Saving money is on everybody’s mind these days. There was a time when hitting 100,000 miles on your vehicle’s odometer meant it was time to start car shopping. But lately, more and more people are making it a personal challenge to keep their vehicles running longer and save a little cash.
Here are six quick tips for taking your car that extra mile.
• Keep up with routine maintenance. Get regular oil changes and have your mechanic change the fuel and air filters as needed. Look in the owner’s manual for a list of services and service intervals that are recommended for your vehicle.
• Change the oil regularly. Many manufacturers recommend an oil change every 7,500 miles; see more details in our post Don’t rely on your dashboard: change your car oil regularly.
• Use a good motor oil. When you get an oil change, use a high-performing synthetic oil, such as Cenex® Maxtron®, to help take your vehicle that extra mile and improve fuel economy.
• Watch for warning lights. When the check engine light is illuminated, take your car to the mechanic as soon as possible. But pull over immediately to avoid further damage if the engine oil light, engine temperature gauge or brake light start to glow.
• Drive smart. Make a habit of accelerating slowly, using cruise control on the highway and easing up on the brakes. Not only will you avoid accidents, but smart driving is less taxing on the engine and brake system.
• Limit shorter trips. On drives that are less than 10 minutes long, car engines can’t reach full operating temperature, resulting in extra wear. Try to combine errands and short trips. Plan a route that avoids backtracking, congested areas and hills.
By taking care of your vehicle now, you can help ease hefty repair costs further down the line. What it comes down to is patience and luck. It can be a difficult decision to pay for repairs on older vehicles, especially when those costs are comparable to the value of the car. But repair costs are a small price to pay compared to monthly car payments. Regardless of the size or type of vehicle, it’s almost always more affordable in the long run to make repairs than to replace a vehicle.