The average car dies somewhere between 100,000 and 150,000 miles. My car is coming up on the lower end of that range and I’d like to see it last a lot longer than the top end. I paid the thing off in January, and I’ve grown fond of not having a car payment. Extending the useful life of your car–and continuing to use it–means fewer car payments and cheap auto insurance premiums.
Who really wants to keep making car payments month after month, year after year? I want my car to outlast me. Scratch that. If that wish come true, I’ll have a meteor fall on me the day before the transmission explodes.
How can you help your car continue past undeath, past the point when other cars have given up and accepted the True Death?
Keep Your Gas Tank Full
Here in the frozen north(though not as frozen or as north as some of you), it’s conventional wisdom to keep your gas tank full in the winter to prevent your fuel lines from freezing. Did you know you should keep it full the rest of the year, too? An empty tank is more likely to rust. Even before the rust eats a hole through the tank, there are tiny flakes of rust drifting into the gas lines and clogging the fuel system.
Change Your Oil
When you run old oil, you’re leaving contaminants and little flakes of metal flowing through all of the important moving bits of your engine. Changing your oil removes those tiny abrasive bits from the equation. I don’t recommend buying into the propaganda put out by the oil-change stores and changing it every 3000 miles, but do it regularly. I aim for about every 5000 miles, but a better recommendation is to do whatever your owner’s manual says.
In between changes, don’t forget to check your oil level and top it off when it’s needed. All by itself, that will improve your fuel efficiency and keep your car running happy.
Consistently keeping up with just these two small things will keep your car running smoothly for a long time.
How many miles are on your car? How long do you plan to keep it?