Different cars have different life spans but it does not mean that you can’t get a full life span from your vehicle. I will give you as much information and details as I can to help keep your car well maintained. Honda and Toyota probably have the highest life span but don’t feel down about your car just yet. Below I have plenty of ways to make sure you get the most out of your car.
1. Oil Changes.
Make sure you DO NOT delay your oil change. It’s either 3 months or 2,500 miles but it varies by car and oil type. If your car can take synthetic oil blend, I strongly recommend that you use that from now on. If not, you always have other blends. Don’t go to gas stations with their cheap oils. Take your vehicle to known shops that are trusted.
One thing I recommend you do from time to time unless you already take your vehicle to your dealership. You can get oil change deals and coupons and if you can, take your vehicle to your dealership for an oil change since they usually do a full inspection on your vehicle. I took my 2000 Honda Civic to the dealership since I had a $28 oil change coupon and they gave me a full report of everything that was functional and what needed to be fixed. Obviously I did not give them my vehicle to fix because the total was more than the vehicle worth but I was able to do some fixes myself and others at a gas station. Instead of paying a total of around $2,000 from what was estimated, I paid around $100. Dealerships love to make money off of their customers. Be smart and be cautious.
2. Check your manual.
Your manual if you have one will tell you when you need to service your car for things such as serpentine belt, water pump, flushes and whatnot. Make sure you have those things checked or replaced when the time is right. Usually the manual will tell you to do those services when your car reaches a certain mileage. Check your handbook or manual and keep them in mind for when the time is right.
A failing transmission will not look good for your car or pocket. So how do you maintain your transmission? Two things. First, always come to a complete stop with your foot on the brake to change gears. If you’re reversing and decide to switch gears from reserve to drive without coming to a complete stop might seem okay, but as time goes it will most likely cause damage to your transmission. Second, have your transmission fluid replaced or flushed when needed. How can you tell? Your handbook or manual should tell you. If not, you can always ask for it to be checked when getting serviced. Don’t be fooled! Some places will tell you it will need to be replaced even if it doesn’t. If you can check your fluids yourself, I recommend it. You can find a video on YouTube showing you how your transmission fluid is supposed to look like. If yours looks burnt or very dark, it may be necessary to have it replaced.
4. Spark Plugs.
To keep things short and simple, a spark plug helps ignite your car. Just because your vehicle turns on doesn’t necessarily mean you have good spark plugs or maybe you do. Bad spark plugs lead to misfires, having problems starting your car in cold days, bad fuel economy, and you won’t get the full power your car needs to give you. Checking your spark plug is fairly simple depending on the vehicle but if you know nothing about cars, have them checked when getting serviced.
TIP: Good quality spark plugs can go for at least 30,000 miles.
When it comes to leaks, there are so many different places to have a leak. From a coolant leak to a gasket leak. One way to check for leaks is to turn your car on with your A/C off for at least 5-10 minutes and then check underneath the front of your car to see if anything is leaking. If you find a leak and you know how to fix it, go right ahead, if not than have it fixed at your local auto shop. Another place to check for leaks is your engine. Pop open your hood and see if your engine head is oily and greasy. If it is, clean it up just to ensure that you actually have a leak and check again a different day or week. A final way to check if to check your fluids. Your oil is easy to check. Just pull out your oil dip stick and make sure it falls in the required measure. Other fluids can be checked by opening the cap and seeing how much you have. For the coolant, transmission, and brake fluids, you can open the cap and see if you have the required amount (usually shown by a line or MIN/MAX line).
If your steering wheel is centered but your vehicle is yielding either to the left or right then you need an alignment. Alignment’s typical cost is from $60-$90 but $90 may be too much. Alignment issues will cause bad gas mileage and decrease your tires life span which only means more money coming out your pocket. You can get an alignment done at your local auto shop. If not then most likely your local tire shop.
TIP: Get estimates from different auto shops before proceeding.