In other articles in this section I talk about preventing car theft and preventing car damage, but what about making your car last longer? Think about it. Theft prevention and appearance preservation are not the only ways you can protect your car. You can extend your vehicle's serviceable life by many years through basic maintenance.
In the year 2000, the average age of an automobile on the road was 10 years. Ten years of serviceable life is not all that bad, but you can certainly do better with proper maintenance.
Cars built today are far more reliable than those built a decade ago, but quality only goes so far. You have to maintain the machine. Going beyond standard oil, air and fuel filter changes, as an example, makes a huge difference in engine wear, reliability and economy.
The best way to prolong the life of a car is through regular, preventive and predictive maintenance of your vehicle's engine and critical systems. Most of the recommended maintenance procedures are simple and affordable. Even though advanced diagnostic equipment is required to diagnose modern car problems, do-it-yourself car owners can still do basic maintenance themselves.
The obvious upkeep is a schedule of regular oil changes and filter changes, including the oil filter, fuel filter and air filter. Most new cars have the ability to travel extended miles between oil changes, as compared to just a few years ago. My new SUV, for example, has a 15,000 oil change interval. This is a minimum requirement to meet warranty requirements, but most mechanics will tell you more often is better. I have set a schedule of every 6 months or 8,000 miles for my vehicles.
Don't forget cleaning the inside of the engine, too. Many car experts recommend cleaning the inside of your engine every 25,000 to 30,000 miles with a motor flush. While you can't see it, varnishes and sludge accumulate inside your engine. Changing your oil does little to remove this harmful contamination. A motor flush product will break down internal contamination build-up, so it can be flushed away when the oil is drained.
It is also important to keep what’s under the hood clean, and not just for appearance’s sake. Dirt and grease build-up can be harmful to your car’s engine. A build-up of grease and grime can contaminate your engine, binding linkages, clogging vital passages and inhibiting heat transfer.