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.


Caring for and Rejuvenating Your Aging Car - Vol.378

If you are anything like us, you love your car and want to see it last a lifetime. Most people get very attached to their cars, each one seems to have its own unique personality and quirks. When the time comes to let a car 'die', most of us have to admit that it's hard to imagine ever finding another one we'd love quite as much as the one before.

So, how do you care for an aging car? Can we help our cars to feel and look rejuvenated when we notice our ride looking a bit weathered? We have found some interesting and not so difficult ways to assist our cars to age gracefully. These simple tricks will help you to prolong the life of your beloved aging car, and you will have it running smoothly and looking great.

Establish Priorities
Keeping an older car driving safely on the road involves a lot of ongoing maintenance. The best way to determine what to attend to first is knowing what is key to the upkeep of your car. The parts that could cause you to lose control on the road are the ones that need the most attention.

When it comes to safety, the brakes, the tires and the steering are crucial. Let's look at what maintenance is necessary for each one:

To ensure the brakes work effectively you need to bleed them regularly. Also, check the color of the brake fluid on a regular basis. Don't worry, this is no trickier than an oil change. One way of staying on top of this task is by bleeding the brakes twice a year when rotating the tires. It's best to flush out the brake fluid every two years and to replace the rubber brake lines every 7 years.

Keep the tires at optimal inflation and check the treads every six months. If you live in a region where you change from winter to summer tires twice a year, then rotating the tires on the vehicle will also ensure they have a longer life.

If your car has power steering, then you need to check the steering wheel lines every time you give your vehicle a full service. It's also important to check the steering fluid regularly too.

These are the most important maintenance tasks. Now for those parts a little down the list of priorities.

The things that could leave you stranded need just as much attention. Items like the coolant hoses, fuel lines, CV joints, timing belts, accessory belts as well as the fan need to be checked and changed when they show signs of wear and tear. If you don't keep an eye on those parts, you are likely to end up either stranded at the side of the road or faced with a major repair job.

You can see the condition of the coolant hoses when you lift the hood to put more windshield washer fluid in the dispenser. Additionally, if there is an odor of pancake syrup coming from the running engine or you spot drips of green fluid under the car, check the water pump promptly. The fuel lines, fan, belts, and CV joints need to be looked at by someone who is highly experienced in car maintenance and repair.

Lastly, we have the items that keep the car alive. Get into the habit of ensuring that the coolant, as well as the transmission fluid, are at the right level.

Ultimately, you need to service your car regularly, in the course of which you can check the oil and see if it needs changing. The oil should be amber and clear, and if it's not, then you need an oil change.

These are some ways of keeping your older car running well. It's also important to keep the paint job clean and repair any areas where it's cracked and may start to rust.

Also ensure that the windshield is kept in good condition, repairing any small cracks as soon as they happen.

Do It Yourself versus Professional Car Mechanics
Many people with older cars also love to work on them rather than go to a mechanic. Indeed, they do know their car better than anyone else. But, there are areas where having a professional mechanic attend to your vehicle is just a really good idea. This individual will have the necessary equipment to check the critical steering and suspension components. Don't do jobs you are not equipped or skilled to do, after all, we are talking safety here.

With due care and attention to your beloved not-so-new car, you'll enjoy your rides for years to come.