Everyone loves to own a brand new car but it just doesn’t make sense to go for one particularly when it doesn’t offer anything better than your existing car, that too in an expense of a huge amount of money. Money is tight for just about everyone, so why throw away a car that’s running well just because it’s feeling worn down?
Cars are a huge part of anyone’s life. They drive us to our jobs, drive the kids to all of their activities, and are essential for running errands. Without a car, it would be impossible to do everything we need to do with any time left over for things we enjoy.
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Remember, the process of getting old starts right from the day you buy even a brand new car, so all that’s important is to dampen the aging effect. There are so many resources that inform drivers about how to keep their vehicles in great shape so they run trouble-free as long as possible. The secret is regular maintenance.
The Cooling System
Hoses that carry engine coolant live a hard life. They’re forced to transport high-pressure fluids that can exceed a rubber-scorching 240 degree F. Don’t forget the water pump without which the engine would die within minutes. These components conspire to fail on aging cars at the worst possible times and places.
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If you don’t know when your old vehicle’s coolant hoses were last replaced, now would be a good time to do it. Don’t forget heater hoses, which carry hot coolant into the passenger compartment.
Regular Oil Changes
The best thing you can do to extend the life of your car’s engine is to get regular oil changes. Not doing so can cause a lot of problems with the engine over time. Make sure you take down the date and mileage after each oil change so you know when your vehicle is due for another one. It’s also a better practice to replace the oil filters periodically.
Keep an eye on all the needed lubricants. The power steering fluid, brake oil, transmission fluids should be there up to the mark. Check your vehicle’s manual for the suggested time-frame for changing them. Even if you don’t have a manual, they are available on the internet for almost every make & model.
Wheels & Tires
Getting better performance from your tires can be as simple as making sure they’re properly inflated. Always keep your tires properly aligned and balanced, timely wheel alignment & balancing will do it quite right.
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Do periodic tire rotations, that is to swap the front tires with rear ones, ensuring even tread wear. And when you need to replace old tires, make sure you replace all 4 with the same make & sizes, preferably sticking to the manufacturer recommended specs. Also check wheel bearings as they are important because they ensure smooth running of the tires.
The Suspension & Brakes
Your car’s suspension system is responsible for smoothing out the ride and keeping the car in control. The suspension system limits the impact of particular road conditions to not only the car, but the passengers riding inside. It also provides steering stability and ensures better handling of the vehicle.
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Shocks, springs, dampers, struts, brake rotors and pads may seem like normal service items, but replacing them can make a huge difference in how a car drives. Other suspension components such as the steering rack, tie rod, ball joint and axles play a pivotal role in smooth handling and drive comfort of your vehicle. Keeping these up to the mark will help you get the feeling of driving a new car.
The same goes for brakes. Worn discs and pads seriously affect performance, so replace them accordingly.
Keeping all the electrical components up to the mark is also crucial for a trouble free car. Timely inspect the alternator, battery terminals, horn & head light connectors, fuses and wiring etc to see if they are in optimal working order and replace the damaged/ worn out components before they malfunction causing a bigger trouble.
Do include the air-conditioning and heating checks as they are important in making your journey comfortable in respective weather conditions.
Pay Attention to Body/ Paint
The first visual impression defines how you maintain your vehicle, after all it’s about prestige. Don’t leave your car parked under direct sunlight for several hours, try to find a shade as heat will deteriorate its paint and affect other crucial components.
Older cars often become quite vocal when you run on bumpy roads. Get the bumpers and other fittings intact so they don’t rattle when you drive. Periodically get your car washed/ serviced will also keep it calm & quite.
Interior Matters a Lot
You spend a good amount of time inside the car and it’s important that you get maximum comfort in the cabin. Replace seat & steering covers, install shades and try to put them on if you have to leave your car exposed to sunlight since they serve well in keeping the interior temperature under control and won’t deteriorate the dashboard in particular over the period of time.
Cleaning pays off because all that time spent tidying up the car is also the time spent inspecting it. This is also your chance to uncover hidden problems.
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Cars are just like people. As they age, they require more attention that’s critical to their ongoing survival. Keeping these simple checks will ensure that your vehicle will serve you for a longer period of time without having the need to go for an expensive brand new car.
A computer animation professional with over 23 years of industry experience having served in leading organizations, TV channels & production facilities in Pakistan. An avid car enthusiast and petrolhead with an affection to deliver quality content to help shape opinions. Formerly written for PakWheels as well as major publications including Dawn. Founder of CarSpiritPK.com