Three Ways to Make Your Car Last Longer
I love my auto mechanic. I really do. Not only is he the kind of guy who can pinpoint a problem based on the sound (I believe) I’m hearing – “My car’s making a ‘screecrunch’ whenever I apply the brakes,” – but he has, on numerous occasions, saved me a ton of cash through his repair suggestions and preventative maintenance tips. Plus, he’s honest. For me, the adage rings true: A good mechanic is hard to find.
I found one, and that’s why when visiting my car guy recently for a routine oil change, I posed this question: What are the top things car owners can do to make an automobile last longer? Here are the top three things, in his honest opinion, he recommends:
1. Rotate, balance AND align tires on a regular basis. Depending on the tire itself, most auto shops recommend a rotate and balance every 5,000-6,000 miles. Having this maintenance performed not only allows your tires to wear more evenly, it also gives you a smoother ride. As far as aligning, my mechanic suggests at least once a year to prevent uneven tire wear.
2. Change the oil. Yep, this is a big one that is often overlooked by motorists. The conventional wisdom for the timing for oil changes used to be every 3,000 miles, but some cars can go 5,000 miles between changes. This is especially true for late-model cars. New cars usually have a little caution light that’ll tell you it’s time for maintenance, but as with your gas gauge, it’s best not to wait until the indicator illuminates. For obvious reasons.
3. Besides oil, other fluids should be replaced regularly. Based on the particular automobile’s recommendations, fluids in the transmission, radiator, power steering and brakes should be taken care of. A quick flip through the owner’s manual should let you know when to replace specific fluids, but if you have a good mechanic like mine, they’ll check these every time you go in for an oil change or other service.
By following these three suggestions you and your car should have many happy travels together.