How to Get More Miles Out of Your Old Used Car

Posted on 09/26/2012

The average age of cars and light trucks currently on US roads jumped to a record high of 10.8 years. That’s according to automotive market intelligence firm Polk. Your car is a major investment and keeping it running well is in your budget’s best interest. If a shiny new car isn’t currently on your roadmap, consider these tips for squeezing even more miles out of your old used car. Consider that ever-increasing odometer your badge of honor.

Follow the Maintenance Schedule Haven’t cracked open your owner’s manual in a while? You might want to do that. Stick to the suggested list of maintenance from the manufacturer and it will prevent bigger problems from popping up down the road. Pay a little now to avoid larger bills later.

Drive Slower
Sudden braking and speeding impacts your gas mileage, but it also does a number on your car over time. Drive slower and you’ll avoid unnecessary wear and tear on your vehicle.

Pay Attention to Rubber Parts
Often in older cars—ones with more than 100,000 miles—rubber parts can start to deteriorate. And a broken belt may lead to more serious issues or could require a tow when it finally snaps. If you fix those in advance you’ll avoid more costly repairs.

Keep Wheels Aligned
When your wheels aren’t aligned, unnecessary pressure and wear is put on other parts of your vehicle. Make sure you have your tires balanced and rotated as often as the manufacturer recommends.

Don’t Skimp on Repairs
Not only should you not put off repairs, you shouldn’t skimp on them either. It can be tempting to save money by using cheaper options, but your car will function better with quality replacement parts.

Use Your Nose and Ears
Your car has a way of communicating with you when there are issues. This could be in the form of a weird clanking noise or a strange engine smell. Use your senses and describe to a mechanic in as much detail as possible what you are noticing.

Find a Reputable Mechanic
Just like it’s important for you to have a doctor or dentist you can trust with your body, you need a trusted go-to expert for car needs. If you know an honest mechanic that will charge fairly, you’re less likely to put off important repairs.

By Alison Storm

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