Today’s cars last a lot longer than they used to. We still see some that last longer than others, however, it’s not always the make or model that determines this. All too often, it’s how a vehicle is taken care of that can make all the difference. Vehicles are very expensive to replace these days and anything you can do to keep your car longer will save you thousands of dollars in the long run!
Below is a list of suggestions to both make make your car go further and maximize its resale value.
1. Perform Preventative Maintenance On Time
Cars definitely require less maintenance today than they ever have in the past. But, there’s more to servicing your car than oil changes and fixing what’s broken. From replacing spark plugs to changing vital fluids, your car needs to be serviced in a timely manner to help prevent premature failure of major components. Engines, transmissions, differentials, transfer cases, and other major components are very expensive to replace. Replacing these fluids on time, before they get dirty and less effective, is not only the key to preventing internal wear, but will end up saving you lots of money in the end.
2. Get Your Vehicle Rust Protected
Kingston, Ontario, is in a high corrosion area where there is lots of wet, damp weather, not to mention the massive amounts of salt that is applied to our roads every winter. These conditions accelerate corrosion and, unless preventative steps are taken, will cause your car to rust away until it’s not worth keeping. Besides how bad a rusty car can look, this corrosion can even make your car unsafe should it ever get into an accident. Weakened floors and frames on vehicles from rust can drastically reduce it’s ability to properly absorb energy during an impact. Resale value will also be greatly affected when a vehicle becomes a rusty pile of nuts and bolts.
Today, there are mainly two types of rust protection available – rust inhibitor sprays and electronic rust inhibitors. In our view, electronic rust inhibitors have not proven themselves effective as we see many rusty vehicles with these devices installed. On top of that, we often see the wiring connections to the electronic module itself rusted away. In our view, the best protection is through some type of oil spray treatment. This oil treatment creates a barrier between the moisture and salt and your vehicle’s body components. When rust protection is applied annually, a vehicle will last much, much longer and dramatically improve your resale value! We recommend Krown Rust Control in Kingston.
3. Change Your Oil More Frequently Than Is Recommended
Generally, engines are lasting longer today than they ever have. Improvements in manufacturing processes, along with advances in engine oil, both play a big part in this. But, manufacturers have also increased the recommended service interval between oil changes. We’ve seen a number of engines fail prematurely when the owner stuck with the recommended service interval – and they usually fail outside of the warranty period!
On a daily basis, we see cars that have both low and dirty oil conditions. All engines burn very small quantities of engine oil as a normal part of combustion. In some cases, an engine may even run out of oil long before the dashboard says it’s due for replacement! Some manufacturers have even recalled vehicles in order to modify the oil change interval warning systems on their dash after experiencing multiple engine failures as a result of stretched out service intervals. It’s important to know that the oil change reminders on vehicles today are merely calculators that try to predict when the oil should be replaced. They do not analyze the level or quality of the oil as you drive!
So, in our view, the cheapest thing you can do to maintain your engine is to have the oil changed more frequently. Our recommendations are to replace your oil every 5,000 km to 8,000 km, depending on the type of engine oil your vehicle uses. We also recommend changing your oil at least every 6 months, regardless of the mileage driven.
4. Get It Professionally Inspected At Least Twice A Year
These days, it’s normal to have your car serviced only two or three times a year. Often, this service coincides with spring and fall when you would normally swap over your winter tires or perhaps get your oil changed. With so few opportunities to have your car checked out each year, we don’t recommend leaving these inspections to some fast lube chain where their only goal is to sell you a belt or a filter on top of an oil change. Getting your vehicle properly inspected by an experienced technician at a respected service and repair shop will be the key to coming up with a plan for the service your car will need both today and down the road. Plus, they stand a much better chance of identifying an issue long before it becomes something major or even causes you a breakdown.
So, we strongly recommend that you find a good, full-service auto repair centre in the Kingston area that can take care of you for the long haul. If you don’t already deal with one you’re happy with, we’d recommend Car Medics, of course! (View an example of our Car Medics’ digital inspection here). If you’re from another city or plan on moving to one, we even have tips on how to identify a great repair shop from an average one. Either way, just call or email us and we’ll be glad to help you any way we can!
5. Keep Your Car Clean, Inside And Out
Regular cleaning, both inside and out, will help keep your car in great condition. Sand and salt can cause wear on paint surfaces as well as wear on interior carpets and floors. The use of rubber floor mats that capture water and salt from melting snow is also highly recommended. We’ve seen many vehicles rust from the inside out after too much moisture from winter boot traffic soaks through the carpets and corrodes the floor underneath. We recommend having your car professionally cleaned, at least the interior, at least once a year. The resale value of a car can be greatly affected when it has stains on upholstery or damaged carpeting. As an added bonus, you’ll feel great driving your car when it’s nice and clean and in like-new condition!
6. Don’t Put Off Needed Repairs
When you hear a noise, see fluid leaking or have a warning light illuminated on your dash, get it diagnosed and repaired as soon as you can. A vehicle that is maintained in proper working order will not only be more reliable, but will be worth more as well. I sometimes compare outstanding car repairs to unpaid charges on your credit card. If you don’t pay the balance on your credit card regularly and continue adding charges, the balance gets higher and becomes harder and harder to pay off. Likewise, if you let multiple issues with your car pile up and go unrepaired, you can reach the point where there are so many things wrong that the car is no longer worth fixing. In addition to this, not performing repairs in a timely manner may even cause other parts to fail, costing you even more!
People tell me that they often buy a new car so that they can feel confident that nothing will go wrong. The same feeling can be achieved by knowing that your current vehicle is properly maintained, fully repaired and always ready for the road!
These are Car Medics’ recommendations based on our experience as a diagnostic, service and repair centre in the Kingston, Ontario area for past 28 years. We are often aware of common problems with most makes and models and can certainly recommend a service regimen that’s right for you and your car. If you have any questions or would like to discuss service or repair on your vehicle, contact our Car Medics’ team. We’re always accepting new patients and would love to help you get more out of your car!