Tips from Used Car Advisor

Car Advisor Tamotsu Todoroki

Hi, this is Tamotsu Todoroki. I am a car advisor of
I write an online column every week to take care of your vehicle. My column is all about something useful and practical for your vehicle. Please have a look once to keep your car in good condition.


6 Ways to Prolong the Life of Your Car - Vol.335

Owning a car is expensive. Between insurance, gas, and parking it can be hard to make time (and have money) for proper maintenance. However, auto maintenance is not as much of an expense as it is an investment. The more time and money you spend on proper maintenance early and often is that much less time and money you'll need to spend on expensive repairs and replacements down the road. A bottle of antifreeze/coolant is much cheaper than a new radiator! The first step is always to read your owner's manual to know what specific features your car has and what specific protocols you should take when doing any type of maintenance. If after you've read the manual you're not quite sure where to start, try these tips to extending the life of your car:

Keep Your Fluids Up
One of the most important parts of owning a car is checking the level and color of the various types of fluids that keep your car running smoothly and safely. This can ensure that you notice when a leak begins, and prevents you from ever running dry or with contaminated fluid (which can be dangerous and expensive). Check and replace your oil early and often; waiting until the last possible minute to change the oil might save you a few bucks, but it can damage your engine over time. Make sure you stay on top of your power steering and brake fluids. Keep your radiator topped off with coolant/antifreeze and keep an eye out for cracks or leaks that are forcing you to fill it up too often. Keep your gas tank full when possible to avoid condensation building up and catalyzing oxidation in your gas tank. Make sure your transmission fluid is red colored and doesn't smell or look burnt.

Change the Filters and Transmission
One important step that is easy to put off for too long is changing filters. Both the air filter and the oil filter need to be changed regularly to ensure no clogs buildup, which can damage your system. Get your transmission flushed to keep it in good shape.

Check Your Brake Pads and Use Your Parking Brake
Replace your brake pads when they are getting too worn down to ensure your brakes don't damage your wheels. Use your parking brake often to relieve strain to your brake system. If you hear squeaking even you apply the brakes, it's probably time.

Keep it Clean
It may seem like a simple cosmetic issue, but it isn't; keeping your car's exterior clean with regular washes will slow down the eventual processes of rust and corrosion. Cleaning the engine regularly to remove buildup will help to keep it from overheating so it runs smoothly for its maximum lifespan.

Proper Maintenance
Schedule auto maintenance with your local mechanic regularly so they can ensure everything is working smoothly. Mechanics can use all sorts of diagnostic tools and techniques to check that your vehicle is cruising smoothly. Small appointments here and there are a lot cheaper than the bigger appointments they help to avoid!

Driving Carefully and Less Often
While it's quite tempting to blast down the highway like the speed demon you are, driving at high speeds (especially in cities) can be very taxing on your car. Try to drive carefully, transitioning smoothly between motion and slowly coming to a stop. When starting up for the first time, accelerate slowly and take your time rolling out of the driveway in the morning. The eventual wear and tear of driving your car can be postponed by proper driving techniques.

Start/stop traffic will wear on your system over time, so avoid driving when you can. Take the bus every so often or walk to where you need to go. The less driving you do, the longer your car will last.