A car or a truck is a huge investment – in fact, it’s likely to be one of the more expensive things that a person owns. So it makes sense to protect that investment in any way that you can. If you keep your car’s maintenance and repair needs in mind from the moment you buy it to the moment you say goodbye to it, there’s a good chance that those two moments will be separated by many happy years.
Your quest to keep your car on the road begins before you even take it there. When you head to the car dealership, make sure that you select a car that will give you a lot for your money. Do your research – some cars are known for staying on the road longer than others, while others have terrible reputations for needing constant repairs. If your goal is to extend the life of your vehicle, then you’ll want to choose a vehicle that will help you do that by staying reliable and tough through your years together.
You’ll want to be doubly careful when buying a used car. Have a trusted mechanic take a look at it, and be realistic about the sorts of repairs and maintenance you’ll have to invest in when you purchase an older car.
Maintenance is everything
If you never go to the doctor, you won’t live as long. Why should your car be any different? If you want your car to go the distance for you, you’ll need to invest in routine maintenance and repairs. That means oil changes, tire rotations, engine tune-ups, and all the rest. If you got your car new at a dealership, you’ll likely have to return to the dealership to get this maintenance done (at least, that is, if you want to keep your warranty intact). Otherwise, shop around and find a mechanic that you trust. Rely on their advice and make sure that you don’t skip out on any regular maintenance.
Of course, even if you take perfect care of your vehicle, you will likely need to get it repaired at some point. If your vehicle breaks down, repairs are obviously necessary – but what if your vehicle still runs? You may be tempted to keep driving if your vehicle is acting funny, but you shouldn’t risk letting a minor problem become a major one – or letting a major one become worse. In the long run, avoiding minor repairs will cost you more money and will shorten the length of your car’s life.
Go easy on your car
Your car is there for you to drive, of course, but there are a few little things that you can do to make its job a little easier. Cars suffer more in traffic and on extremely long drives, so consider opting for public transit occasionally or turning to air travel for longer trips. Carpooling is a great way to save money on gas as well as miles on your car, and careful, smooth driving is easier on your car than speed-demon acceleration and sudden braking.
You’ll also want to make sure that your car is stored in a clean, dry, covered space. Keep it in the garage whenever possible. Consider taking a car service to the airport – in addition to saving your car some miles, this will allow you to keep your vehicle in your enclosed garage instead of in airport parking, where it could be exposed to the elements while you’re out of town.
Of course, owning car is about balance – if you never use your car, there’s no point in having it! But if you choose your car carefully, provide it with all the right maintenance, and don’t push it too hard too often, you’ll likely find that your car can last years longer than you expected.