Pre-owned vehicles can break down often. Follow these used car maintenance tips to keep your investment on the road longer.
After years of bouncing from car to car, you're finally ready for a reliable vehicle that won't cost you a fortune in repairs and maintenance costs. But every used vehicle is going to run into problems from time to time. Still, you wonder if there aren't some used car maintenance tips that can lengthen the life of your new purchase. Thankfully, there are.
Most of the common problems with used cars are avoidable through regular maintenance practices. However, it's important to know what those common problems are, how to stave them off, and what usage milestones you should be paying attention to through the lifespan of your car.
A few milestones
Most engines and transmissions should last well beyond 100,000 miles of use, but it's at that point you should begin to pay particular attention to the behavior of your car's primary parts. Brakes, on the other hand, typically last less than 60,000 miles and should be inspected every 30,000 miles or so.
In fact, 30,000 miles is a good marker for regular inspections and tune-ups. Many of these used car maintenance tips are do-it-yourself, but if you're not handy under the hood, you might want to consider enlisting a trustworthy professional to help you. Just make sure to get a few quotes to compare prices.
1. Check and change fluids regularly
Without enough clean fluids, your vehicle won't operate at all. Your oil, for example, should be changed every 3,000 to 5,000 miles. You should also check the fluid in your radiator, transmission, brakes, and power steering at the same time.
2. Check battery
Checking your battery is a quick and easy bit of maintenance that can save you a lot of trouble later. Especially in the age of iPhones and other electronic devices that we plug into our car outlets, it's important to check the battery as often as you change your oil.
3. Check engine compartment
It doesn't take a professional car mechanic to know that there are all sorts of caps, knobs, hoses, belts, and other things inside an engine that make it function. Don't wait for the "check engine" light to illuminate before checking in on these different components. (And when the light does come on, don't ignore it!)
4. Inspect and rotate tires
Tires suffer more wear and tear than most car parts. They are also one of the most important safety features on your car. Inspect the treads seasonally and check your tire pressure weekly. Tires will last approximately 50,000 miles, depending on how and where you drive. To stretch the life of your tires, be sure to rotate them every time you change your oil.
5. Replace brake pads
Despite all the friction they sustain, brake pads last a very long time. You can probably get away with changing them only once every 60,000 miles. Ask your mechanic for the best recommendation.
6. Don't overload vehicle
This may sound like strange advice, but overloading your vehicle puts added stress on the chassis and suspension, among other things. If you want to go the extra mile to ensure a long life for your new used car, consult the owner's manual for maximum capacity and stick to that number.
7. Use correct octane fuel
Fuel choices aren't really choices at all. Using a lower octane fuel than your vehicle requires can actually cause problems down the line. Consult the owner's manual or check with your car dealer to determine which octane is right for your vehicle.
8. Keep your motor running
Maybe you don't plan to use your new vehicle that much? Don't make the mistake of assuming that leaving it idle in a driveway will reduce maintenance costs. In fact, doing so could drive them up. If you don't plan to drive often, make sure to run your engine for 5-10 minutes at least once a week (twice in the winter) to remove internal condensation and keep the battery charged. It's a simple task that could save you hundreds or even thousands down the line.
New or used, no vehicle is invincible, which is why it's important to have the correct insurance policy in place. Contact Pekin Insurance today so we can help you protect your investment.
Do you have other helpful used car maintenance tips? Leave us your advice in the comments below.