7 cheap ways to extend the life of your car

7 cheap ways to extend the life of your car

Proper car maintenance is something every vehicle owner should practice. It helps ensure that the vehicle performs better and lasts longer. One of the most important things is to perform maintenance when and as required, which varies depending on the make and model of the vehicle.

Most vehicle owner manuals come equipped with a maintenance schedule that provides an overview of recommended service intervals. Whether you're performing the auto repairs yourself or entrusting them to a mechanic, accomplishing these relatively low-cost maintenance items can add years of safe driving and useful life to your automobile.

1. Oil changes
On most vehicles, the oil should be changed approximately every 3,000 to 5,000 miles. If oil changes aren't done in a timely manner, your car's performance and fuel economy can suffer, and long-term damage can occur.

2. Replace lights
Not having all of your vehicle's lights working properly is a safety concern. If your car's headlights, turn signals or taillights aren't working properly, they're relatively quick and cheap to replace.

3. Replace a battery
A dead or dying battery can potentially leave you stranded in an extremely cold or hot environment, or in an otherwise isolated area. Installing a new battery at the first sign of diminished power helps ensure your car will start reliably.

4. Changing wiper blades
If your vehicle's wiper blades become brittle, ripped or damaged, visibility when driving in rain, snow or ice can decline, compromising safe driving.

5. Replace tires
In winter months or rainy conditions, tires with a decent tread pattern can keep your vehicle operating safely on the road. Purchasing and installing new tires when needed should not be postponed.

6. Changing spark plugs and wires
If spark plugs, spark plug wires or the distributor cap aren't functioning correctly, the vehicle can perform erratically and may be difficult to start or easily stall.

7. Change the air filter
Your vehicle's fuel economy can suffer with a dirty air filter. These are inexpensive, simple to replace and they help keep the car's engine running efficiently.

Most of these repairs can be easily accomplished with a few common tools and parts purchased at a local auto parts store. If you're uncomfortable performing vehicle repairs yourself or find it an inconvenience, check Angie's List for local highly rated auto service companies.


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Comments

Jeanne

Subject:

The advice is 100% correct, thank you Angie's List. For my book, Under The Hood with Jeanne, I interviewed all of our customers with over 100,000-300,000 miles and NO ENGINE WORK. Since the oil distributors strongly recommend replacing the oil every 3000 miles for a 5 qts capacity tank and many vehicle manufacturing companies are extending the intervals I went to the customers. This is where the rubber truly hits the road. My question was, what did you do to ensure a long, problem free vehicle life? Every single person interviewed stated that no matter what the manufacturer said, they replaced the oil every 3000 miles and kept up on all vehicle maintenance. I went further to ask if they would extend the interval to 4000 miles. The answer was never to only if they couldn’t make it in on time. It only costs around $64 extra dollars a year to replace the oil every 3000 instead of 5000 miles. A new transmission due to the sludge that will build up with extended intervals will run several thousand dollars and a lot of time and inconvenience. Many of the customers with over 300,000 miles actually used basic oil the entire time, but they were religious about 3000 mile oil changes. The semi synthetic and full synthetic will improve gas mileage and help your vehicle run smoother. The best comparison is river pebbles rolling down a pvc pipe vs. marbles rolling down a pvc pipe. The marbles (synthetic oil) roll smoother, less resistant and faster then the pebbles (basic oil).

Nate

Subject:

Not the best advice. Oil changes shoud be at manufacturers interval usually, 7,500 miles. Any sooner is wasteful. ZBut oil should be checked every 1000 miles and topped off as needed. Lights should be replaced in pairs. If one headlight goes, replace both. Wiper blades should be replaced yearly even if they look good.If your battery is over 5 years old, replace it. Old tires even with good tread can have poor grip in the rain. If the wheels spin when wet, get new ones. Spark plugs last 100,000 miles. wires last the life of the car.

jim

Subject: More waste

Your advice about changing wipers every year and battery replacement at 5 yrs. is too soon. Oil should definitely be changed no later than 3-4000 mi. Never had new tires spin out in the rain.

Abraham

Subject: Overly cautious car care

Nate is quite correct, on all points. Do top up oil (you will be burning a quart or two over 7500 miles) but you do not need frequent changes unless you drive a cab or are in stop/start traffic all the time. Rubber on older tires typically does not grip well in rain, even if you see plenty of tread, so change the tires. Spark plus last and last and last these days, and wires should likely last forever, as Nate says. Plus, as another poster said, what's up with "distributor caps?" You might find one on an old Land Rover, or a classic Ford Mustang circa 1969, but really, they're obsolescent. The advice offered by the original author looks very, very derivative - did he just copy an old story?

A. K. Scott

Subject:

Distributors have not been used in cars for some time. Fuel injection and computer controls have made distributors a thing of the past.

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