Maintenance Tips That Will Extend the Life of Your Used Car

Whether you own a brand-new car or a used car, it is important to do everything possible to keep it in top running condition so that you will not have to put a lot of money into repair bills. Some repairs can’t be helped, as parts do wear out over time. However, there are things you can do to extend the life of your car and keep it running dependably.

Engine and Transmission Maintenance

Probably the most important thing you can do to extend the life of your engine is to change the oil regularly every 3,000 miles. New cars come with the recommendation that you can go 5,000 miles or so between oil changes. However, changing it at 3,000 miles is much better, as dirty oil means a dirty engine. Pull the dipstick at least once a week and check to make sure that the oil level is where it should be. When it changes from its fresh color to black, it’s high time to change it. Don’t forget to change the filter, too.

Another good thing to do is to run a bottle of injector cleaner through your fuel tank about every other, or every third, tank of gas. Keeping the injectors clean will mean fewer repair bills later on. The stuff in the dollar store is just as good as the higher-priced cleaner.

Keep the proper amount of antifreeze in the radiator. Antifreeze not only keeps the engine water from freezing in cold weather; it helps to cool it during hot weather. It also prevents rust from starting inside the engine. Check the radiator fluid level, too, and keep it filled. Do a radiator flush every 50,000 miles.

Check your battery every couple of months or so to see that the water level is up in all the cells. Some battery types nowadays don’t have water-filled cells, so you’ll need to know which kind you have. Keep an eye on the brake fluid and the transmission fluid, too, and don’t let them get low. In addition to making sure the transmission fluid level is up to snuff, the transmission should be flushed at 100,000 miles and all new fluid put in.

Body Maintenance

Most tire companies recommend rotating the tires every 6,000 miles. This helps them to wear evenly and last longer. You will know when the muffler gets a hole in it by the noise. Don’t put off getting it replaced when necessary.

It might not seem like it, but keeping the car clean inside and out helps it to last longer, too. Well-cared-for seats won’t wear out as quickly as they will if you let trash pile up, drop cigarette ashes, or spill drinks on them. Keep the headlights clean from road grime so they light up the dark road ahead of you, letting you spot obstacles. When you wash the car, especially if you do it by hand, you will notice little nicks and scratches in the paint sooner, so don’t skip cleaning the exterior. Painting over those little spots will prevent rust from setting in and improve your vehicle’s appearance.

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