It’s a simple fact. The nicer you are to your car, the nicer it will be to you. Sure it won’t last forever, but a little TLC can make a big difference. Here are a few car care tips to keep in mind:
- Get in the habit of regular engine oil and filter replacements: They are the biggest factor when it comes to your vehicle’s life.
- Replace your timing belt in accordance with your vehicle manufacturer's recommendations: This is generally about every 100,000 km. When in doubt, check your owner's manual.
- Properly align and balance your tires: Having your wheels properly aligned and balanced makes tires last longer. It is a good idea to rotate tires every 10,000 km to preserve them. If you frequently drive at high speeds or negotiate tight turns in parking areas, this should be done even sooner.
- Schedule preventive maintenance: Remember that preventive maintenance should be a part of your yearly scheduled car maintenance. Vehicles, like people, need to refresh sometimes.
- Take your car onto the highway at least once a month: If you regularly drive in stop-and-go traffic, you should take your car on routes where you can legally drive (yes, legally) at highway speed for at least 20 minutes, at least once a month. This will heat up the engine and burn off condensation that can attack both the oil and the internal parts of the engine.
- Wash and wax your car regularly: Keeping your vehicle looking good shouldn’t be underestimated when it comes to your car maintenance checklist. It helps prevent damaging rust from occurring by repairing paint chips and dents as soon as they appear. Keeping your vehicle washed and waxed regularly and having undercoating applied based on driving conditions will also help keep your vehicle looking great.
- Run your vehicle's air conditioner for about 5 minutes each month, even during winter: This will keep the system well lubricated and help to prevent failure. During the summer, remember to run your vehicle’s heater for about 5-10 minutes, at least a couple of times, to prevent the air distribution system from sticking or seizing up.
Looking after your car doesn’t just extend its life – it also feeds your pocket. If your car is well maintained and shows signs of routine maintenance and a history of regular services, not only will your car last longer, your trade-in or resale value will go up as well.