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How to Make Your Car Last Longer: Top 10 Maintenance Tips

What if we told you that a few simple habits could save you thousands of dollars and countless headaches? Regular car maintenance is far more cost-effective than purchasing a new vehicle. Taking the time to routinely service your car ensures it runs smoothly and diminishes the chances of unexpected breakdowns. We spoke to the experts at AMSOIL, and they gave us the inside scoop on how to make your car last longer. Ready to keep your car running like new? Let’s dive in.

Heavy-Duty Metal Protector.
AMSOIL Heavy-Duty Metal Protector

Protect Your Car From the Elements

In icy regions, road salt can quickly wreak havoc on a vehicle’s frame and body, leading to severe rust and corrosion. Over nearly three decades of driving, more vehicles have succumbed to rust than any other issue, often rendering them unusable. Off-road enthusiasts face similar challenges, as mud and dirt can get trapped and cause considerable damage over time. Regularly washing your car by hand is critical; it not only keeps the vehicle clean but also allows you to spot scratches or chipped paint that need immediate attention before rust takes hold. Pay special attention to the areas around the wheels, where rocks and debris frequently strike and chip the paint, making these spots particularly susceptible to corrosion. Frequent inspections and prompt repairs can save your vehicle from long-term damage and help maintain its value and performance.

AMSOIL Exterior Ceramic Spray.
AMSOIL Exterior Ceramic Spray

Apply an Undercoating

Living near the ocean or in areas where roads are salted during winter can quickly lead to metal corrosion on your car. Combat this issue by applying an undercoat, which acts as a protective barrier against rust, ensuring your vehicle remains in top condition for years. For the hands-on enthusiasts, AMSOIL Heavy-Duty Metal Protector offers an excellent solution. This easy-to-use, spray-on product effectively shields metal surfaces from the damaging effects of salt, moisture, and chemical corrosion. Don’t just take my word for it—check out the impressive performance shown in the image above. This extra layer of defense can save you from costly repairs and keep your car looking and running great.

AMSOIL Signature Series 5W-20.
AMSOIL Signature Series 5W-20 100% Synthetic Motor Oil

Wax That Paint

Sunlight can be harsh on your car’s paint over time. The constant exposure to the sun’s UV rays gradually drains the shine from your vehicle, making the paint look dull and faded. This effect is not just cosmetic; it can lead to more severe damage such as cracking and peeling. To keep your car looking vibrant and protect its paint from chips caused by rocks and other debris, it’s crucial to apply wax at least once a year. Wax acts as a protective barrier, not only preserving the color and gloss but also shielding against minor scratches and environmental elements. Neglecting this simple maintenance step can accelerate the deterioration process, leaving your car susceptible to more extensive and costly damage down the road.

Protect the Leather

Sun exposure can really take a toll on your car’s leather seats, causing them to crack and fade. It’s essential to keep them clean and well-protected to maintain both comfort and a visually pleasing interior. Regularly wiping down the seats with a damp cloth and using a quality leather conditioner will help preserve their texture and color. A sunshade can also prevent direct sunlight from beating down on the leather, reducing wear and tear. Taking these steps ensures your car remains a pleasant place to be, enhancing your overall driving experience.

PI Performance Improver.
AMSOIL P.i.® Performance Improver Gasoline Additive

Park in the Garage

If you’ve got a garage, make the most of it. Parking your car inside not only shields it from harsh UV rays that can fade the paint and wreak havoc on the interior, but it also protects it from weather-related damage like hail or ice. If your garage is currently overrun with clutter, think of this as the perfect motivation to clear it out. Imagine the extra space and the satisfaction of an organized storage area, all while giving your car the protection it deserves. Plus, removing clutter can reduce fire hazards and create a safer environment overall.

Follow the Maintenance Schedule

Your owner’s manual provides a detailed maintenance timeline that’s essential for your car’s longevity. Following it closely or heeding the lubricant manufacturer’s recommendations can make a significant difference. Regularly swapping out parts like the timing belt or spark plug wires as scheduled isn’t just about avoiding unexpected breakdowns; it can also save you from costly repairs and considerable stress down the road. Keeping an organized log of your car’s upkeep doesn’t just help you stay on track with maintenance, it can also enhance your vehicle’s resale value by reassuring potential buyers of its well-maintained history.

AMSOIL Signature Series Multi-Vehicle Synthetic Automatic Transmission Fluid.
AMSOIL Signature Series Multi-Vehicle 100% Synthetic Automatic Transmission Fluid

Check the Fluids Often

For top-notch performance and enduring reliability, it’s essential to keep your engine, transmission, differential, and other critical components filled with clean, high-quality fluids. Make it a habit to regularly check fluid levels to ensure they’re at the right marks. This practice not only confirms the fluids are in good condition but also allows you to detect any potential issues early. If you observe fluid levels dropping rapidly, it can be a warning sign of a mechanical problem that needs immediate attention. Properly maintained fluids can significantly enhance your vehicle’s operation, while ignoring this can lead to costly repairs and downtime. So, take the time to monitor and maintain your vehicle’s fluids—it’s a small effort that pays off in the long run.

Change Brake Fluid

AAA emphasizes that brake fluid maintenance often slips through the cracks of routine car care. Over time, brake fluid doesn’t just sit there doing its job; it oxidizes and loses its effectiveness, much like oil or transmission fluid. It also absorbs moisture from the air and picks up dirt along the way, turning into a cocktail that’s bad news for your braking system. To keep your brakes responsive and trustworthy, it’s crucial to replace the brake fluid every two years or anytime you swap out the brake pads. Ignoring this could lead to reduced braking performance when you need it most.

DOT3/4 Brake Fluid.
AMSOIL DOT 3 and DOT 4 100% Synthetic Brake Fluid

Change Your Air Filter

This task might seem like the easiest one on your to-do list, but it’s often neglected. Your engine breathes in about 14 times more air than gasoline. To perform efficiently, this air needs to be fresh and clear of grime and particles. If it isn’t, dirty air can infiltrate the engine, wreaking havoc on the piston rings, bearings, and other crucial parts. This contamination can gradually lower compression, diminish power output, or even lead to catastrophic failure. Think of it like trying to run a marathon while breathing through a clogged mask—it’s just not going to end well. Check your owner’s manual to find out how frequently you should replace the air filter and make sure to adhere to that schedule. You wouldn’t skip a vital health check-up, so don’t skip this essential maintenance step for your engine.

Keep it Cool

AMSOIL Passenger Car & Light Truck Antifreeze & Coolant.
AMSOIL Passenger Car & Light Truck Antifreeze & Coolant

Antifreeze/coolant keeps your radiator from spewing out boiling water during the scorching summer months and prevents your engine from freezing solid in the frigid winter. Cooling-system problems account for around 40 percent of car troubles, which makes it essential to maintain your antifreeze/coolant. Regularly flushing the coolant, ideally every five years, helps remove any buildup and sludge that accumulate as the fluid degrades. Keeping the fluid passages, heater core, and radiator clean not only boosts your car’s performance but also significantly extends its lifespan. Neglecting this vital maintenance can lead to overheating, frozen engines, and costly repairs, so it’s worth taking the time to ensure your cooling system is in top shape.

Selecting a high-quality antifreeze and coolant is crucial. Avoid the cheap “green” coolants found everywhere. These often use only inorganic salts for rust prevention, which degrade quickly and lead to problems like sludge, slime, and scale buildup. AMSOIL Passenger Car & Light Truck Antifreeze & Coolant, on the other hand, offers long-lasting protection, up to five years or 150,000 miles in cars and light trucks. It excels at preventing your engine from boiling over or freezing while also providing robust corrosion defense. Investing in a superior product not only extends the life of your vehicle but also ensures peace of mind on the road.

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Easy Car Maintenance – Go Drive

If you only use your car for short trips or let it sit for long periods, you might run into a few issues that could be easily avoided. Take it for a drive for at least an hour every month to warm up the engine oil and other critical fluids. This crucial step helps evaporate any moisture that may have accumulated in the fluids and keeps the seals well-lubricated to prevent leaks. Letting your car sit idle for too long can cause these substances to degrade, leading to poor engine performance and potential mechanical failures down the line.

Engine Maintenance banner.

Cruising Toward Longevity

Whether you’re cruising in a ’98 Corolla* or a brand-new sedan, implementing simple maintenance routines can make a significant difference. Driving your car regularly, even if only once a month, ensures that all components stay in good working order. These small efforts, over time, can help you reach 200,000 miles and beyond. Consistent care and attention truly pay off, showing you exactly how to make your car last longer.

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*All trademarked names and images are the property of their respective owners and may be registered marks in some countries. No affiliation or endorsement claim, express or implied, is made by their use.

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