Do you want to continue driving as long as possible with your car, without it costing you a lot of money? By following a few simple rules created by the British consumer website WhatCar? you have years of extra pleasure from your car.
1. Choose your way carefully
This may seem like far-fetched, but it isn’t. If you use a very difficult road every day, this can be disastrous for your chassis. The result? Worn shock absorbers, crooked rims, and damaged tires. A detour on that road without barriers can extend the life of your shock absorbers by thousands of kilometers.
2. Use your brake to brake
That sounds logical, but many motorists with a manual gearbox slow down ‘on the engine’. This causes extra load on the bearings, which shortens the life of the components of your gearbox. So if you need to slow down, don’t use the engine brake, but the foot brake to lose speed.
3. Leave your air conditioning on
Some drivers refuse to switch on their air conditioning because ‘this increases fuel consumption’. However, modern air conditioning systems are very efficient and by switching them off during the winter, for example, you cause enormous damage to the seals and other components.
So if you finally use it, the system will probably leak or an important part is broken, which will ultimately cost you more than what you have saved on fuel.
4. Link management
If you have a manual gearbox and rest your foot on the clutch pedal, the clutch will be partially engaged, making it wear faster. It may seem like an obvious point, but do not drive your foot on the clutch. It’s amazing how many people do this.
5. Use your garage
Many people have a garage but do not use it to store their car. They put the lawnmower in it and other things. By storing your car, you prevent the car from rusting, the sun fading the interior and the interior getting very hot on sunny days – something that does not benefit the dashboard and interior.
6. Gases, but in moderation
Today, all diesel engines must be equipped with a soot filter. To prevent the filter from becoming clogged, you must regularly rotate a little to burn the filter. Gasoline engines also benefit from occasional driving at higher speeds, since this prevents all kinds of residues from being deposited on parts of the engine.
7. Cold start? Rather not
An engine has the heaviest five minutes after it is started. A cold engine has little lubrication because it is at the bottom of the block and is thick. The wear is, therefore, the heaviest with a cold engine and that does not only apply to the winter. Before the engine is warm, it is recommended to switch at 2,500 rpm with a gasoline engine and 2,000 with a diesel. Better yet: grab the bike for short distances if possible.
8. Refuel on time
If you are one of those people who regularly run out of fuel, you run the risk of damaging the fuel system. This is because sediment usually collects at the bottom of the tank and if the engine always runs on fuel from the bottom of the tank, it is likely that the pump, the filter and possibly even the injectors can become clogged, leading to high bills leads.
9. Start your engine in it’s ‘free’
When you start the car, do not do so in gear and with the clutch engaged. This causes extra load on the starter motor. It may seem like futility, but over several years and thousands of starting procedures, this can make more difference than you think.
10. Keep your paint clean
Some cars have plastic or aluminum panels, but most still have a steel bodywork. Rust has a better grip on dirty cars than on clean ones, so wash it regularly and occasionally wash the paint. Also handy: choose a ‘hot wax’ treatment in the car wash. That stuff comes in places where you can’t reach by hand.
11. Be alert for crushed stone
A piece of paint that has been removed by crushed stone does not seem serious, but because the rust can go its own way, you will have a rotting hole within a few years. So be quick and spot the damaged spots with a varnish marker.
12. Choose rust prevention
If you have your chassis and hollow spaces treated professionally against corrosion, these will last longer. Brands such as Dinitrol or other types of wax are an example of effective rust prevention.
13. Use synthetic oil
If there is one thing that helps extend the life of your gearbox, engine, and differential, it is using clean oil. Mineral oils age is much faster than synthetic alternatives. However, be careful if you have a classic; synthetic oils can be too thin for older components.
14. Protect your plastic
Plastics such as rubber strips, cover caps, and convertible top must be protected against UV radiation and dehydration. There are special products for sale on the market that serve as lubricants and protective agents. By applying a little every few months, it can help to extend the life of your car’s seals considerably.
15. Pay attention to the alignment of your tires
Even if only a small part of your tires is worn out, the entire tire will be rejected. So make sure your tires are properly aligned. Sometimes the cause is in worn rubbers or track rods. Replacement is often relatively cheap and it prevents uneven tire wear.
16. You can learn how to lubricate
Locks, hinges, and connections dry out over time and then start to wear out. Applying a little three-in-one lubricant can make a big difference from time to time for how quickly things wear out.
17. Check your tire pressure
This seems obvious, but it is still a point that most people overlook. If your tires only have a few millibars less air than prescribed, they will wear out faster and your engine must work harder. This also means that your fuel bills will be slightly higher. So check your tire pressures every few weeks. Don’t pump them up too hard, because they will wear harder in the middle.
18. Pay attention to recall actions
Car manufacturers must regularly recover their cars due to a design or production problem. You can check through your dealer whether your car is affected by this. If you fail to implement the improvements, a small error can lead to a major problem. The recall campaigns are free, so not having them performed is not smart.
19. Careful with chemicals
Light-alloy wheel cleaners can be acidic, which means that the paint on your wheels is destroyed and the metal then corrodes. If you are a regular at cheap car wash sites, be careful. The spray cans can contain strong chemicals to speed up the cleaning process – with the possible side effect that your new rims will look tired and dull very quickly.
20. Checking prevents repairing
And then there are the obvious tips: check your oil and coolant regularly, watch your engine temperature and other lights on your dashboard and follow the prescribed service intervals. Also regularly check your air filter, cooling hoses and fuel lines. The water pump and any V-belts or chains around the engine also deserve attention.