In a tougher economic climate, it’s important to save money where you can. One of the most expensive purchases you might be facing is a new car. But did you know you can take easy steps to make your car last longer and delay having to buy a new one?
Follow these tips below to see how you can keep your vehicle on the road for longer.
Follow Your Owner’s Manual
When you buy a new car, you should receive an owner’s manual which details your car’s maintenance schedule. The schedule recommends when to get a tire rotation, oil change and a timing belt replacement, as well as other services.
While most people never read this manual, following this maintenance schedule is an imperative aspect of lengthening your car’s life, according to Consumer Reports. Some vehicles now have a built-in system that alerts you when it’s time for maintenance, too.
If you don’t receive the necessary service on time, your vehicle could develop problems that could shorten its life span. For example, neglecting to change your oil could cause engine issues and damage.
If you live by the ocean or on a mountain, drive through a city often, tow with your car or take short drives, Consumer Reports cautions you may want to follow the severe-use maintenance schedule in particular. (Yes, frequently making short trips can actually be harder on your vehicle than long ones.) A severe-use schedule recommends different intervals for services and typically suggests that you get oil changes more often.
Related: How important is scheduled maintenance for my car? >>
Select Quality Parts
During the time you own your vehicle, you will likely need to replace a few parts. While it can be tempting to choose less expensive aftermarket parts, Consumer Reports proposes that you pick parts that match the manufacturer’s specifications in your car’s manual to be safe.
For example, buying the cheapest tires could save you money in the short-term, but adds up in the long run because they need to be replaced more often or could develop problems.
It’s also a good idea to make sure you purchase the right type of fluids for your car. Many manuals suggest synthetic oil, especially for supercharged or turbocharged engines to withstand high thermal stress, according to David Muhlbaum, Senior Online Editor for Kiplinger. It depends on how new your car is and what your auto repair shop offers – so consult your manual before deciding.
Regularly Inspect Your Car
One of the best ways to keep your vehicle running for longer is to be proactively alert and aware of any problems. As you drive, keep an eye (and ear) out for potential issues, because identifying them early on could save you money and prevent additional damage.
Muhlbaum says you should use your senses when inspecting your car. If you notice a burning smell when checking your oil or transmission fluid, you may need to head into a service department. In addition, if you hear squeaks or bumps while driving, let the service technician know. John M. Vincent, a senior reporter for U.S. News & World Report, also says you should regularly inspect your fluids and ensure that they are at the correct levels.
Another great time to inspect your car is when you clean it. Not only can cleaning the exterior help protect the finish, but it can also give you a chance to look for loose parts, scratches or rust.
More Savings Tips From Minster Bank
By following these tips, you’ll be on your way to getting more miles out of your car and enjoying your drives for years to come. View the owner’s manual for your car to learn more about caring for your specific vehicle.
When it is time to purchase a new vehicle, be sure to think about these common hidden costs so the final price tag isn’t a surprise.
Next Read: 7 Hidden Costs of Buying a Car >>
Published by Minster Bank
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