So, you’ve just paid off your car. It seemed like it took a million years, but finally, you can relax and not worry about monthly payments.
You may be thinking that you need to buy a new car. After all, while it didn’t really take a million years to pay it off, it did take a while, and your odometer shows that you’ve been driving it for well over 100,000 miles now. Isn’t it time to get a new car?
Not necessarily. If you could drive your car for another 100,000 miles how much money could it save? It’s financially smart to keep your car running for as long as you safely can. According to Consumer Reports, motorists who have a car that hits 200,000 miles, which generally takes around 15 years, end up saving $30,000 or more over purchasing a new car.
Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be difficult to reach 200,000 (or more) miles, especially if you have a dependable model. But you will need a plan to get there. In other words, like with any car and a far-away destination, you need a road map. Milex Complete Auto Care / Mr. Transmission is here to help you extend the life of your car.
Make sure your car gets scheduled maintenance. Nobody wants to hear that, of course, because maintenance costs money, and as we’ve established, who wants to spend money? But an oil and filter change, a new battery, replacing a timing belt or the spark plugs is much less expensive than securing a car loan with interest and payments that stretch out over several years. And the fact of the matter is a car won’t last indefinitely if you don’t take care of it. You brush your teeth, so you won’t get cavities. You try to exercise regularly so you can maintain your health. Taking care of a car is a lot like taking care of yourself. If we don’t pay attention, we get run down and our parts wear out.
Use full synthetic oil and not synthetic blend or conventional oil. Yes, the full synthetic oil is more expensive than the others but think of it as eating your vegetables versus potato chips. If you eat a lot of junk food day after day, week after week, month after month it is causing unseen damage to your overall health. Eventually, a bad diet will catch up to you and you will be in for serious health issues, most that aren’t reversible. But the nutrition from fruits and vegetables and a well-balanced diet give your body what is needs to protect itself which is undoubtedly better for you. Well, the full synthetic oil is that better diet. Full synthetic oil has fewer impurities, superior friction fighters and is less prone to break down than the Synthetic Blends or conventional oil. You also can get up to 7,000 miles between oil changes. That’s more than double the miles between oil changes than synthetic blend or conventional oil.
Make sure your radiator gets regular coolant/antifreeze changes. Why? Because your cooling system and radiator will thank you. Your cooling system and radiator keeps your engine from getting too hot or too cold. Well it’s actually the thermostat that does the work. When it is working properly it will regular the flow of coolant through the radiator based on the temperature of the coolant. Temp too hot the thermostat will open. Temp to cold, the thermostat will close. Keep all parts of your cooling system is good working order comes down to the coolant. How often should you worry about changing your coolant? Not all that often, fortunately. Your car’s owner manual will give you the recommended frequency, but typically, every 30,000 miles or about every two years.
If your engine is too cold, your fuel economy can be affected, and you may be doing damage to your catalytic converter. What you really want to avoid is having your engine become too hot. If that happens, you might find yourself on the side of the highway, with steam coming out of your engine while you look on your phone for a tow truck. If your engine overheats, you may be able to get it serviced without too much trouble. But, sadly, it also may be the end of the line for your engine.
Pay attention to the dashboard lights. When the “Check Engine” light comes on it is for a specific reason, so get it checked out by an Auto Service Technician. Parts stores can run the codes but many times you are talking with someone that does not have the training to determine what is wrong. Auto Service Technicians have advanced diagnostic scanners that will show ALL codes whether drivetrain related or not. It is beneficial to have all the information available about your vehicles condition and someone who is trained to interpret that information. You can also learn a lot by reading the manual that came with your car. It’ll tell you what those dash warning lights indicate, outline the required maintenance for your vehicle and advise you on when to get your vehicle checked out.
Take care of your tires. Tires don’t affect the rest of my car, you may think. Well, it can affect the rest of your car. Maybe a bad tire will just lead to a flat, but it could also cause a blowout and if you have ever had a tire blowout you know how scary it can be hanging onto the wheel for dear life. For your safety be sure to get wheel alignments, tire rotations and check your tire pressure on a routine basis. Look for the signs that your wheel’s need aligning. Your car will give you signs, like; vibration, shaking or wandering while you drive, or uneven wear on your tires. These all indicate that something is wrong. Next time you are in for your oil change at Milex Complete Auto Care / Mr. Transmission we will complete a complimentary performance check on your vehicle and one of the many things we look over will be your tires. Our goal to keep you safe and your’ car operating reliably, which makes you Road Ready.
In short, take care of your car, and it’ll take care of you. Most vehicles can reach 200,000 miles and beyond. It all depends on how you take care of them. Understand that when the car payment ends the maintenance and up keep does not. The silver lining is that annual maintenance cost for an older car is most times far less than a year of car payments.
If you still have questions, please stop by and see us at Milex Complete Auto Care / Mr. Transmission.