How to Make a Car Last: The Journey to 200,000 Miles
Most of us take our cars for granted, thinking about them only as long as they can get us from Point A to Point B. But if you want to ensure that your car is always ready to make the trip, you'll have to give your vehicle a little more attention to keep it running smoothly. Here are a few tips on how to make a car last forever — or at least as long as possible.
Pamper Your Car While Driving
Whether you're driving 70 mph or 80 mph on the interstate, you're likely to reach your destination at the same time. Pushing your car to drive just that much faster, not to mention eating up more gas and putting more wear on your tires, doesn't really save you time in the end.
This is because gas is consumed differently at different speeds. According to the Guardian, "The most efficient speed you can travel in a car, in terms of achieving the best fuel economy, is 55-65 mph. Any faster, though, and the fuel efficiency decreases rapidly. For example, driving at 85 mph uses 40 percent more fuel than at 70 mph."
Quick accelerations and stops can only hurt your car in the end. Sharp turns are the same and will accelerate wear on your tires. When possible, glide to a stop while lightly applying the brakes. Think ahead — you already know when a stop is coming up. Use that information to your advantage.
If you can get the hang of driving slower, you'll extend the life of your brakes, tires, and motor. Not to mention, some insurance companies will provide discounts for good driving. Check with your insurance company to see if they offer that type of discount.
One of the best ways to keep a car in top shape is adhering to regular maintenance, which includes oil changes, air filter changes, transmission oil fluid changes, and tire rotation and alignments. With any maintenance, it's also a good time to check up on key items around the car. These regular checkups are great to spot problems early. Make sure to check:
- Tire tread
- Tire pressure
- Belts and hoses
- Wiper fluid level
- Oil level
- Engine coolant level
Keep It Clean
Keeping your car clean makes it look good while also serving a very functional purpose. A clean car won't corrode as fast as a dirty one. Road salts, oils from other cars, and everything else that litters the highway can corrode a car's structure and paint if it isn't washed away.
A great time to wash your car is after long drives, especially any trips on the interstate. Interstate trips are notorious for gathering bugs all over the front of your car. Left there long enough, they can begin eating into your car's paint.
Don't Ignore Dash Lights
Instrument panel warning and check lights are your car's first line of defense against potentially catastrophic problems. Rather than ignoring them, understand the reason they're coming on. Your car's manual will have all of the details. If the manual says you should bring your car to a mechanic for further investigation, schedule an appointment as soon as possible. Putting the problem off might mean being stranded on the side of the road.
A car is like a partnership — it will get you places, but you have to do the work to keep it running. Be mindful of maintenance and take care of your vehicle. Not only will this make your car last longer, but it will save you money, too.