Americans are keeping their cars longer. In 2012, the average age of the 247 million vehicles on American roads pushed past 11 years for the first time. In 2007 Americans weren’t even keeping their cars for 10 years! This strategy has helped many families to save money on a car payment for quite a few years. If you’re one of the millions of Americans who has a high mileage car and has vowed to “run your car into the ground,” here are a few things you should know.
Listen to your car. If you’ve had your car for a number of years, chances are you know it well. If you hear something funny or you feel like something is off, chances are you’re right. Don’t ignore it, take it to get checked right away.
Don’t procrastinate. If you want to keep you car on the road for as long as possible, you need to fix any issues as quickly as possible. Mechanical issues aren’t going to just disappear and they will likely get much worse (and more expensive) if they are not addressed quickly.
Be gentle. Try to drive the car as gently as you can. Don’t slam on the brakes, avoid potholes wherever possible, make deliberate, gradual turns, etc. And don’t wait until your car already has a lot of miles to treat it gently – if you do this from day one your car will last much longer.
Don’t skimp on parts. Some mechanics will give you the option to choose after market parts or lower quality parts to save money on your repairs. Try to avoid being tempted by these options as you often get what you pay for. It’s best to replace old parts with high quality options to ensure that the problem doesn’t happen again. Remember, think long term and invest in solid parts that will last as long as possible!
Be a maintenance master. Oil changes and tire rotations might not seem important, but regular maintenance is the lifeblood of your car’s longevity. That means you should be getting oil changes on time and checking your tire pressure and fluids often. The best way to make sure you’re a maintenance master is to follow the owner’s manual for regular service needs and milestone tune ups.