10 Easy Ways to Extend Your Car's Life

hand checking tire pressure with a gauge

Cars are a large expense many of us use every day. Most of us want our vehicle to last us as long as possible. Learn below how to drive your car every last mile you can.

1. Read the Owner’s Manual

One of the keys to a long-lasting vehicle is to not let the owner’s manual sit in the glove box collecting dust. There is tons of important information inside this booklet that can help you ensure you get the most out of your car. For instance, your vehicle’s recommended maintenance schedule and how to use important functions of the car are both listed in here. Keep this manual handy and be well versed in it for a healthy car.

2. Change Your Oil Regularly

Some drivers may think it’s not quite necessary to change your oil as much as it’s recommended, but doing so routinely helps increase the lifespan of your car. Oil is important because it lubricates and cools the parts of your car’s engine. When you fail to change your oil regularly, the engine runs less efficiently and it can even lead to engine failure. Make sure to change your oil every 3,000 miles or so to protect your engine and to keep your car running smoothly.

3. Protect Your Car from the Sun

The sun can damage the paint job and interior of your car over time. To prevent this from happening, park in the shade as much as possible, particularly on a hot and sunny day.

car parked in the shade

4. Consolidate Trips

It’s not unusual to have to run a bunch of errands during the course of a day. Keep in mind that much of the wear and tear on your car (as well as much of the pollution cars produce, which is bad for the planet) happens in the first few minutes of a trip. Try to reduce the number of times you go out by consolidating errands and doing them during low traffic hours. This is good for your engine and can help increase your car’s lifespan.

5. Check Tire Pressure Regularly

Making sure that your tires are inflated to the right level helps tires live longer and will give you more bang for your buck with your gas tank. This is easy to do and can help a lot.

6. Keep Your Car Clean

A clean car inside and out helps it retain a higher value than a messy and dirty car. Especially in the winter, it’s important to get or perform regular car washes to prevent road salt build up. Neglecting to do so can cause rust that eats holes in the metal, which is damaging to the lifespan of your vehicle.

7. Keep a Light Keychain

This may sound silly, but having a heavy and overloaded keychain in your ignition can be bad for your car’s overall health. This is because the weight of a loaded keychain combined with it bouncing around while the car is in motion can wear out the tumblers inside the ignition. Eventually, this can lead to ignition switch failure, which is obviously not ideal.

small keychain in car ignition

8. Keep a Gas Log

Using a good old-fashioned pad and paper or even the notepad on your smartphone, keep a log of every time you get gas and the coordinating mileage. If you start to notice that the mileage you're getting per tank worsens, mention it to your mechanic. This could be an early indication of an issue. Detecting it early can lead to a swift and easy fix before it causes longer-lasting damage.

9. Don’t Replace Washer Fluid with Water

It may be tempting to supplement your windshield washer fluid with some water. However, doing so can lead to your windshield not being cleaned as effectively. It can also cause freezing during cold weather, which would damage the system. Furthermore, don’t attempt to run the windshield washer when you suspect the fluid reservoir is empty, as this could damage the washer fluid pump.

10. Don’t Drive Erratically

Erratic drivers are not only annoying on the roads, they’re likely causing their cars to live a shorter life. Accelerating erratically and braking too hard takes a toll on the entirety of your vehicle. This is because it puts added stress onto the different components of your car that help it operate smoothly. This causes your car to be worn out quicker. Be a more even driver that takes their time on the road for a better overall experience and for the health of your vehicle.

Be kind to your car to ensure it lasts as long as possible, saving you money and potential headaches.