How To Extend the Life of Your Used Car
Buying a vehicle is an investment that shouldn’t be made lightly. Often, in fact, it is one of the biggest purchases an individual will make, and can come with a host of financial responsibilities and car care requirements that pretty much have to be met if you plan to resell someday. In some parts of the country, keeping a used car in good shape can be difficult. Albany used cars face both frigid winters and blistering summers, for example, and owners there need to know how to prevent the worst of time’s damage for the sake of resale value.
Luckily, there are more than a few basic guidelines you can follow to keep your used vehicle in top condition for years. Used vehicles may require a bit more attention than their newer descendants, but the result is a great relationship with a quality, working used car.
This most basic of car advice becomes all the more important when dealing with a used vehicle. As cars age their parts begin to wear, and components that once operated flawlessly develop little issues here and there. Luckily, catching these before they become major problems isn’t too hard, provided someone with enough knowledge to know what’s wrong is looking at it frequently enough to see a change.
The best way to prevent those annoying little problems from turning into car-wrecking disasters is to see your mechanic regularly, and to follow your vehicle’s regular maintenance schedule. This ensures that your vehicle will be getting the repairs, parts, and attention it needs as it greets the passing decades with open arms.
Keep It Clean
It’s easy to fall into our usual habits, especially in the middle of a busy day – you get lunch and toss your wrapper in the backseat, or somebody spills a coffee, or you simply haven’t made it over to the car wash yet this winter – and allow your vehicle to get dirty. It happens to the best of us, and is by no means a mark of a bad car owner; it’s just something to avoid.
Keeping your car clean and in a good outward condition not only improves your own happiness with your vehicle but also protects against more permanent damage like rust, corrosion, or interior damage like mold or insect infestation. This will help resale value down the road as well as your overall happiness with your used vehicle. If you’re happy with your car, you’re more likely to take care of it properly – so keep it clean.
Think about an aging car like an aging body – as parts get older, they take a little bit more time to get moving. The same is true of your engine, which has reliably started every day and plans to keep going in the future, provided it’s allowed to go its own speed.
When you start your car, start it gently. Let your engine warm up for about 30 seconds or so to ensure that there’s plenty of oil to lubricate the moving parts so nothing’s grinding or breaking, and don’t try to rev up too fast. If you take it nice and slow your engine will reward you with continued excellent performance, even years and years down the road.
Listen For Trouble
Every good driver knows the sound of an engine working perfectly – and that’s no sound at all, above the regular hum of the motor. When you’re dealing with moving metal parts, it’s important to listen closely for anything that sounds like grinding or screeching coming from the engine block, as these could be signs that something is not getting enough oil, or is broken or contaminated by debris.
Any and all of these can cause permanent damage to your vehicle’s inner workings, and should be closely monitored. Luckily, this is a fairly easy problem to notice to then have looked at, and so drivers of used cars especially should make a point to listen to and be aware of their car’s performance.
Keep ‘er Easy
While it’s definitely true that you’re only as old as you feel, it’s also true that your old used vehicle is no longer a spring chicken and probably can’t handle all of the same high-octane driving it could once take on with no problem.
It’s important to alter your driving style with the age of your vehicle, as older and more experienced models need to be handled a bit easier than their newer counterparts. This can mean taking turns slower, braking easier, and limiting the engine to minimal revving to prevent excess wear and tear on your internal systems. By doing so you not only improve your vehicle’s chances for longevity but also decrease your risk of experiencing a sudden breakdown or blowout on your used car.
Don’t Be A Stranger to Your Mechanic
There’s definitely a resistance to bringing a new vehicle to a mechanic, and it’s understandable – you can’t bear to picture someone else tearing apart your brand new pride and joy, or that your new vehicle would already need service for something. But as a car gets older and more experienced it is going to require more frequent check-ups with the doctor. This means taking your car into the mechanic regularly – some suggest as often as twice a year – for a basic checkup and minor maintenance.
By visiting your mechanic regularly rather than waiting for something bad to happen, you effectively insure yourself against an emergency breakdown. A good mechanic can monitor subtle changes in your vehicle over time and address problems early on, when they are still cheap and easy to fix. Doing this can save you not only money but plenty of stress, and could very well be the best thing you can do for your used vehicle.
When In Doubt, Consult Your Manual
If there’s one handy tool that can encompass nearly all knowledge about your vehicle, including everything from regular maintenance schedules to instructions on repairs even the mechanic may not know how to do, it’s your vehicle’s owner’s manual. This exceptionally handy piece of literature serves as the definitive guidebook on how to care for your used vehicle, and can be an invaluable resource in the fight against time in preserving your used car.
If you feel like taking a crack at a repair job yourself, or if you aren’t sure when you should schedule your next service appointment, then the owner’s manual is the place to look. With everything from detailed information on your model to basic cleaning tips, this important booklet is critical to the used car owner and should come with your vehicle upon purchase; otherwise, your dealer or mechanic likely has a copy, and you can likely order one from the manufacturer as well.
These are just some of te most basic tips and tricks to keeping your used vehicle healthy and happy on the road. By sticking to these guidelines and meticulously caring for your vehicle, you can easily extend the life of that car for ten years or beyond – and, you’ll learn to really love it along the way. If you and your vehicle are in for the long haul, make sure to take care of it – and it will reward you with excellent driving for years to come.