There are few things more painful than having a car or bike give up the ghost before its time. While you’re looking at new or used cars online, keep in mind that how you treat your car or bike after you’ve driven off the lot is just as important in determining its overall lifespan as existing mileage and condition. Start off your next vehicle purchase with good habits, and keep your ride running for longer by following these few simple tips.
Follow the manual
If you keep up with the car’s recommended maintenance schedule, then this can help you avoid costly problems with the suspension, brakes, drive train and other key components in the engine. Some warranty clauses may also only take effect if you follow the manual’s maintenance instructions, so don’t take any chances.
Try and avoid short trips if you can, as these can significantly shorten the life of your muffler. This occurs when you get condensation in the exhaust after starting a cold engine, but don’t leave the car running long enough for this condensation to evaporate. Excess water can build up and lead to rust in your muffler, which is an expensive repair. However, you should still aim to drive your car at least once a week.
Check your fluids
It’s a good idea to check the various oils, like antifreeze, transmission fluid, and power steering fluid and break fluid as regularly as possible. A leak could occur at any time which can lead to expensive repairs, and checking the fluid levels will allow you to nip this in the bud. Checking the color of your fluids is also a good indicator of condition. If any liquids have gone a murky brown color, these should be changed by a professional immediately to prevent further damage.
Check your brake pads
Don’t let your brake pads wear down to the metal. This will cause damage to your brake rotors and calipers, which are much more expensive to replace. You can’t clean brake pads, due to the intense friction between the pad and the rotor, so if it looks damaged or very dirty, you should look for a replacement.
Rotate your tires
This will reduce wear and tear from daily driving and extend the life of your tires, which can be very expensive to replace. Tires should be rotated twice a year. Rotate them diagonally, shifting the front right tire to the rear left tire and vice versa, to evenly distribute any wear that builds up from the car’s weight on daily trips.
Keep your tires inflated
Under-inflated tires will reduce the life of a tire by 15 percent and hurt your fuel efficiency. This is one of the easiest ways to keep your wheels in top shape. Most shops sell tire gauges cheaply, and fuel stations generally have a free tire inflator for the public to use. Keep your tires inflated, and you’ll get more miles from the rubber, saving more money.