A typical age for a vehicle when it is scrapped is 14 years old, whereas the average age of cars that are on the road is more like eight years.
Don’t fret There are a few easy actions you can follow to give your car the best chance to reach the end of its life.
With the assistance from RAC patrol ambassador, Chris Burgess, we’ve compiled an easy-to-follow list of tips to cut down on running costs and ensure your vehicle is in good condition for many years to be.
1. Keep your car’s battery charged
If you don’t drive your vehicle for prolonged durations, your battery will begin to degrade and eventually go completely flat.
You might want to consider using a trickle charger to keep your battery charged if your vehicle is stored in garage for a long time, or use a battery conditioner if the battery seems to be holding less charge than normal.
If your battery goes flat, the need to jump-start a car adds additional stress to the battery, and could cause damage to engines management systems as well as other electronic components that are delicate: an added burden of wear.
To ensure your battery is well-maintained with no trickle charger, it is recommended to drive your vehicle every week at least If you can, especially in winter.
2. Change filters frequently
The oil filter in your car and the air filter get clogged with time, which is why it’s crucial to replace them on a regular basis.
They must be replaced in conjunction with scheduled maintenance, however they are both relatively easy jobs especially an air filter change, so you may consider giving it a test and save some money along the way. It is possible to hire an auto mechanic who can perform an appointment from the comfort in your own driveway.
It is possible to extend the lifespan of your air filter by cleaning it as well. Check your manual for tips regarding cleaning and changing the filter Be sure to make use of genuine parts. Filters that are cheap and of poor quality can cause damage to your engine in the long run.
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3. You can drive smoothly… the majority of the time.
The ability to drive with mechanical sympathy is something you must practice every day. This means that you should be able to operate the controls of your vehicle and understanding how it functions.
This will help reduce the amount of wear on components and make the most of your fuel. Simple things such as using your steering wheel, the gearbox, and pedals in a smooth manner are essential as is looking ahead in order to lessen the necessity for sudden braking.
However, if you don’t rev your engine to its maximum carbon deposits may accumulate and clog the intake manifold, valves and other components, reducing effectiveness and possibly causing an engine fire.
It is recommended that you let your car rev up to the redline at least every couple of hundred miles, however only when the oil is hot and you’re on a an uncrowded road.
Diesel vehicles may also experience issues with blocked Diesel particulate filter (DPFs) that are specifically designed to block harmful emissions from exhaust.
A longer drive every month can aid in clearing the roads of.
4. Make use of your air conditioner
“Use it or perish’ a cliche that can be applied to air conditioning.
Air-con systems will release refrigerant gas as time passes especially if they’re not frequently used.
Turning off your air conditioner can help save on fuel, but you may end up paying an expense for the gassing of your air conditioner instead.
Yes, it’s true that you should sometimes letting your vents go cold during winter, too.
5. Replace the spark plugs and leads.
As vehicles become more complex, motorists are less likely to perform themselves the maintenance.
But, replacing spark plugs and high-tension leads is a simple task you can complete yourself to improve the performance of your engine.
Remember that you must always refer to the manual for your vehicle prior to making any decisions and adhere to the maintenance schedule however.
If you are inspecting the spark plug, make sure whether it’s:
an electrode with a light brown color and insulation
There are no indications of melting
No signs of wear or deposits.
A spark plug that is in bad condition could indicate wear over time and requires replacement or could indicate the state of the engine.
In the event that your plug relatively new and has created an extensive gap between its electrode and its insulator, this could indicate that the engine is not performing as it should. If this is the case, you must consult with the garage in your area.
If the leads are cracked or are showing signs of excessive wear, they must be replaced. We suggest using an accredited garage to do this However, if you’re experienced and are confident, you can perform the work yourself so in line with the guidelines in your manual for your vehicle.
This doesn’t apply to diesel vehicles since they don’t have spark plugs.
6. Make sure you replenish fluids frequently
Fluids are the lifeblood of your vehicle and if they are not replenished, it could have devastating consequences.
Make sure to check your engine oil at least each fortnight through opening your bonnet (with your vehicle standing on a level surface) and then removing the dipstick. Clean it with an rag and then take it for an oil dip.
If it is able to come back it should be in the range of the maximum and minimum markers and should be a light yellow-brown color if the car you are driving has an engine that is petrol.
Dark, dirty oil must be changed. Diesel engine oil is prone to accumulating soot as a result of the normal combustion process, therefore dark-colored oil shouldn’t be reason to be concerned with the diesel vehicle.
Other areas worth checking fortnightly include the reservoir for coolant, which you must top-up by adding 50% distilled water as well as 50% antifreeze, and the washer bottle for the windscreen.
We suggest a store-bought filter for this purpose.
Avoid using washing-up liquid since it is a source of salt as well as other ingredients which can harm paintwork.
7. Make sure you check your tires
The tires of your vehicle are perhaps the most crucial safety element and it’s not a stretch to suggest that checking them frequently every week – around once can help save your life.
Inflating tyres too low can also affect the amount of fuel consumed, so make sure you keep them at the pressures recommended by the manual for your vehicle to reduce your expenses.
Be aware that tyre pressures could differ for back and front tyres. Some experts suggest rotating your tyres (i.e. switching the fronts over to the rear, and reverse) to help even out wear and extend the life of your tyres.
In the interest security, we suggest making use of the tyres with the lowest wear on the rear axle, because the losing front grip (understeer) can be simpler to control than a rear-end sliding (oversteer).
8. Follow the schedule of service
Regular maintenance is essential to ensure that your vehicle is in top condition and extend the life of your vehicle.
Service intervals are determined by the amount of miles or time driven every year, and every 10,000 miles as an instance.
Go through the manual to find the date your vehicle is due for a check-up and what repairs are required.
Modern cars come with warning lights on their dashboards to let you know when maintenance is required.
In general, you should plan for a’minor annual service and a major service every three or four years.
A minor repair involves changing the oil and filter, as well as replacing other fluids , if needed.
Based on the vehicle and the mileage, a major service could also include repair of the spark plugs, air filter and cambelt.
The amount of work involved in even the smallest of services is extensive, but they all must include checking for leaks of fluid and oil as well as tyre pressures and conditions as well as excessive emissions from exhaust brake wear, the proper operation of the steering and gearbox, clutch, suspension lights, wipers, and the horn.
It is possible to stay on the right track with your vehicle’s maintenance and save money by obtaining an MOT or service plan to pay for it across two consecutive years.
9. Make sure it is covered
Garages are everywhere however how many actually utilize garages? Okay, let’s rephrase that How many actually keep cars in them?
As cars grow larger and more resistant to corrosion, the majority are parked on driveways or road, with garages being part of the garden shed or loft.
Consider this as your reason to clear your space. The parking of your vehicle in a garage will keep it clean, dry and secure, which reduces the risk of damage from accidents or theft, as well as vandalism.
It could even lower the cost of car insurance as well. If you don’t have the use of a garage, think about purchasing a premium car cover rather – especially if you park your vehicle for extended durations of time.
10. Maintain the weight in check.
Automobile manufacturers are always seeking ways to decrease the vehicle’s weight to improve the mileage per gallon, and also to comply with emission requirements.
It makes a lot of sense for you to limit the weight of your vehicle as low as you can.
The extra weight you carry is sure to reduce the fuel efficiency of your vehicle. Additionally, you’ll put extra wear and tear on your brakes, tyres and suspension.
An effective solution is to eliminate any unwanted objects from the vehicle.
Begin with the glovebox and door pockets Then, look under the seats for drinks bottles or toys that might be straying around.
Moving to the boot Clear out all the stuff you don’t want. Make sure to keep the toolkit, jack , and the locking wheel key in the event of an emergency.
It’s an excellent idea keeping a kit for breakdowns in the event that you’re unfortunate enough to fail to repair.
11. Have you had your car been rust-proofed
Modern vehicles are extremely rust-resistant however, metal corrosion is the leading cause of death for cars built in the 1990s or prior to.
When it’s established the onset, it will be affordable to fix.
If you notice rusty spots on your vehicle Don’t let them wait to grow – at the minimum, you should protect the bodywork exposed with the paint to be touched up before having it professionally to be resprayed.
The application of a stone-deflecting coating on the exterior of your vehicle can help prevent damage to paintwork from happening in the first place.
It is also possible to have the chassis properly rust-proofed by filling the holes with a waxy material designed to stop water from entering.
As with all the suggestions in this article, it can help you save money in the long run.
12. Beware of the temptation to alter
The modification of your vehicle could reduce its reliability and reduce its lifespan.
The process of tuning the engine to increase power can put extra stress on other parts, like brakes, if you drive more quickly as a result.
Sportier, more sporty suspension also results in wear and tear on the subframes, bushes and chassis.
Be aware that the spending money on repairs probably will not increase the value of your vehicle.
In fact, the reverse is usually the case. Depreciation is often the largest expense in operating a car, the reduction in the value of resales shouldn’t be taken lightly.
13. Beware of potholes and rough tracks
Potholes can cause havoc to the suspension of your vehicle, as well as tyres, and exhaust.
The sharp edges that are found on roads that are not maintained properly can cause sidewall bulges, tread separation , and in certain cases, they may cause tyres to deflate. If you drive over crater-like holes suspensions can be misaligned and the shocks can be damaged.
The deeper holes could even scratch catalytic converters, causing holes and loss of power.
If you can, try to choose roads with smoother surfaces in order to prevent damage and wear.
14. Make use of your brakes to decrease speed, not to shift gears.
The braking of your engine, or the shifting of gears to slow down your speed, could damage your drivetrain, particularly the transmission and clutch.
Utilizing your brakes on your gears while driving, particularly at higher speeds, could reduce the life that your motor. The damage can be more severe if you use several gears.
Your brake pedals are your most reliable allies in preventing damage to the gearbox. They should be the first point of contact in case you need to reduce the speed.
15. Make sure your car is clean
There are many people out there who don’t wash their cars (and maybe you’re one of them! ) However, keeping your car clean isn’t just about appearance: it can actually prolong the life of your car, as well.
Grit can get into moving parts and into the chassis, causing accelerated erosion and corrosion. Bird droppings can cause havoc with the paintwork, as well as winter salt can be particularly damaging (so be sure to are aware of what to do if you find yourself you are stuck in the gritter! ).
Automated car washes feature hard brushes that can leave small scratches, and they can miss bits too. While a hand wash or DIY project is typically far more comprehensive.
It is necessary to rinse the car prior to doing a more thorough clean . Make sure to use a suitable cleaning solution instead of cleaning liquid prior to drying the vehicle with the soft Chamois.
A once-a-year polish can provide an extra layer of protection and stop rust from spreading.
It’s also essential to keep the interior of your vehicle clean using microfibre cloths and to get rid of any crumbs and dirt from the floor mats.
Spraying a protective coating on the dashboard plastics can reduce the chance of cracking or discolouration. Putting an umbrella in the windscreen on sunny days also helps.
16. Do not place your foot on the clutch, and place your hand should be on the gearstick
Certain drivers prefer to operate their vehicle with one’s feet placed on their clutch pedal. This puts the clutch release bearing into contact with the cover of the clutch, which leads to friction that is not needed. As time passes, the clutch will wear out prematurely.
It’s also tempting to put your hands on your gearstick during gear changes however, this causes pressure to the fork of the selector as well as other internal components. The friction increases wear and wear on the gear box.
Make it a habit of moving your hands over the steering wheel, and placing your left foot in the footwell instead.
17. Don’t let fuel levels drop.
If you are running low on gasoline, your fuel pump will draw in air, dirt and sediment that are found at the bottom of the tank to attempt to power your vehicle.
The undesirable materials could clog the system, and then corrode the pump and filter which could block fuel, stopping your car from starting.
The owners of cars with diesel engines must be especially cautious about low levels of fuel as the injectors that power their engines draw huge amounts of air in the engine. This could stop the engine from turning.
Maintaining high levels of fuel can save you money on repairs later down the line.
18. Don’t cut corners on components
Manufacturers travel millions of miles and invest billions in the development of research to make sure that their vehicles are as safe as they can be. Why put their reputation at risk by using low-quality “pattern” parts in order to spare a couple of dollars?
Utilizing original parts can help you save money over the long run by keeping your vehicle in the roadway. When it comes to vintage cars the use of original parts is crucial to the future value.
Making sure your vehicle is running at its top quality also applies to the fluids you are using.
Find the recommended engine oil in the manual and particularly if you own an engine that is performance-oriented and requires premium fuel (e.g. super unleaded) make sure you make use of it. This is what the car was designed and built for.