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How to Maintain Your Car’s Drivability

How long do today’s cars last? According to Consumer Reports, only around 8 years or 150,000 miles on average. That’s not very long considering how much you spend on a car and how much you depend on it daily.

Fortunately, you can make a model last a lot longer than average with some proactive steps. Addressing issues early, before they leave you stranded on the side of the road, can extend the lifespan of anything you drive and help you get the most from your investment. No matter what make or model you depend on, uses these car maintenance tips to prolong drivability:

Read Your Owners’ Manual

This is the first item on the list because it’s both the most important and the most neglected. Your owner’s manual gives you a roadmap for keeping your car running. It likely has a schedule showing you what kinds of preventative maintenance it needs and when. The manual will also supply advice from the manufacturer about what you can and can’t do with your vehicle – eg. put on snow tires or use different kinds of motor oil. Since this advice comes directly from the manufacturer, it’s the best information available about the needs of your specific model and model year. Those needs aren’t always obvious, either. Some autos have specific but unexpected requirements that could eventually affect its longevity if neglected. Your owner’s manual might not offer a thrilling read, but it can put you in much better touch with your vehicle, which is a prerequisite for keeping it running smoothly.

Obsess Over the Tires

Of all the things on your car that require monitoring and maintenance, your tires are arguably the most important. They’re literally where the rubber meets the road – a saying that highlights how essential tires are and how much wear and tear they get subjected to. Long miles could cause the tires to lose air pressure, which throws off the vehicle steering and reduces the fuel efficiency. Aging tires are also at risk of bursting, which is extremely annoying at best and extremely dangerous at worst. You can prevent these issues by checking your tire pressure regularly and inflating your tires to the level the manufacturer recommends (printed on the side of the tire). Rotating your tires is also important, ideally with every oil change. Most important, though, is replacing your tires once they reach thresholds for age, miles traveled, or visible signs of wear. Traveling with worn-out tires is a major safety hazard that puts you, your passengers, and your ride at risk.

Always Change the Oil

Ask an expert how to maintain your car engine and he will probably tell you to change the oil. Oil is the lifeblood of your vehicle. It lubricates all the moving parts inside the engine. When oil becomes dirty and sludgy or the oil level drops too low, it can cause engine parts to seize up, overheat, and fail in countless different ways. Basically, you ignore your oil at your own peril. Conventional wisdom says you should change your oil every 3 months or after every 3,000 miles of travel. Some manufacturers acknowledge you can wait longer than that, but it’s better to be overly-cautious about your oil. Getting it changed on a regular schedule ensures it never becomes a problem. This routine also gets your car in front of a trained technician every few months, which is extremely helpful for spotting mechanical problems early. Whether it’s a dealership, a local mechanic, a big-chain lube shop, or your own driveway, find a place you feel comfortable changing your oil and commit to doing it often.

Replace Parts Early and Often

In addition to your tires and oil, many other parts of your car need replacement during its lifetime: wiper blades, brakes, timing belt, air filter, engine coolant, transmission fluid, battery and the list goes on. For all of these elements, find out what their expected lifespan is and plan to replace them close to their projected failure date. True, you may end up replacing a part that still has life in it or flushing away some fluids that could have gone for hundreds more miles. But this solution – replacing things before they fail – is always cheaper than the alternative in the long run. Why? Because it costs less to replace a part that still works than to repair a vehicle where that same part has failed – and possibly damaged other components, led to an accident, or required fees for tow trucks and emergency mechanic services. If you’re really serious about car maintenance, make a multi-year calendar that outlines every part, fluid, or component you will replace. When done consistently, staying ahead of car maintenance can keep your car running indefinitely – for as many years or as many miles as you still enjoy driving it.

Drive Differently

A hand on the steering wheel

When people think of how to maintain a car, they focus a lot more on the performance of the car than their performance behind the wheel. But it’s undeniable that the way you drive impacts the health and well being of what you drive. For example, if you frequently brake hard, your brakes will wear out faster, along with your tires; if you don’t slow down when you go over speed bumps, you may damage the undercarriage of the vehicle; if you drive recklessly in rain or snow, the chances of an accident go up significantly. Driving conscientiously at all times can help you avoid taking unnecessary risks or putting unwanted stress and strain on your car. Best of all, changing your driving habits costs you nothing all – a completely free method that could save you thousands in car maintenance.

Drive Less

It might sound obvious on a list of car maintenance tips that you can maintain the drivability of your vehicle by simply driving it less. But lots of people underestimate how much unnecessary driving they engage in on a yearly basis. Sometimes you want to drive or need to drive. However, sometimes you log hundreds or thousands of miles behind the wheel when there are viable (and often superior) alternatives to driving. Auto transport, for instance. Imagine you need to get a vehicle from one side of the country to the other. You could commit to a coast-to-coast road trip, eating up days of your time and putting thousands of miles on your odometer. Or you could ship the car, in which case it rides on the back of a car transport trailer that’s driven by a professional (instead of you). Other ways to drive less include biking or using public transport instead of driving around town, consolidating more of your errands into one trip, or having more things delivered to your home. You can keep your vehicle around for longer simply by giving it a break once in a while.

Direct Express Auto Transport – Your Partner In Car Maintenance

Unless you have a ton of time, tools, and automotive expertise, it’s hard to maintain a car completely on your own. You’re going to need some help along the way. That means working with a mechanic who can perform routine maintenance or automotive repairs if something unexpected breaks down. It also might mean working with a vehicle transporter.

People ship cars for lots of different reasons: to a winter home, for work, for school, to a buyer etc. Anytime it’s impossible, inconvenient, or just unwanted to make a drive yourself, auto haulers are willing to make the drive for you and spare your car, truck, or SUV extensive wear and tear in the process.

When you need to find a vehicle hauler, rely on Direct Express Auto Transport. We created the first online car shipping quote calculator. Now, in just a minute or two, you can connect with auto transporters across the country who are traveling through your location on route to the destination where you want to send your vehicle(s). It’s surprisingly easy. It’s also safe when you protect your car from COVID-19. If you have any questions before or after you request a no-obligation shipping quote, please contact our team.

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