Rock Talk

Five Tips to Get More Life Out of Your Car

Last updated on May 16th, 2017 at 02:42 pm

Whether you trade in your car for a fresh set of wheels every couple of years or you plan on running your 1989 Ford F-150 into the ground, caring for your vehicle makes a lot of sense. Regular maintenance can maximize your trade-in value and help your vehicle run well into the six-digit mileage range. Here are some tips to get more life out of your car.

The first tip? Perform regular, routine maintenance. Follow the recommendations in your owner’s manual for oil changes (stick with the more frequent “severe conditions” interval), fluid maintenance, spark plug replacement, and more. Keep your tires at the proper inflation, rotate them every 5,000 to 10,000 miles, and replace them when necessary. Don’t delay tending to a check engine light or other warning light.

Nothing your father didn’t preach when you started driving, right? Adhering to the basics is a strong foundation for prolonging the life of your car. But if you really want to squeeze out the extra miles or extra dollars at trade-in, follow these four more tips:

  1. Keep It Clean
    Inside and out. According to AutoTrader.com, a clean car usually fetches a higher value at trade-in. Maintaining a detailed car is also beneficial for the health of your vehicle by preventing rust and corrosion. In addition to regularly washing your vehicle, park in shade when available to prevent sun damage to your paint and interior upholstery. Touch up nicks to prevent further damage. And since New Jersey is a Salt Belt state, consider professional rust protection or, at the very least, be sure to wash your vehicle (including the undercarriage) regularly during the winter months.
  2. Run Your A/C in the Winter
    Speaking of cold weather, blasting cool air in your face may be the last thing on your mind during a chilly New Jersey morning. But winter use is important to prevent a dry start in your air conditioning system when warm weather hits. During the winter months, turn on the A/C a few times to circulate the refrigerant and keep the compressor healthy.
  3. Don’t Downshift to Slow Down
    Edmunds.com busts the age-old myth that downshifting a manual transmission car is done to slow down. The true purpose of downshifting is to be in the proper gear to accelerate out of a corner. The deceleration force that downshifting does produce is hard on the transmission, clutch, and other parts. Brakes cost less to replace and are more efficient at slowing your vehicle down.
  4. Change the Timing Belt on Time
    OK, this one is probably covered in your manual, but it deserves extra attention. Often overlooked (and usually out-of-sight), timing belts can cause serious and costly damage when faulty. Check your owner’s manual for your recommended replacement mileage (usually between 50,000 and 75,000 miles, although some can last up to 100,000).

It may sound like a lot of work, but a little money regularly spent on maintenance can save you from costly repairs or loss in value down the road. At Plymouth Rock Assurance, we’re hoping these tips (and a little luck) can keep one of our cars on the road long enough to challenge the 1966 Volvo P-1800S Guinness World Record holder with over 2.8 million miles!

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