Its summer time and vacations are in full swing with many of you taking to the roads. You’ve checked Google Maps, overnight accommodations, prices for entertainment, but have you checked your vehicle for the trip? Many of us are taking to the skies for our summer vacation destinations, but for many of us, our wheels are getting us to our summer of fun. With plenty of summer still to be had, we thought we send out some tips and tricks to keep that vehicle in tip top shape and worry free while you’re headed to fun!
My colleague and I were chatting about our current 4 wheeled friends. We own vehicles that have over 100K miles on the odometer and know that’s average miles for many vehicles these days. I am in no hurry to buy or lease another car, SUV or truck. What kind of things can we do to ensure we extend the shelf lives of our vehicles. When we compared some notes, we figured out that we do much of the same things. Maintenance is the key to keeping your vehicle running. Here are a couple of tips for you and your family!
- Look, Listen and Feel – Look for leaking fluids, feel the car through the steering wheel and floor pans, hearing loud mechanical noises are usually your first indicator that something is wrong. Remember, your AC will drop water condensation, road bumps aren’t trouble indicators unless you hear a rattle, and engines are machines and will make some noise when running.
- Find a Trusted Mechanic – Not a huge stretch on this suggestion. If you haven’t already scoured the internet for review, ask your friends. No secret with this tip. Once you find a mechanic, its like finding a super great doctor, you tend to stick with them. The point is, find some person(s) you trust with something that you can’t do yourself. Go with a pro, like you would a surgeon or an OB/GYN or an MRI facility. If they are reputable, they will keep records of your vehicle, just like in an EHR.
- Fuel Up Properly – This was a huge point for me. Supreme, Regular, Regular Plus? The choices! My colleague informed me that it’s all about antiknock properties based on the compression ratio of your engine. Just like with your body quick fix additives can hurt your engine. Keep your tank full, don’t let the fuel pump and injectors run low. Over time it can cause parts to burn out and cause premature failure.
- Oil – I have had cars that run on both synthetic or conventional oil. It’s always best to change the oil and the filter based on the manufacturers suggestions. Follow the viscosity requirements and don’t assume that your cars going to run forever without changing the oil. Keep in mind that if your car has been running with conventional oil its best to keep it that way. The synthetic oils don’t break down and have cleaning agents that can remove build up around your seals and cause your engine to start leaking.
- Check Your Panel – Those gauges aren’t just for making chase scenes in movies more dramatic, they really do alert you to things that need attention. Yes, you need wiper fluid otherwise, you may scratch your windshield. The lights on your dash usually indicates an issue, address it as fast as possible.
- Drive Well – When I was first learning to drive, my dad gave me a few tips. There is less of a need to warm up modern engines, unless it is really cold outside. When in none freezing climates you often can simple start the car, net the oil circulate and then drive easy until up to temperature. Avoid idling the engine for hours at a time, like sitting in your car for an hour every day eating your lunch.Avoid slamming on the breaks not just for the safety of being rear ended but to keep the brake surface and rotors from experiencing premature wear.
- Wash Your Car Both Inside and Out – Bird droppings are full of acids that can damage the paints surface. Mud on the breaking system can cause failures and premature wear. Keeping the inside of your car clean means that you can keep your eyes on the road and no need to dig for items you may be looking for at the red light. If applicable change your cabin filter at the scheduled intervals.
- Take Cover – Insurance companies tell me that garages are always great for getting better rates. Turns out that they are great in sheltering your vehicle from nature’s fury too. If all else fails, use a cover like my neighbor uses from time to time. Use a solar shield to help with your dashboard and cabin temperature.
A little time and effort will pay off when it comes to extending the life of your vehicle. 100K is just the beginning with these newer built vehicles. Mine has running fine with a little more work on that pesky air conditioning system. My colleague and his adventures in maintenance, well you’ll have to ask him how he’s doing with this truck.