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Tips For Keeping Your Car in Great Shape

Our cars are made up of some pretty amazing components.  They’ve been designed to last for a long time within a set of parameters by which most of us can adhere to.  Turn the key, and the engine fires up; travel for at least 10,000 km before most new cars need a service; they can take a certain number of people from A-to-B and back again in comfort for years without a hitch; they’ll soak up the bumps we find on a typical road for over 100,000 km before suspension components require replacement.  The cars we drive are pretty well-built; and they need to be, especially as they are often one of the most expensive items that we buy (more than once) over the extent of our lifetime.

Here are some tips to help make your car last for longer:

Wash Your Car

Did you know that one of the toughest substances for your car’s paintwork is bird poop?  If you let this sit on your car’s paintwork for over a week in the sun, it’ll start to work into the paint layers and cause discolouration and marks to appear on those spots.  To a lesser extent tree sap will affect paint surfaces, but it’s also a real pain to get off if it’s been left to bake on for any lengthy period.  So washing your car regularly and polishing it up with a good coat of wax will help your paintwork last much longer and look much nicer.

Avoid Lots of Revs When Cold

Revving your engine a lot when the car engine is cold after it’s been sitting for a long period (like overnight) is a sure way to shorten the engine’s life span.  The oil in your car’s engine is necessary to prevent wear between moving parts, and the problem with revving when the engine is cold is that lubrication doesn’t work as well when the car is cold. The solution is an easy one, and one which is backed by manufacturer recommendations, and that is to always allow your engine to warm up for at least 10-to-15 seconds before starting off.  This allows the oil to get pumped up from out of the sump and to start circulating through the engine components.  The next thing is to avoid fast and heavy acceleration for at least a minute or so, while the engine has that time to warm up.  If you follow these guidelines, then, as the automotive engineers suggest, your car will last many, many thousands of km longer.

Don’t Shift Into Drive When Moving

Most of us drive automatic vehicles these days, and it’s just so easy to flick the car into drive after backing out of a driveway or parking spot while the vehicle is still rolling backward.  This bad habit puts the transmission components under stress and will shorten the life of your gearbox.  Always bring the car to a complete stop before selecting gear and driving off.

Don’t Ignore Servicing and Oil Changes

Do keep an eye on the oil level on your dipstick.  Keep your oil topped up on the dipstick and change it according to your owner’s manual recommendations.  Most modern cars, if well-maintained, won’t even need top ups between services.  However, it is always good to check the oil level and to top up accordingly.  Make sure the oil filter gets changed when the oil is changed too.  Oil changes are part of the servicing requirements and, quite simply, it’s cheap maintenance and cheap insurance for your engine.

Do Avoid the Potholes and Big Bumps

All the suspension components, particularly at the front-end of your car, are precisely aligned.  When this alignment is disrupted by hitting a big pothole or large speedbump at speed, the misalignment afterwards causes major wear on the steering gear and other moving parts, accelerating the wear and the need for replacement.

Water Keeps It Cool

If you’re getting your car serviced on time, then the mechanic will know when each new lubricant and fluid change is due, including the radiator coolant.  However, if you’re doing a lot of the servicing yourself, then one of the items that’s easy to overlook is the changing of the radiator coolant.  The coolant that you put in your car does more than just cool the engine down.  The water should be mixed with antifreeze so that the coolant doesn’t freeze inside the pipes but also to prevent corrosion in the depths of the engine.  A good antifreeze has special corrosion inhibitors in it to stop any galvanic corrosion from occurring.

And there you have it; some handy tips for the holiday season ahead of us.  It might also be a good idea to get your vehicle serviced before you tackle any big roadie, especially if the service is due anytime soon.

One comment

  1. Derek Swain says:

    Thank you for explaining how you can prolong the lifespan of your car’s paint by preventing tree sap from remaining on your vehicle’s surface for an extended period of time. My wife and I are thinking about painting the car that we inherited from my late uncle last month, but we need to prevent the paint from chipping when we go on vacation next weekend. We’ll learn how to care for our car’s body before we have it painted.

    January 26th, 2021 at 2:26 am

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