How to Make Your Car Last Longer

woman checking oil of black car in winter

With the cost of new cars rising and the amount of inventory dropping due to supply chain issues rooted in the pandemic, more of us want our vehicles to last longer.

The average age of cars on the road is just over 12 years, a number that has increased in recent years.

Reaching 200,000 miles on the odometer, once almost unheard of, now happens as often as 16 percent of the time, depending on the vehicle.

So how do you keep your car on the road longer? Here are five ways to increase your odds of reaching that milestone.

Clean out your garage

That structure at the end of your driveway is built to house your car, not bikes, pool equipment, and lawn mowers.

Protection from the elements — rain and sun as well as snow and ice — keeps your vehicle in better condition, thus helping you avoid expensive repairs. And garages, especially those with automatic locking systems, protect vehicles from vandalism and theft. 

Keep your vehicle maintained

Oil changes are non-negotiable, as is regular maintenance, like having spark plugs, belts, and air filters replaced when needed. Driving on worn tires can be dangerous and lead to accidents; Check tire pressure frequently to avoid driving on under- or over-inflated tires.

Having a trusted mechanic who is familiar with your make and model of vehicle can keep your car on the road longer by providing it with the right service at the appropriate time intervals.

Avoid short trips

Quick drives don’t allow your motor to reach ideal temperatures, which keeps the oil from lubricating your engine’s components. Try to combine trips when possible; it's also more economical and will save you time in the long run.

Keep it clean

Things like the hot sun, salty air, dirt, snow, and/or road salt all take a toll on your vehicle's exterior and interior.

Keeping the exterior clean will also make dings and scrapes more obvious, which can alert you to the need for preventative body work. If you can't afford professional detailing of your car every six months, which some experts advise but can cost several hundred dollars a pop, you can schedule one once a year (when winter ends) or get regular car washes to keep corrosive elements off your car's exterior.

Turn off the music

Listen to your car instead of Dua Lipa. If something sounds or feels wrong, get it fixed now rather than later. Letting problems accumulate only leads to bigger (more expensive) problems. 

No one knows your vehicle better than you; after all, you’ve shared thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, of miles together. You are the driving force behind keeping it on the road for a long time. Take this responsibility seriously and your car, and your wallet, will thank you. 


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About Author

Sandra Quadros Bowles
Sandra Quadros Bowles

Sandy Quadros Bowles is a veteran journalist who has received local, state, and national journalism awards. A resident of New Bedford, MA, she is an animal enthusiast, an avid reader, and an enthusiastic traveler.

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