The cost of getting a new car is high, especially because of the changes to lending practices and the requirement that most borrowers provide a down payment when they make a purchase from the dealership. To combat this issue, more and more drivers are keeping their cars longer than before, and trying to go as long as possible without any kind of vehicle payment. This saves families thousands of dollars a year, but only if the cost of keeping the car running is less than the cost of the new car payments. You need to maintain your cars with a few simple procedures, and you will see a longer lifespan for your vehicle and more mileage.
Everyone knows that cars need oil, and most drivers understand that they need to have their oil changed on a regular basis. What you may not know, is that each time you fail to change the oil, you are doing irreparable damage to your vehicle. When the parts in the engine rub together and create metal shavings, there is nothing you can do to take back that damage, other than to replace the entire engine. Over time the situation gets worse and worse, until finally your engine will simply overheat and blowout. Oil changes do not have to be expensive, and you should not feel pressured to go with the “super executive platinum oil change package”. Most of the time an oil change and a new air filter will be enough to keep your vehicle running smoothly.
Another area that you need to address is the tires on your car. Tires are something that you probably do not think about, unless you have a flat and you have to fix it. The truth is, tires need as much maintenance as the rest of your car, but the difference is that you can do most of the tire maintenance yourself. You need to check the level of inflation of each tire, inspect the tires for damage and gauge the tread individually. This will ensure that your tires roll smoothly and that your vehicle is not struggling to move. An area of tire maintenance that you really cannot handle on your own is tire rotation. This involves moving the tires around so they all have the same level of wear and so one tire does not give out before another. Let professionals handle this task, and they can check the balance of the tires and the alignment of the vehicle at the same time.
Finally, you need to take your car in for a regular tune up at least once a year. This is a good idea so you can be sure that your plugs are all tight and all of your fluids are full. The tune up will include replacing the old sparkplugs and inspecting the car’s belts for wear and damage that could cause the belt to break during the operation of the vehicle. Your car should also have maintenance checkpoints at different mileage markers in your owner’s manual. Go over those items with your mechanic when you take your vehicle in to have a tune up and you will be able to get all of the work done at once.
Maintaining a car is much cheaper than buying a new one, and preventative maintenance is the most important thing that you can do to keep your car running the way that it should. It does not take long for the work to be done, so stay on top of your car care and you will save money in the long run.
I am James Sanders, and I have been a mechanic for ten years. I wrote this article to talk about what drivers can do to take care of their cars so they are spending less money on major repairs. I use Hurst Tire Service (www.hursttireservice.com) for my tire care needs, and this company for Lancaster tires is one that I highly recommend.