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    10 Tips To Make Your Car Last Longer and Pay Less Over Time

    By Gina Hagler,

    21 days ago
    Inside Creative House /

    We all like to drive around in a nice ride, and your car never will look or function better than the moment you drive it off the lot. But by taking the proper care, by dealing with the simple issues before they become problems, you will extend the life and appearance of your car and save money over the life of your vehicle.

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    The up-front money you invest to care for your car instead of waiting for something to go wrong can turn into a cash saver down the road. With proper maintenance, you’re likely to have fewer repair costs. Cars also depreciate, beginning on your first day of ownership, and a well-maintained vehicle can bring a greater return when the time comes to sell it or trade it in , offsetting some of the costs of your next ride. In this sense, a car is an investment to protect to maximize your savings and minimize your expenses.

    Because most maintenance is performed to prevent substantial damage to your engine, transmission, suspension or other important mechanical components, the idea is to pay the comparably cheap maintenance fee rather than the much higher repair fee you’d incur if you allow things to deteriorate. Here are 10 tips to make your car last longer and pay less over time.

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    Perform Routine Maintenance

    Routine maintenance addresses things from minor to major, according to car manufacturer Kia . Some are do-it-yourself fixes, such as adding wiper fluid or changing wiper blades, to having worn brake pads replaced or taking your car to a mechanic to evaluate belts and hoses. Kia warned that punctures in hoses, for example, can cause larger ― and therefore costlier ― repairs. The frequency of the maintenance depends on the part. Air filter replacement should happen every 15,000 to 20,000 miles, per Progressive . The filter prevents dirt and debris from damaging the engine, but it can only do so much before it needs to be replaced.

    Wash and Wax Your Car By Hand

    Washing and waxing your car by hand will protect the paint job and help prevent rust. Tree sap, pollen and road salt are among the hazards to your car’s finish, and you’ll want to wash them away. Nobody wants a poor paint appearance, and damaged paint also can also result in deeper damage to the body of the car. A biweekly car wash is recommended, while waxing can be done once every one to three months. Some drive-through washes can damage the paint; that’s why hand washing is preferred.

    Change the Oil Regularly

    If your car’s oil isn’t changed at recommended intervals, your engine could seize, and engine repairs and replacements are among the most expensive repairs. It’s a good idea to follow your manufacturer’s oil change schedule, which with modern engines is 5,000 to 7,500 miles, though automobiles that take full-synthetic oil could go as long as 15,000 miles, AAA reported . Pay the much smaller cost of an oil change to avoid disaster. Replacing an engine can cost anywhere from $2,000 to over $10,000, according to AutoZone .

    Drive Safely, Avoid Bad Habits

    Be mindful of your speed and braking. If you overbrake, you will need to replace the brake pads more often. Speeding, accelerating too quickly ― especially when the engine is cold ― and high-speed turning are detrimental to the tires. The quicker your treading wears, the quicker you’ll need the tires rotated.

    Rotate, Align and Inflate Your Tires

    As a general rule of thumb, tires should be rotated every 5,000 miles or six months, according to Firestone , and have the alignment checked every 12,000 miles. Tire rotation spreads the wear, which happens unevenly, and preserves how long they last. Alignments ensure proper road contact, which is an important safety measure. Similarly, proper inflation helps prevent wear on the tires and suspension damage. You can inflate your tires for free at many gas stations.

    Mind the Warning Lights

    The lights on your dashboard indicate things you should address sooner rather than later, so treat them like a warning you shouldn’t ignore. The light might be letting you know about what amounts to a minor problem, but as with other issues on this list, small car concerns can lead to major ones, so take care of them as they occur.

    Control the Pests

    The warmth of the underside of your car, especially during the winter, provides a haven to rodents and other critters that can damage your car. They’re known to chew on components, for example. If you suspect pests, set and monitor traps as a precautionary measure. The cost of supplies and performing the prevention yourself is less expensive than a professional job, and both are much less costly than repairing the destruction left behind by pests.

    Engage Your Parking Brake

    The parking brake secures your car and prevents it from rolling down an incline. It also helps protect the brake cables by keeping them in use and in working order. The parking brake reduces the pressure put on some of the components of your car, according to NAPA Auto Parts . Of course, make sure you disengage the brake when you next drive, lest you run into other problems.

    Use a Windshield Shade

    It’s a good idea to use one if your car is parked in the sun. This will protect your dashboard from melting or cracking. A new windshield shade can go for $15 to $20, which is much cheaper than fixing your dashboard.

    Avoid Deep Water

    While puddles are one thing, if you find yourself facing a flash flood, you should avoid driving through it, as the submersion can cause mechanical damage. Of course, your personal safety also is at risk by driving through deep water.

    This article originally appeared on : 10 Tips To Make Your Car Last Longer and Pay Less Over Time

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