Todd’s Note: As the economy becomes more desperate (for us non-elites), we are going to have to take care of our vehicles and make sure they last longer and go further. Not too many us can throw down thousands of dollars on a new vehicle! Here is an article that can start to get us to think about what steps we should take.
Why should you care if your car makes it to 200,000 miles? You’ll just get a new one when your current car wears out, right? Not necessarily. With a still-unstable economy, you never know when your financial situation is going to change, and besides, it’s always smart to save money wherever possible. Keep your car in good working order to pay it off quicker and save on repair bills. Here are the top 4 ways to keep your car going:
Realize ‘The Fast and the Furious’ is a Movie, Not a Driving Technique
Speeding will not only get you a ticket eventually, it can wear out your car before its time. Go easy on the gas pedal and your car will last longer. Don’t gun the engine (unless you’re trying to lose some carjackers or kidnappers) and don’t slam on the brakes—be smooth and progressive in your use of the gas and brake pedals. Doing otherwise puts strain on many important parts of your car, like the transmission and suspension. Drive like you’ve got an infant or your elderly grandmother in the back seat.
Keep it Cool
Your car doesn’t like bright sunshine pounding down on it all the time. Those ultraviolet rays do damage. Bright sunshine can dry out the plastic in your car’s interior and cause it to crack, dull your paint job, destroy upholstery and damage your headlights. Do yourself and your car a favor and don’t park it in the sun all day. Use a garage or carport at home. If you have neither, cover your car with a tarp or car cover. Look for shady places to park away from home.
Chipped or faded paint is an excellent indication of the overall condition of a car and something you should pay attention to when shopping for used cars by dealership. Ones with good paint jobs may be in better shape and will probably last longer than other cars.
Time It Right
If there were a 10 Commandments of Car Care, this would be one of them. Do not neglect the timing belt. If it breaks, the entire engine of your car could be seriously damaged. Have the belt replaced every 100,000 to 125,000 miles. The belt is cheap; it’s the labor to replace it that’s expensive, but if you’re planning on making your car last to 200,000 miles or more, you should only incur this expense once or twice per car.
Two Trips are Not Better Than One
Short trips are actually harder on your car than long ones. This is because oil doesn’t get a chance to get hot enough to evaporate condensation on the exhaust on short trips. When the condensation doesn’t go away, water accumulates in places it shouldn’t and contributes to the premature wearing down of your car. You can actually kill your car engine if you only take short trips. Avoid this by combining many short trips into one long one, or by taking a 20-minute drive through the country once a week or so.
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