Like people, vehicles have a life cycle; with proper maintenance and repair, that life can be extended; without it, however, the chances of more things going wrong with your car dramatically increase. In addition to investing in a vehicle-specific volume like a repair manuals , you’ll want to keep the following general information in mind.
In the early days of your vehicle’s life, from 0 to about 25 or 30,000 miles, you should ensure your vehicle’s longevity with scheduled maintenance, checking parts for abnormal wear or looseness, and generally tightening anything that’s loose; you should also keep changing fluids, such as the engine oil, as well as regularly checking other fluids, such as the transmission or brake, or window washer fluids. Rotating and balancing the tires is also important. While you don’t have to have these maintenance checks done by a dealer, it’s important to have them done by reliable mechanics at about the time the dealer recommends to do them. If you’ve lost your maintenance schedule, it’s an easy thing to find a good automotive repair manual on the Internet.
At around 40,000 miles, most vehicles require more expensive replacement parts, such as tires or a new battery, brakes, a V-belt, and so on. The 40,000 mile mark is also the time when you really do need to replace the long-lasting fluids, such as radiator coolant , brake line, and transmission fluids, as well as other lubricants. Neglecting this kind of maintenance may lead to expensive repairs later. In particular, have the battery checked. While the life of a battery depends upon its quality and the environment, such as extremely cold weather or hot weather, most batteries last at least two years, and often not more than five years. At this point, too, you might consider trading in your car or keeping it.
If you decide to keep it, then consider the car as it wears more than 80,000 miles. Repairs at this stage may exceed a thousand dollars. Take a look on line for the best sites to do some quick research on long term reliability for your vehicle. It’s a good bet that your warranty has run out after 80,000 miles, and so the expenses will be all yours. Consider such issues as tire wear, and look for the insulation on the spark plug wires, which may be dry and cracking, which will lead to a rough-running motor. Keeping some of these maintenance issues in mind may allow you to keep your car well after it reaches a 100,000 or more, a respectable life cycle for any man-made vehicle.
Will Simmons is a self taught mechanic who has turned his passion for racing and cars into a career as an automotive writer and blogger for sites like Honda.