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The average lifespan of a car before it reaches the scrap yard is approximately 14 years, while the average time a car stays on the road is around eight years. However, there are steps you can take to extend the life of your vehicle and reduce its running costs.

We have compiled a list of simple and practical tips to help you keep your car running smoothly for many years. By following these suggestions, you can ensure that your car remains on the road for an extended period while minimizing maintenance expenses.

Maintain Your Battery

If your vehicle has been sitting idle for a long period of time, the battery is likely to deteriorate and lose charge. To maintain the battery’s optimal condition while your car is in storage, it is recommended to use a trickle charger. Alternatively, a battery conditioner can be used if the battery appears to have a lower-than-usual charge.

In the event that your car battery goes flat, you may need to jump-start it. However, it’s important to note that this can place additional stress on the battery and potentially impact the engine management system and other delicate electronics.

To care for your battery without relying solely on a trickle charger, it is advisable to drive your vehicle at least once a week. This is particularly crucial during the winter months.

Change Filters Regularly

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Over time, it is important to regularly replace the air filter and oil filter in your vehicle as they can become clogged. Both filters should be changed as part of your routine car service.

Fortunately, these tasks are relatively simple, especially the replacement of the air filter. If you have the time and inclination, you can choose to do it yourself and save some money in the process. Alternatively, you can consider reaching out to a mobile mechanic who can conveniently perform the job right in your own driveway.

In addition to regular replacement, you can also extend the life of your air filter by cleaning it. Consult your vehicle’s handbook for specific recommendations on filter changing and cleaning. When replacing the filters, it is crucial to use genuine parts. Avoid using cheap, poor-quality filters as they can potentially cause long-term damage to your engine.

Try To Drive Smoothly

When driving your car, it is important to practice “mechanical sympathy” by familiarizing yourself with the controls and understanding how they work. This approach allows you to optimize fuel efficiency and minimize wear on vehicle components.

Simple actions such as using the pedals, gearbox, and steering wheel smoothly can help avoid sudden braking, which saves fuel and reduces the risk of expensive repairs. By driving smoothly, you not only contribute to a greener environment but also extend the life of your car. Additionally, anticipating the road ahead allows for better fuel economy, helping you save money at the pump.

Moreover, it is advisable to occasionally accelerate your engine to the redline, especially if you have never done so before. This helps prevent carbon deposits from accumulating and potentially causing issues with the intake manifold, valves, and other vital parts, which can affect engine efficiency and even lead to misfires.

However, it is crucial to perform this acceleration on a quiet road and when the engine oil has reached operating temperature. Diesel car owners should also be mindful of potential issues with clogged diesel particulate filters (DPFs), which are designed to capture harmful exhaust emissions.

Replace Leads and Spark Plugs

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As vehicles become more advanced, many car owners and drivers prefer to leave the servicing to professionals. However, replacing high-tension leads and spark plugs is a relatively simple task that can improve engine performance and is worth considering doing yourself. Before proceeding, always refer to your vehicle handbook and adhere to the recommended service schedule.

When inspecting spark plugs, ensure there are no signs of deposits, excessive wear, melting, and that the electrode and insulator appear light brown. A poorly conditioned spark plug may need replacement due to wear or indicate underlying engine issues.

If a new spark plug already shows a gap between the insulator and electrode, it suggests engine performance problems. In such cases, it is advisable to consult your local garage for further assistance.

For high-tension leads, if you notice signs of severe wear or cracks, it is time to replace them. Opting for a reputable garage to handle this task is recommended. However, if you possess the necessary knowledge and experience, and feel confident, you can perform the replacement yourself by following the instructions in your vehicle handbook. It’s important to note that these instructions do not apply to diesel cars, as they do not use spark plugs.

Use Your Car’s Air Conditioning

You could either lose it or use it. This phrase can be applied to air conditioning. Over time, air conditioning systems will leak refrigerant gas, especially when not in use regularly. You might save some fuel if you do not use your air-con, however, you might end up paying for air conditioning re-gassing. That is why you should occasionally allow your vents to blow cold even during the winter. If you believe that you need to re-gas, then you should visit a garage near you.

Refill Fluids Regularly

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Always remember that fluids are vital for your car’s performance and longevity. Regularly replenishing them is crucial to prevent potential issues. Every two weeks, take the time to check your car’s lubricants and engine oil.

Ensure your vehicle is parked on level ground, open the bonnet, and locate the dipstick. Wipe it clean with a rag, reinsert it, and check the oil level. Ensure it falls between the maximum and minimum marks. For petrol engines, the oil color should be a light yellowy-brown.

If you observe that the oil is dark and dirty, it’s time for a replacement. Keep in mind that diesel engine oil may naturally develop soot due to the combustion process, so dark-colored oil is normal for diesel cars. Additionally, check the windscreen washer bottle and coolant reservoir every two weeks. Replenish the coolant with a mixture of 50% antifreeze and 50% distilled water. When refilling the windscreen washer bottle, use shop-bought screen wash only, as household washing-up liquid contains additives that can potentially affect the vehicle’s paintwork.

Checking your oil and coolant levels regularly can prevent breakdowns and safeguard your engine. This simple task can have a significant impact on your car’s performance and longevity.

If you’re in need of reliable auto repairs in Garden City, ID, look no further than Treasure Valley Auto Care. We offer a range of services, including brake repair and muffler repair, delivered with transparency, honesty, and friendly customer service. For more information, please contact us at 208-385-0339.