It’s becoming much more common these days for Americans to keep their cars for as long as they can, exceeding 100,000 or 150,000 or even and impressive 200,000 miles on the odometer. In fact, it is estimated that the average age of a passenger vehicle in the United States is about 11 years. That’s quite a long time to have a car, especially when you tack on long commutes to work.
Even though Americans are keeping their cars longer, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t paying some sort of price for it in repairs. Luckily, there are things you can do right now to help extend the life of your car and try to reduce the price on future repairs. Read about our 10 tips below to help you get the most out of your older car!
Love Your Windshield Wipers – Those wipers on the windshield (and on the rear window, if you’re lucky) work hard to keep your windows clean in the rain and snow. Make sure you take extra care of them to help extend their lives! Keep the rubber portion of your wipers clean – they work the best when they’re free of dirt and debris. Wipe them down once a month with denatured alcohol (91%) to keep them working like new; they’ll be able to hold to the glass and wipe water and debris away better this way.
Maintain the Tires – How long your tires last are about 30% composition and 70% care and maintenance. That means how you treat your tires will be a great factor in how long you can keep them! Extend their use by keeping them aligned, rotated regularly, and properly inflated, especially during seasonal changes. This will help you get the most out of your tires without uneven, premature wear becoming an issue.
Stay Informed – Many cars have known problems that will appear under certain circumstances or after enough mileage or time has passed. There are many forums and websites devoted to a great number of makes and models and can provide a great deal of information. Knowing what your car is prone to can help you be prepared for it when it comes.
Ease Up on the Brakes – Just like your tires, you can make or break the longevity of your brakes and brake pads by the way you treat them. Punching the breaks regularly is a good way to shorten their lifespan, let alone waste gas and increase your vehicle’s emissions. Make it a habit to allow your vehicle to come to a stop gradually and pushing on the brakes gently. A little love goes a long way!
Fix Everything Promptly – If you want to keep your old car for as long as you possibly can, you’ll need to make sure that make repairs as soon as something breaks. Don’t ignore minor issues like broken trim, electrical glitches, or torn upholstery – these annoyances can add up in no time and mar your love for your car.
Use Quality Replacement Parts – Whenever there are repairs to be made on your car, make sure to use the best replacements you can find, whether it’s genuine manufacturer parts or not. If a non-wearing part happens to be damaged, consider purchasing a used replacement. Remember, you get what you pay for!
Let It Shine – Paint does more than just make your car look chic; it also protects all of the materials underneath. Be sure to wash your car regularly, especially after there has been salt or chemicals on the road. Remember to give your car a nice wax job at least twice a year as well!
Treat the Battery Well – Technically, a vehicle’s battery should last you for a number of years trouble-free. If not properly cared for, the battery won’t last very long. Check your battery’s water levels regularly, if you can, and keep it healthy by using a solar battery charger if you don’t drive for long periods of time. Also, try not to run your accessories such as your stereo, iPod, or GPS without the engine running – this is a great way to run down your battery quickly.
Follow the Owner’s Manual – When it comes to maintaining your vehicle, the manual will be the first thing you want to refer to. Use it as a guideline for getting your vehicle serviced, but remember that some items will need to be replaced based on time instead of mileage. When in doubt, ask a trusted mechanic for his or her professional opinion on the matter.
Cover It Up – You might not think about giving your car some shelter, but think about how much weather it’s exposed to every day. The elements over time can break down the metal and plastic in your car. Slow down the process by storing your vehicle inside a sealed garage. If you don’t have a garage, try to keep it safe underneath a carport or a breathable car cover. This will keep your car looking like new.
Of course, accidents happen, and in those cases it’s always wise to have a reliable insurance company you can trust to protect your car. That’s where Madison Mutual comes in. Call us at 1-800-766-MMIC or find us online at www.madisonmutual.com to get started on the right foot today!