The average age of a vehicle on Australian roads is about 10 years, but because of our sparsely populated country and sprawled out cities, we tend to do quite a few more kilometers than most other drivers around the world. Our cars are also subjected to harsher conditions, particularly when they’re taken out of the cities and onto our vast, dusty country roads. This all means that general upkeep and maintenance of our cars is extremely important if we want to get some decent mileage out of them.
This can be a bit of a challenge with modern cars, as so much is hooked up to complicated computer systems that the average car owner can’t reasonably be expected to navigate. There are, however, still plenty of ways for the average Joe or Jane to make sure the car is in good nick between services. So if you’re wondering how to make your car last longer, it’s worth following these simple car maintenance tips.
6 ways to make your car last longer
1.Check fluid levels
Oil changes form the basis of every service, but fluids are the lifeblood of your car, so keeping them topped up is one of the most important aspects of regular maintenance. It’s also one of the easiest things to do, and should be done fortnightly. To check your engine oil, simply remove the dipstick (making sure your car is on level ground), wipe off the oil, return the dipstick and pull it back out again. The oil level should be somewhere between empty and full. If your car is a petrol car, then it should be a light yellow-brown colour. If diesel then black is perfectly normal.
It’s also important to check the coolant reservoir to make sure those levels are also topped up. If it’s getting low then you’ll need to top it up with a mixture of half distilled water and half coolant fluid.
Other fluids to keep an eye on include brake fluid, transmission fluid and power steering fluid. You’ll need to check the owner’s manual to find out how to perform these checks on your particular car.
2.Don’t run low on fuel
When fuel levels get low, the fuel pump ends up putting sediment and other impurities into the engine system. This can cause clogs and even corrode the pump and fuel filters over time, leading to expensive repairs.
3.Check your tyres
Your tyres are probably your most important safety feature as they keep you in control of the car.
A tyre’s minimum tread depth is no less than 1.6mm. Once the tyres reach that point, it’s time to replace and/or rotate them.
It’s also vital to make sure they’re inflated to the correct pressure, not only to avoid excessive wear, but also to ensure best performance.
Those of us who have been in the market for a used car know exactly what happens to a car when it’s thrashed. If you’ve been unlucky enough to buy a car that has had a hard life, you’ll know all too well how quickly they can begin to fall apart. By being a more conscientious driver, you’ll do well to extend your car’s life and avoid any major repairs. Of course, sometimes you need to put your foot down and use the engine’s horsepower, but you’ll do well to avoid doing this when you don’t need to.
Also, being a bit more aware of your surroundings, and looking further ahead than just the next car will help to avoid sudden and heavy braking. This will help to extend the life of the car’s brake pads as well as its tyres.
5.Use the air conditioner
All modern cars, such as the new Skoda Kamiq, come with air conditioning as a standard feature. What drivers need to be aware of, however, is that if a/c goes extended periods of time without being used, they tend to leak refrigerant gas. So one of the easiest ways to avoid a repair bill is simply to turn on the air conditioner every now and then.
Of course, the best way to avoid encountering some of the bigger problems is keeping your car regularly serviced by a professional. Regular servicing usually includes things like oil filter change, replacement spark plugs, and air filter change. They’ll also perform some of the tasks that you may already be doing yourself, such as tire pressure check and even tire rotations.
Whether you have a new vehicle, or you’ve only owned older cars, routine maintenance is always a good idea to keep your wheels in good shape. This will not only save you money on repairs in the long run, but will also help to reduce fuel consumption, saving you some dollars in the immediate future.