As the auto industry struggles to overcome the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, there’s a shortage of new cars and the prices of used cars are through the roof. That means you may need to drive your current vehicle a while longer.
Stepping up the maintenance -- and spending a little money to do so -- may help you get some extra miles out of your current ride. Our friends at Kelley Blue Book (KBB) offered us some advice to keep cars running longer.
It starts with how you think about your current car or truck. If it’s dirty inside and out, it’s no fun to drive and that may affect how you drive it. The experts at KBB suggest getting the vehicle detailed, restoring it to like-new showroom condition.
If you have the patience, you can do most of it yourself. It includes an exterior wash and polishing, vacuuming and steam-cleaning the interior and trim, conditioning the seating surfaces, scrubbing and brushing crumbs from crevices, and wheel cleaning/tire dressing.
If there are some dents, spend a little money to have them repaired. Also consider cleaning, polishing, or replacing oxidized, cloudy headlight lenses.
Regular oil changes
Next, keep track of your mileage and get regular oil changes. Traditional oil should be changed every 6,000 to 7,500 miles, while synthetic oil can go up to 10,000 miles or once a year.
If you have a lot of miles on the vehicle, check the owner’s manual to see if it’s due for a tune up or significant servicing. It won’t be cheap, but it’ll be a lot less expensive than buying a new vehicle.
Don’t overlook a coolant flush. The fluid prevents engine overheating from the combustion process. Failure to flush and replace it can result in it breaking down, causing the engine to run hotter than it should, reducing the life of the engine. KBB suggests a flush every 30,000 miles.
Brake and tire inspections are part of annual safety inspections in most states. If an inspector says the brake pads are beginning to show wear, consider replacing them sooner rather than later. Regular tire rotations every 10,000 miles will help prolong tire tread life.
Until new cars become more plentiful and used cars come down in price, spending a little money on your present vehicle may prove to be a useful strategy that will save money in the long run.