How to Make a Car Last Forever

Cars these days last longer than in the past. It’s quite normal to find 11-year old cars still road-worthy and taking their owners from Point A to Point B. And if you do a quick online search of used cars being sold in the market, you will see cars with mileage exceeding 200,000. The truth is, those cars can still be in good condition. Before buying any used car, make sure to have it checked by a mechanic.

How to Make a Car Last Forever

But if you have a car with a few hundred or thousand miles in it, you can make it last a really, really long time.

how to make a car last forever

Follow the Recommended Maintenance Procedures in Your Owner’s Manual.

The company and the people who built your car may know more than a little about the operation of your car. Check the manual, and take note of the recommended maintenance per number of miles driven. If you neglect the recommended maintenance, you are courting some problems in operating your vehicle. This is especially true for cars manufactured in the past 5 years or so with electronic monitoring for most car components.

We are all busy, and the busiest people may even neglect maintenance matters, and then when the car breaks down, their schedule would go haywire because they cannot keep their appointments.

Be proactive and address the potential problems in your car long before they happen.

Check Fluids Regularly

Engine_oil_dipstickIt’s easy to check your oil. Make sure the engine is cool and that it is parked in an even pavement. Get a rag, open the hood, and pull the oil dipstick out. Wipe it clean. Put it back into its sheath, then pull it back out. This time, you will be able to see where the oil leaves a mark on the indicator. It should tell you if the oil level is low. If the oil level is within the correct levels, don’t overfill it.

Here’s another tip: it may be more expensive, but if you want to have your car for the long haul, use synthetic oil.

Other fluids you need to check include the brake fluid, the coolant/antifreeze, and power steering fluid. Do check out our post on the 5 Most Important Vehicle Checks.

Don’t floor your gas right after starting it.

Pumping your gas all the way to the floor won’t really help your engine heat up. Instead, keep the car’s rpm to the minimum and just let it run for a minute or two before driving off. This will be time enough for the oil to get pumped to all the places it needs to lubricate.

Look all over your car.

Take a look at the hood, trunk, sides, and under your car. Notice anything that might be out of the ordinary. By going around your car, you will be able to see scratches and areas where rust is starting to build up. When you look under your car, you can also see any potential leak.

Listen to Your Car Engine.

You can tell if your car is starting to come off its hinges: just make sure to listen to it–while driving and while idling. Sometimes, the noises that your car make can help you understand what needs to be replaced or repaired. Unless you’re a trained mechanic, you probably won’t know where the noises come from and what they mean. If you hear odd noises for the first time, schedule a trip to your mechanic.

Avoid Short trips.

Most Americans can’t live without their cars. That’s probably because most American cities do not have train systems and other means of efficient and reliable public transportation system. To help your car reach those high-number mileage, avoid short trips, which the AAA defines as “trips of less than five miles in normal temperatures, or less than ten miles in freezing temperatures.” With shorter trips, the car will not reach its optimal operating temperature, which means that it will not be able to burn down oil, water, and exhaust, which could lead to it becoming nasty sludge.

Drive with Care.

Driving with care does not mean driving like your grandma. Don’t go alternating between pushing the accelerator down hard and the braking hard. This practice won’t give you good mileage for your car. And it won’t be good for your car, too. Besides, drivers who act like they’re always on a race even on the interstate and in country roads tend to be involved in accidents.

Speaking of being careful, if your car is getting older, its safety features may become outdated. That means you will also need to read up on safety rules and whether your car meets them or not.

car-washKeep it clean.

A clean car is good to look at and it inspires confidence. If you see a shabby, dust and mud-ridden car, you would expect its driver to step out looking like someone who got out of bed and forgot that they have some appointment! But a clean car evokes confidence and attention to detail.

But keeping your car clean has another important benefit, especially if you do it yourself. You will be able to notice scratches, cracks, and other small things you would otherwise miss.

Replace Some Parts.

Since your car has lots of small components. These components may break down over time. The only way to ensure the longevity of your car, you’ll need to replace them. Be prepared to replace bearings, bushing, suspension, and belts. The parts themselves are not very expensive, but labor could drive your costs up. As much as possible, try to replace them all together at the same time.

 

Forever might be overstating a little bit. But the point is that if you want your car to last for a long time, you need to take care of it, and set aside time and some money for maintenance procedures you need to make. Who knows, your grandchild just might be able to turn into a vintage car 20 – 30 years from now.

5 Most Important Vehicle Checks

Drivers, especially the ones who have experienced a car breakdown, know why car maintenance is important. It may sound like there are a gazillion things you should remember about maintaining your car, the truth is, you could just go to a trusted mechanic and have them inspect your car and your good to go.

5 most important vehicle checks

5 Most Important Vehicle Checks

Dentists are helpful, but you also need to regularly brush your teeth to keep it clean and in good working order. Similarly, in between visits to the mechanic, you should be aware of the important vehicle checks you can make.

Oil, Antifreeze/Coolant, and Other Fluids

You should know by now that the oil functions as the blood of your car’s engine. Oil ensures the smooth working and rotation of all the moving parts of your engine. As you drive across hundreds and thousands of miles, exhaust gasses from the cylinders, tiny pieces of metal will mix in with the oil. If that happens, the oil’s effectiveness will be reduced significantly.

Also, since the engine heats up every time you drive, the viscosity or thickness of the oil will be reduced. And without the right thickness, or if the oil gets significantly thinned, if you don’t change it when it’s due, the engine parts will wear out faster, and will lead to your engine’s breakdown sooner than you would expect.

Oil can be changed within 5,000 to 10,000 miles depending on the kind of oil you used on your car, and on the recommendation of the manufacturer. Consult your owner’s manual to be sure. Newer cars also come with electronic monitoring now, so you will need to rely on your car’s dashboard system if that’s the case.

In addition to your oil, do check your Antifreeze/Coolant to make sure it has the right amount. If it goes below the recommended amount, your engine may overheat and you will have bigger problems on your hand. Remember, an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.

You should also check other fluids: brake and clutch (for manual transmission cars), power steering, and transmission. If you let these fluids go below the recommended levels, your car will deteriorate much faster.

Check under your car for any leak. Those are potentially dangerous if left unchecked. They may also lead to rusting and other problems under the hood.

Brakes

brakepads

Whether you drive mainly in the highway or in hills and country roads, your brakes can spell the difference between safety and a life-threatening accident. It’s just one of the those things that are easy to take for granted. You step on the brakes and you slow down, or grind to a halt.

Take it for granted at your own risk. You don’t want to be in that position where you step on the brakes and your car keeps going.

Keep in mind that the more you brake, the faster the wear of your brake pads. So you better check them when you start hearing some metallic screeching noises when you step on the brakes. Even without that grating sound, it’s always a great idea to check them regularly. You can go to places that offer free brake checks for your car, or when you have your oil changed, you can ask them to take a look at the brake pads, too. Not all cars have them. But some newer cars come with a built-in electronic indicator that will light up when your pads are all worn out.

Tires

You don’t need to rely on guesswork when checking the status of your tires. Every tire actually has wear indicators. Check in between the treads. You should be able to see and feel ridges that are about 1/16th of an inch. Your tires should not go deeper than this because it would be unsafe to drive. Thin tires are prone to punctures and they would also be prone to overheating.

Make sure to check your tires every month. It’s not very difficult and it only takes a minute or two. just run your fingers over the tread on the inner and outer edges. If you feel anything out of the ordinary, go to your tire shop and ask them to check more thoroughly for you.

Air Filter

Air plays a very important role in your car engine. As the engine burns fuel, it needs air. Don’t let the air filter get clogged with dust and dirt. That would lead to lower mileage for your car. Not only that, the way your car runs would become sluggish and rough.

You will need to change your air filter between 5,000 to 7,000 miles driven. If you drive through lots of dust, mud, and in places with really bad pollution, you may need to change it more frequently. Fumes from your own engine will also affect the longevity of your air filter.

Check Engine Light

You should really pay attention to your dashboard. If you notice any indicator light that lights up, you should check your manual to learn what that is all about. Some of those are more serious than others. It wouldn’t hurt to learn about basic maintenance that will address those matters.

 

Maintaining your car regularly will help you make it last for a long time. Don’t fall into the trap of taking your car for granted. The right time to keep your car working is when the problems have not yet appeared.

Why is Car Maintenance Important?

It’s great to drive a car–when you’re coasting down the interstate almost beating the speed limit. Or just cruising down country roads while your favorite music blares from the speakers.

Cool, right?

What’s not too cool and easy is the maintenance your car needs periodically. It can be a pain, and it can be expensive. But you cannot avoid it. Well… you can, actually. But if you neglect maintenance, sooner or later, you’ll suffer.

Why is Car Maintenance Important?

Long before you see and feel the tell-tale signs of a car going wrong, you need to know that as a driver and car owner, you need to keep your car road-worthy.

broken-car-vehicle-vintage-large

A car is an investment.

No, it’s not like a stock or a mutual fund. But it’s an investment that will help you do your job and move you from Point A to Point B. Sure, the value of your car will depreciate and go down over time. But if you take good care of it, it can pay dividends for your career, and even your personal life. It can enrich your relationships as you go to different places. For some people who are down on their luck, a car can even be their shelter, albeit temporarily.

Take good care of your car, and it will take you places; literally and metaphorically.

Keep your car running smoothly.

By following the prescribed maintenance for your car, you will ensure that it runs smoothly most of the time. There will be that occasional flat tire; you may scrape it at a pole or with another car, but by taking care of its exterior, interior, and its engine, the chance of your car dying on you becomes smaller.

Ever heard of Murphy’s Law: what could go wrong will go wrong… and usually at the worst possible moment? Badly maintained cars tend to conk out at the worst possible moment–when you got an examination coming up, or you need to go to your job interview, or there are some other deadline you need to deal with.

Regular maintenance will help you avoid those situations.

Save money.

The most common excuse for people missing out on their regular car maintenance is that they don’t have the money to pay for it. And that they are better off driving their car if it’s still fine. Their motto is “if it ain’t broke, why fix it?”

Here’s the bad news. It may be more expensive if you wait to repair your car when it breaks down. Check out the following table from Bankrate.com on the true cost of not maintaining your car.

cost of foregoing car maintenance

By regularly maintaining your car, you are actually preventing it from breaking down. You will end up saving money on costs associated on a car that breaks down.

Save time.

Of course, you also save time if you regularly maintain your car. You save yourself from the hassle of having to skip a working day because your car conked out on the way to the office. Not just that, if a car breaks down, it will take more time to fix it.

 

Are you still asking whether car maintenance is important?

Being a driver isn’t only about having your hands on the steering wheel, being cool while driving and cruising on the streets. You gotta make sure that your ride lasts for a long time. While your car isn’t the measure of your worth, the way you take care of it reflects on you.

30 Must Have Car Accessories

Owning a car isn’t just about getting from Point A to Point B, it’s an extension of your personality. It can even feel like a temporary home while you’re driving. If you want your driving to be comfy and hassle-free, get these 30 must have car accessories.

30 Must Have Car Accessories:

Most of the accessories we chose below are less than $100, but if not, we indicate how much they cost. You probably don’t need every single one of them, but over time, you can build up the accessories you use and get all of them.

Jump Starter

For those times when your car won’t start because of battery problems. This is particularly useful during the cold season, and for older cars that may have weak batteries. Older cars also don’t automatically turn off your headlights when you turn the engine off.

The good thing is, a lot of jump starters now have additional accessories that will let you include other accessories listed below. Saving money and getting extra perks is always good!

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How Long Does it Take to Wax a Car

You can go to an auto detailing shop and have them apply wax to your car, watch TV, read a book, or browse Facebook, and then wait until they tell you it’s done!

Piece of cake!

Some people though want to do things on their car by themselves. It’s a bit cheaper, as long as you don’t damage anything. There’s a learning curve to all things related to car maintenance and detailing. It won’t be perfect at first. Heck, it may even be a botched job, but over time, as you learn to do it right, you’ll save time and money. You’ll even have a better appreciation of your car.

If you have a white car and you want to apply wax to your car, don’t forget to check out our guide on how to take care of a white car.

I know, what you busy people want to ask: How long does it take to wax a car?

The answer is: it depends on several factors.

How thorough do you want to be? What kind of wax are you using? Do you want to include the time it takes to wash your car and prepare it for waxing? How about claying the car? Will you be using a machine? Or will you apply it by hand?

The time estimate also depends on the size of your car, and your fitness and stamina. I mean, you could probably wash your car and then wax it within 3 hours if you can do it real fast!

We looked at the forums, blogs, and any other places online where people who wax their own cars made their confessions. Here’s a sampling of what we found:

  • For a Honda Civic (or car of a similar size) claying takes about 1 hour; 1 hour to wax it. The whole process could take about 5 hours.
  • For a full blown multi-step detailing process, it could easily take about 8 hours or more.

If a friend or a family member helps you with the process, you could potentially reduce the time in half. But if he or she botches the job, then you will end up doing it for double the time.

Detailing experts would actually tell you that waxing, itself, is a quick process. Preparing the car for waxing: now that takes time!

But waxing your car is an important part of taking care of its exterior. And doing it right will take as long as doing it haphazardly. You might as well do it right, be thorough, and make sure to do a good job.

How to Take Care of White Car

People choose the color of their car based on different factors: their favorite colors, their mood that day when they went at car dealerships, or maybe the color of the car was dictated by the price of the most affordable car.

In this article, we’ll give you some solid tips on how to take care of white car, but before that, let’s explore some of the reasons why people choose a white car, some of the challenges of owning a white care, and then what you can do to help make your white car look clean and nice!

No matter the reason, white cars are the most sold worldwide! There’s a reason for that.

It ranks within the top three car colors for ease of maintenance. You would expect a white car to be a dust, dirt, and grime magnet like a white shirt or a white piece of paper. But no. Actually, it can hide dirt and grime pretty well.

White, as a color, also makes a car look larger. Contrast that with black, which tends to make a car look slim. (That’s the same principle in fashion.) White does not absorb a lot of heat, and helps cool your car on hot summer days.

And if you go deeper, white is a minimalist color, and to be be honest, it can be quite boring. But if you’re the practical type of person who doesn’t want to spend lots of time and money detailing your car, then white is almost perfect!

White Car Maintenance Challenges

Make no mistake, though, white car can also be tough to maintain.

If it rains, or if you pass by roads with puddles and mud, make no mistake about it–your white car will show the grime kicked up by your tires. In fact, it is the car color that will show the most hard-hitting grime.

If a bird poops on your car, or if you parked under a tree and the sap falls on your car, they will show like pimples on a teenager’s face.

Scratches will also be very noticeable. If you don’t take care of your car’s exterior regularly, it can be the focal point for dirt and rust. It will be very noticeable!

Because a white car can conceal dirt and grime well, it can make you lazy!

Don’t be that guy or gal who shows up at the office parking with the dirtiest white car. It’s not a very good sight and it will reflect on you.

Over time, white paint will turn yellow and chalky because of oxidation and the impact of the sun. That’s why you really need to protect your car paint with the right care and products.

How to Take Care of White Car

First off, have your car washed thoroughly. After having it washed, get the following products, which you will need for the upcoming steps.

Products you’ll need:

The Chemical Guys created a YouTube video that helps you keep your white car clean.

We have distilled the tips they gave in text format below, with annotation and screenshots to help you follow along more easily.

Inspect your car closely.

A white car receives as much contamination as any other car–they are just more difficult to spot. So after washing it thoroughly, check every panel of the body for swirls, and dirt that need to be dealt with. It would be better to park in a shade, or inside your garage. If you do it inside your garage, having a work light will help you spot those areaes more easily. When you’re a newbie, it may be more difficult to do this, but as you get more practice, you’ll soon learn how to spot those dirt.

Pick the dirt off your car surface.

Once you identified the dirt you need to remove from your car, get a Waterless Wash & Wax solution. The Chemical guys (in the video above) recommend the EcoSmart RU brand, but you can also go to Amazon.com and buy the Meguiar’s. Same solution, different brand names.

  • Spray your car’s coat with this Waterless Wash & Wax solution. Tip: Don’t make it drip.
  • Give it about 15 seconds to agitate the dirt.
  • Get the microfiber towel and wipe it off in one direction. As you wipe it, give it a slight roll of your hand to prevent dirt from building up at the area where your wiping motion ends.
  • After doing this for the whole car, let it haze it up and then buff it off to help the wax shine.

Clay your white car.

The Ecowash will not remove all contaminants from the car’s coat. That is where claying comes in. Get the clay and prepare for some rubbing action.

  • Don’t forget to spray the spot you want to clay with a clay luber. If you use the clay by itself, you may end up scratching and damaging the coat.
  • Use just a third of the clay bar. Knead the clay into a small disc. Then rub the clay into the car: up and down, left and right.
  • When your clay gets dirty, just knead it again, and reuse it. This claying process prepares your car for waxing, which is the next step in the process.

Apply a protective coating.

This step will apply a protective layer on your car. It’s like a second skin or a force field if you will. You can use the Chemical Guy’s SS6 Protective Coating. But you can also check out other products.

  • Make sure that your car is cool to the touch. That means, it shouldn’t have been running for a long time. Probably best to do this in the morning, or in a shade or garage somewhere.
  • Spray the SS6 into the applicator. Then apply it in a single motion, panel by panel.
  • Buff it off with your microfiber towel.

Apply White Wax

If you want long-lasting protection for your car, apply a white wax. If you followed all the steps above and have used the SS6, applying a good white wax can provide protection to your car for as much as 2 years! If you use wax by itself, it will protect your car for 6 months.

By applying wax, you will also bring out the brightness of your car’s white coat. Here’s how to do it:

  • Apply the thinnest coat possible. Use your applicator pad and apply wax panel by panel.
  • After applying wax to the whole car, cure for 20 minutes. That’s how long it will take for the wax to dry and bond with the paint work.
  • Buff it off to reveal the bright white color.

If you want to see this in action, watch the following video.

A white car sounds like easy to maintain. And that’s half true. All cars are subject to the same contaminants and dirt. That is not an excuse for you to let go of regular cleaning of your car. But if you take care off it periodically, you will protect the coat of your white car, prevent dirt and rust, and keep your car for a long time!