Shower Some Love On Older Vehicles
Ours is a throwaway culture, but some of us hold onto our cars for years and years. These jalopies become hand-me-downs for our teen drivers, or we drive them until they can go no more.
Maximizing the life of an older vehicle takes some work, but it’s an investment that can return years of faithful service.
Tony Molla, vice president of the Automotive Service Association, recommends setting a maintenance schedule to maximize the life of your vehicle. For starters, look at the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule to form a foundation.
But don’t stop there.
“The manufacturer's recommended maintenance schedule should be a starting point for your vehicle maintenance plan, not the final authority,” Molla said. The need for periodic maintenance hasn't changed. In fact, the need for periodic maintenance has never been greater if you expect to get the most out of one of life’s biggest investments.”
Molla offers the following suggestions for older vehicle care:
- Change your oil filter every time you change your vehicle oil. Contaminants can collect in the filter, cause erosion and shorten engine life span.
- Monitor fluid levels. Oil boils and evaporates in extreme heat, so check the oil and replenish as necessary. Check the brake fluid, coolant, transmission and power steering fluid as well.
- Don’t overlook belts and hoses. Cracked belts or worn hoses can disable a vehicle in a matter of seconds. Have your service advisor check your serpentine belt for cracks and hoses for leaks during every oil change.
- Check tires for wear and tear. Traction is especially important during winter and balding tires don’t grip the road particularly well.
- Rotate and balance your tires. Rotate your tires every 7,500 miles to ensure they wear as evenly as possible. Keep your tires balanced to reduce the stress on shocks, struts and steering components.