prices, saving at the pump is a priority for many drivers. 

Please drive gently

The welcome sign in the state of Maryland advises drivers to "Please Drive Gently". But, if you want to reduce wear and tear on your vehicle, then you should abide by that recommendation in the other 49 states, as well.

Accelerating and breaking smoothly, observing the speed limit, avoiding idling and removing unnecessary weight can not only help to improve fuel economy (by up to a third, says the Department of Energy), it can also put less strain on the engine’s components, which may save you money on maintenance and replacement parts and may also increase the lifespan of your car.

Schedule routine maintenance

Every automobile comes with a detailed owner’s manual. However, many people never take the manual out of the glove box. By failing to take the time to read the instructions for the particular make and model of your car, you’re running the risk of creating costly maintenance scenarios in the future.  

While you might be aware that you need an oil and filter change every few thousand miles, you probably don’t know how often you should change the spark plugs, or when you should have the timing belt done. If you want your car to go that extra mile, you need to create a schedule and set maintenance reminders to get those routine tasks done. 

Practicing good driving fundamentals, and performing routine car care and maintenance can help ensure your vehicle stays healthy, fit and in shape.  

This guest post comes from the editors of The Allstate Blog.

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