How To Maintain Your Used Car For Years Of Future Driving
Maybe you’ve been holding on to a tortured old beater for a while and are afraid to turn the ignition after its long time spent in hiding, or you simply want to save some money on your next vehicle but are afraid of taking on a car that’s already most of the way through its lifespan – whatever your situation, taking on the responsibility of a pre-owned vehicle can be a serious challenge for some drivers. While used car dealers in Albany stock an excellent selection of ready-to-drive pre-owned models, the prospect of having to maintain a used vehicle can seem like too much for many of those customers already limited by price, and those who aren’t sure what goes into proper used car maintenance might be turned off by the idea. The fact is, however, that with just a few simple steps and the right attitude, you can keep your used beater going strong for miles and miles to come, and all it takes is a little know-how.
Want to keep that rusty chassis rolling for at least a couple more years? Here are the most important car maintenance essentials that will help keep your beater on the road and on the right track, not to mention out of the scrapyard. Follow this basic checklist and you’ll be cruising in style with your beloved used model without a care in sight.
Priority Level One: Absolute Essentials
The first things you should get in good working order on your used vehicle are those systems which are most important on the road – the elements that will keep you safe in the event of an emergency. While having an efficient engine and comfortable interior may seem like the most attractive starting points, they won’t do much good if your vehicle can’t react quickly to a sudden stop. That’s why it’s a good idea to start with these most critical systems first to help make your vehicle as safe as possible right away, and then move on to more substantial upgrades later.
One natural starting point involves the tires and the braking system. These are the most immediately important parts of your vehicle as they determine your ability to drive, turn, and stop quickly and efficiently. These should be in good condition before you even enter traffic, since driving without them could prove hazardous to you and the drivers around you. It may not be the sexiest part to upgrde right off the bat, but without a functional braking system your vehicle simply isn’t safe enough for any other upgrades to matter.
These repairs should also include a check and repair of any problems with the steering system, as well as any issues that might exist with the windshield or rearview mirrors. Once all these basic elements of a safe drive are in working order, then it’s time to turn your attention to some of the vehicle’s more long-term issues – starting right under the hood.
Priority Level Two: Important Background Functions
This level of repairs takes place when a driver or mechanic starts considering more long-term problems that might exist with the vehicle, which could compromise its overall performance over time. These can include substantial problems, like issues with the engine and drivetrain, or more subtle but equally destructive underlying issues with hoses, belts, and valves throughout your engine block. It’s best to have a professional mechanic inspect your used vehicle’s engine block thoroughly before hitting the road for any extensive trips, since these can usually be caught and fixed early on. Besides, these kinds of repairs are typically much cheaper than the repairs that could be required later on if they’re ignored, and could help you avoid worse problems in the future.
This is also a good time to inspect the unseen elements of your car’s inner workings, including fluids and filters that may have not been changed for quite a while. These are the lifeblood of your vehicle and can represent the difference between years of future driving and a quick sludgy breakdown in a few weeks. This, too, is a simple procedure and often much cheaper to maintain than if simply left until a problem develops. Once these internal problems are all addressed, it’s time to make sure their protective armor doesn’t have any chinks in it.
Priority Level Three: Aesthetic Updates
These are the repairs everybody gets excited about, and for good reason – few feelings are as objectively nice as riding around in a newly-updated, freshly painted classic cruiser. But while giving your used beater a fresh paint job might be visually rewarding, it actually serves an important purpose in protecting your vehicle’s precious interior systems from the elements. Having the right kind of automotive paint to fight rust and deterioration prevents environmental damage to your engine and inner systems, and can help keep your vehicle in good working order for years to come. So while these repairs may seem like a bit of a luxury to some, they can, in fact, be quite necessary to keeping your used car on the road as long as possible.
Priority Level Four: Add-Ons and Upgrades For The Future
Of course, just because your used car is back to looking like it did when it first rolled off the lot, that doesn’t mean you need to give up the fight against an aging system. For many drivers, the thrill of keeping an older vehicle going comes from aftermarket upgrades and add-ons, any and all of which can boost your car’s value and increase its utility on the road. Whether you choose up fits like roof rails or bigger and better wheels or something as simple as paint decals for added style, anything you do to make your used car better will pay off later at resale, and will make it that much more fun to drive.
By following these simple steps, you can defy expectations and keep you used car rolling way beyond its expected lifespan – and all it takes is the right attention to the right maintenance jobs to get you there. Keep this guide in mind and get yourself into a quality used vehicle – then get to work and get on the road.