So, you’ve just bought a new car and you want to make sure it stays in the best condition for the longest time. While we all know cars require regular maintenance, we often think that a yearly MOT service for newer cars is enough to keep them running for years and years. While this may be true for brand new cars, if you were to buy a used car it would be a good idea to carry out some general maintenance yourself.
On average, cars last about 15 years before they need to be scrapped. Obviously, there are cars that last a lot longer than this. If you buy a used car, this clock has already been ticking for some time and if you want to get as many years as possible out of it, you need to look after it.
When buying a used car, it is important to consider maintenance costs as well. As used cars will have been running for a couple of years, the engine, gearbox and filters will be worn. It is also likely that as it gets older it will need to be taken to a mechanic for more serious problems more regularly.
Don’t panic, you don’t need to be a mechanic to perform general maintenance on your car. It can be stressful lifting the hood and fiddling with the car if you have no previous experience. A lot of these procedures are very simple, but if you don’t feel confident, it is best to consult a certified mechanic before damaging your car.
In order to avoid this, there are easy things you can do at home to keep your used car in great condition. Read on to find out the best ways to look after your used car.
Maintain the Battery
We are all aware of how important the battery is to our car’s day-to-day function, and its ability to go flat leaving us stranded. An important thing to know is that your battery could go flat if it is not used for long periods of time. If it does go flat, then having to jump-start the battery can damage it and reduce its lifespan. If possible, try and take your car for a short spin at least once a week.
Change them, regularly. Specifically, you should be changing your oil filter on a regular yearly basis. This can often be included in the annual MOT service for an added charge. If you want to avoid this, it is simple and easy to do yourself. This simple trick can drastically improve the lifespan of your car as it cleans the oil going around your engine.
While you may have been driving for a while and are set in your ways in terms of how you drive, learning to drive more smoothly can benefit your car immensely. Take into consideration the separate parts of your car when driving. Change gear slower, turn the steering wheel slower and accelerate and brake at a comfortable pace. This will reduce the wear and pressure on the individual parts making them perform better in the long run. The more aggressive you are when driving, the higher your repair costs will be and the more often a mechanic will need to be involved.
This tip can be slightly counterintuitive as we have been taught that using air conditioning uses more petrol. But, actually using the air conditioning will prevent them from leaking in the long run. If it is not used for a long period you may have to take it to a mechanic for air conditioning re-gassing which can cost a fortune. Unfortunately, putting the air-con on occasionally in the winter months is a good idea.
Your car’s fluids are like the blood in its body. While this is painful and stressful to do, this is one of the most effective ways to elongate the lifespan of your used car. Check your engine oil every couple of weeks for the level and quality. If it is dirty, then it is a good idea to replace it. It is a simple process and can be purchased from most petrol stations.
While not as important, topping up and changing your windscreen washing fluid is also important. For the sake of your windscreen wipers and vision, make this a priority.
This is another one that most of us regularly avoid, but checking your tyre pressure can have an enormous effect on the health of your used car. Flatter tyres can affect everything from the suspension to the gears. In terms of safety, your braking is also severely hampered with not fully inflated tyres. It’s important to remember that the pressure across your front and back tyres may be different. When putting pressure back in, check on the side of the tyre t see what is the correct PSI for that tyre.
Looking after your used car can seem like a chore, and it is, but committing to it regularly could put a few years on its lifespan. It is a good idea to put these tasks on the calendar at first until it becomes a habit. Be sure to check your tyre pressure, oil and fluid levels regularly to keep your used car running smoothly. Similarly, it can’t be understated how much of an impact driving smoothly can have. You will put less strain on every part of the car and keep it in better condition for longer.