Do you have a vehicle that you drive that’s at least ten years old? If so, you likely have it paid off and appreciate the fact that you’re able to save some money each month. While saving money is always a huge benefit to driving a used car, you should also consider how much money you put into routine maintenance to ensure that your vehicle will go the extra mile plus 100,000 more. Older vehicles require more care and upkeep than new models in some cases. Consider these helpful tips should you still own an older model vehicle.
Frequent Cleaning and Full Detail
One of the biggest enemies of any automobile on the road is rust buildup. This occurs when the metal on the vehicle comes in contact with water and salt particles. From there, materials can easily oxidize, leading to patches of bubbled paint and eventually rust. Rust can destroy a vehicle by tearing away at the paint and body which can ruin appearances and depreciate the value of the vehicle. One of the best ways to combat rust and other deteriorating contributors is to clean your older vehicle regularly. Having a thorough car wash at least once a week is a great way to remove dirt and grime buildup—especially in the underbody of the vehicle. Many car wash units have specialized cleaning products that help target heavy duty dirt and debris and provide a paint sealant to help thwart rust growth.
Don’t forget about the windows. Keeping them clean and your wipers working properly can help reduce the risk of scratching and chipping. Replace broken or chipped glass right away. Companies like Van Isle Glass, or a glass company in your area, can help get you back on the road in no time. In addition, consider a complete auto detail. An interior deep cleaning that removes dirt and stains can improve the life of your vehicle and leave it smelling fresh. On the exterior, a complete polish, buff, and shine can create a good barrier for your paint. The result is a shiny exterior that will stand the test of time.
Oil and Coolant Flush
While appearance is important for your vehicle and helps boost its overall value, everything under the hood needs to be functioning properly. Routine oil changes according to your vehicle’s manufacturer’s warranty will help ensure that the engine is getting the proper lubrication as it works harder through the high miles.
A coolant flush is also very important for optimal engine performance. This means flushing the transmission and cooling lubricants on a frequent basis and replacing with new fluids. This helps the engine stay cool and resist overheating during fluctuations in weather elements and while idling.
Brakes and Suspension
The brakes on your older vehicle are more susceptible to issues due to rust and loose clamps and parts underneath your vehicle. It’s important to have the brake system on an older car checked thoroughly at least once a year, to ensure that there are no weak areas or malfunctions. A new brake line system, pads, and rotors are not uncommon jobs that mechanics perform on older model vehicles. If you haven’t had your brakes serviced or inspected in a while, now is the time. Your safety and that of your passengers depend on it.
The suspension system is also an important piece to maintain. This includes the springs, shocks and other components that link your vehicle’s tires together. If there is a problem with anything within the system, including something as simple as tire pressure, the entire suspension can begin to weaken. If this occurs it can lead to malfunction and force a replacement of specific parts. Having the suspension inspected at least once a year can help detect issues before they become a major problem.
Routine Motor Check-Up
Having a mechanic look under the hood is vital to the maintenance of an older vehicle. Having a routine motor checkup means a qualified auto pro will examine the sounds and sights of the motor and run the proper diagnostic tests to make sure that the vehicle’s computer system is in good working order. Any issues that need to be addressed can be discussed at that time.
Your mechanic may also suggest replacing old or outdated parts that are no longer under warranty or just getting ready to expire. This will help improve the life of your car and keep it on the road longer.
Preventing a breakdown with an older vehicle can’t always be avoided. But with the right maintenance, you can reduce the risk of engine failure and keep your pride and joy on the road a lot longer!