Keep cars running longer, better with these 5 tips
Published Wednesday, November 21, 2012 10:08AM EST
Buying a car is one of the largerinvestments made by Canadian consumers. But with these simple tips, frugal drivers can improve their car’s efficiency and extend its life on the road.
Don’t run on empty
Some people wait until a car’s fuel gauge hits zero before they refill their tank. That habit will cost you and your car in the long run,according to race car driver and car specialist Kelly Williams.
“You should never let gas levels go below a quarter to a half a tank,” said Williams.
Running on empty impacts a car’s fuel pump, which is located in the fuel tank.When gas levels are low, the fuel tank becomes exposed and overheats.
“That leads to extra wear and tear on your vehicle,” said Williams.“If you’re looking to keep a car for a long time,always keep the tank between a quarter and a half-tank full.”
Keep engine oil clean
Ensuring the cleanliness of engine oil, particularly in older vehicles, will also extend the life of a car.
“Oil is the lifeline of your engine. That’s what makes it run,” said Williams.“When the oil light goes on,it means you need to add oil to your engine.”
Consumers should always check engine oil between regular oil changes. They should also choose a brand-nameproduct to ensure the best quality oil for their engine.
“If you plan to keep your car for a long time,make sure clean fluid is running through your engine so that it doesn’t cost you thousands down the road,” said Williams.
Keep windshield fluid on hand
With winter weather on its way, drivers should always keep a bottle of windshield wiper fluid in their car. It’s a small step, but one that will help to ensure maximum visibility while you’re on the road.
Check tire pressure
Keeping a watchful eye on tire pressure is another component to good car maintenance.
Much like riding a bike with worn tires, low pressure in a car’s tires will make the ride rougher and the engine work harder.
“Ideally, we should all be checking tire pressure in the morning before we start driving,” she said.
Consumers can do this with the aid of a tire pressure gauge, which can measure these levels with great ease.
Required pressure levels must be set to the manufacturer’s recommendations. That information is usually displayed on a tire placard on the driver’s side door.
At the very least, busy drivers should get into the habit of checking tire pressure on a monthly basis.
“That alone will impact fuel economy and car efficiency,” said Williams.
Talk to your dealership
Caring for a car is very much like going to a doctor, according to Williams. For that reason, regular visits can play an important role in extending the life of a vehicle.
The best way to begin a preventative maintenance program is to build a good relationship with your car dealership. The technicians there will have a list of things that should be checked over throughout the year.