What’s the secret to getting your car to last a long time? The truth is, there’s no secret. It comes down to regular maintenance. Follow these 10 rules to keep your car running hassle-free, year after year.
Rule 1: Oil
Check and change the oil. It sounds simple, but nothing destroys an engine faster than neglecting oil-level checks and fresh oil changes. The single best way to make an engine last is to carry out regular oil and filter changes.
Rule 2: Coolant
Once a year, flush the cooling system and change the coolant. A 50/50 mix of coolant and distilled water will prevent corrosion and deposits from building up inside the cooling system.
Rule 3: Transmission & differential oils
This one’s often overlooked, but change transmission and differential oils. Always use the transmission fluid and gear oil recommended for your particular car, and check your manual for how often you need to do it.
Rule 4: Keep it clean
You probably wash the outside of your car, but virtually anything you run over can get stuck to the underside. Hosing off winter salt and road grime is a good idea, but get rid of grime and brake dust from the wheels with a specialist cleaning product such as Autoglym Wheel Cleaner.
Rule 5: Grease
Grease is the word. Everything with moving parts needs grease to survive, and poor lubrication is a major contributor to a short car life.
Rule 6: Wax
Every 6 months, use a quality car wax such as Autoglym HD Wax to keep your paint protected and looking good.
Rule 7: Plastic
To protect the interior plastic, try and park in the shade. Use a window deflector screen and apply a UV protectant to prevent plastic and vinyl from drying out.
Rule 8: Wheels
Inspect, clean, and repack wheel bearings with wheel bearing grease. Check your manual for how often you need to do this. After all, wheel bearings and grease are much less costly than spindle and hub replacement – or worse, wheels rolling off down the road ahead of you.
Rule 9: Brakes
“Brake fluid attracts moisture, which in turn causes components to corrode and fail. Replace fluid and bleed the system once a year.” advises automotive specialist from Aardvark Automotive Solutions.
Rule 10: Read the book
Your car’s manual is a treasure trove of information about your car’s inner workings, and it’ll tell you the recommended maintenance schedule. If you purchased a used car without its manual, try searching online. The chances are, someone’s got it posted.