Is your car on its last legs? Have you had it for a few years, or is the odometer getting close to 200,000 miles? If the answer to any of those questions is yes, then you are probably stressing slightly about the idea of having to get a new car. Fortunately, with the right care and proactive maintenance, you’ll probably be able to keep your car around for at least at little bit longer. Here are some tips on how to make your car last another year.
Don’t skimp on oil changes
With an older car, it’s more important than ever to stay on top of preventative maintenance and regular service, including oil changes, monitoring engine and transmission health, staying on top of fluid levels, and filter replacements. In addition, when you go in for oil changes (or even if you’re completing them yourself), you can extend the life of your car by using high-quality motor oil, so go ahead upgrade to synthetic motor oil. Synthetic motor can extend the life of your engine, since synthetics are “less likely to degrade when engine temperatures get very hot,” and they also function better in extreme cold temperatures, according to BottomLineInc.
You should also opt to upgrade to higher quality oil filters, which will do a better job of removing impurities from engine oil, and improve the overall circulation of the oil within your car.
These little upgrades won’t cost you an arm or a leg (probably only $20-40 more than your standard oil change), and they’re certainly less expensive that the cost of a whole new car. Making these little tweaks to your service routine can help your car last longer, and give you some more time to figure out your replacement plan
Check coolant often
Another tip that can help extend the life of your car in its later years is being sure to check your coolant every 20,000 miles. In the early years of your car, and depending on the vehicle, every 30,000 miles might be the norm. According to Cars.com, many service shop insist that “you should do a coolant change more often than the maintenance schedule recommends,” which tends to be somewhere between every 30,000 or 50,000 miles. However, as your car gets older, you should update this service number to every 20,000 miles to make sure your car remains in the best shape possible.
Checking coolant levels and quality is important because coolant can deteriorate, and even become more acidic over time, which will cause its “rust-inhibiting” properties to deteriorate, which can then lead to corrosion. Corrosion is never good for a car, but especially in the case of an older car, it can be very detrimental.
In addition, to help your car last another year, you should also consider draining and flushing the engine’s cooling system, especially in the case of old cars and cars that have experienced significant repairs in the past. In any vehicle with over 50,000 miles on it, the coolant should be tested often.
Opt for service at the dealership
When it comes to replacement parts, and more technical repairs, you simply won’t be able to find better quality of service (and parts) than at the home dealership of your car. Meaning, if you drive an Hyundai Sonata, you should definitely be getting Hyundai service at the dealership for major replacements and repairs.
This is especially the case for an older car. Although repairs at the dealership will typically cost more than what you’d pay at a local repair shop, you can always expect the quality to be top-notch. And when your car is near the end of its lifespan, you’re going to want to invest the money in paying for premium parts and service to help your car last another year. It’s a short term investment, but overall it will help you avoid a situation where your car permanently breaks down suddenly and much sooner than you expected.
So, as you can see, with the right service adjustments and care, there’s no reason to throw in the towel on your vehicle yet! If you use these tips, you’ll likely be able to make your car last for about another year, if not longer than that. Just make sure not to put off the inevitable forever – use this gift of extra time to figure out your car replacement plan, and make the most of this upcoming transition.
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