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How to Make Your Car Last Longer

A few simple maintenance checks carried out regularly can help improve the lifespan and safety of your vehicle, and most importantly reduce the cost when it comes time for your service or MOT. But maintaining your car doesn’t just deliver benefits whilst you own it, it’s likely to also increase the value when it’s time to sell or part exchange it.

Here are 4 of the easiest maintenance checks you can quickly do yourself, and 5 driving hacks that can also prolong the life of your car.

Maintenance tips:

Check your battery

If you’re not using your car for an extended period of time then consider using a trickle charger to keep the levels topped up. The last thing you want is to have a flat battery when you are in a rush!

Change filters

Air and oil filters will usually be changed as part of your yearly service, but they’re easy enough to change yourself and you could save yourself a few pounds by taking care of the labour. Your vehicle handbook will tell you how often the filters should be changed, and how to change them.

Regularly top up fluids

Check your engine oil, coolant and screen wash levels fortnightly and top up when required. Allowing levels to drop too low could cause poor functioning of the engine, or leave you wiping mud and grit across your windscreen because the screen wash has run out in the middle of the motorway!

Check your tyres

A weekly check of your tyres is recommended, as they are your car’s only points of contact with the ground. Check the pressure, wear and tread depth (legal limit is 1.6mm within the centre 3/4 of the tyre), and look out for any obvious signs of damage and perishing. Just because you dont use the car often doesnt mean the tyres will last a long time, as leaving the car standing for long periods can cause significant perishing within the tyre. So it is good practise to check your tyres reguarly regardless of how much you have used you car.

Driving hacks:

Occasionally rev your engine

It’s sensible and fuel efficient to avoid revving your engine too high, but occasionally giving it a blip can help avoid carbon deposits building up where they shouldn’t. But only do this once the oil has properly warmed up!

Use your aircon in Winter

Using your aircon in the Summer is a matter of necessity, but in the Winter it’s also good system maintenance. Using it regularly avoids the system leaking too much refrigerant gas.

Use your brakes, not your engine to slow down

Engine braking may feel like it’s saving your brake pad wear, but it transfers it instead to the drivetrain - especially the clutch and transmission which are much more expensive to fix or replace!

Keep your hand off the gear lever

Even a small amount of constant pressure on the gear lever when you’re not actually changing gears can cause pressure in the gear box below it. This pressure increases the friction around the vibrating parts, which can accelerate the wear. Keep your hand off the gear stick until it’s time to change gear.

Don’t run low on fuel

It may feel like you’re being more economical by hunting around for the cheapest fuel station, but allowing your car to run low can draw in air and debris from the bottom of the fuel tank. This comes into the engine which can clog up and corrode the fuel pump and filters. Instead, aim to fill up when your car is a quarter empty.

If in doubt about how to best maintain your car, please don’t hesitate to give us a call here at Smallbone and Son Cars on 0121 472 7139. It’s still important to have your car regularly serviced, even if you are doing some of these checks yourself.