Your car is a significant investment — potentially one of the biggest investments you’ll make, besides buying a house. But driving in Ottawa is hard on a vehicle, especially in winter with all the road salt. Wouldn’t it be great if you could somehow make your car last longer?
Actually, you can. What it takes is a bit of savvy preventive maintenance, along with an occasional professional tune-up. Here are 10 ways to make your car last longer and reach a high mileage.
1. Read Your Owner’s Manual
Do you know the owner’s manual that came tucked in the glove compartment when you bought the car? It was put there for a reason — to help you get to know your car’s recommended maintenance schedule. So please read it and follow the instructions. And if you purchased your vehicle second-hand, you can look up the manual online.
2. Get Your Fluids Changed Regularly
You probably already know that regular oil changes are essential for the health of your car. But are you aware of all the other fluids that need to be replaced from time to time? Let’s see; there’s brake fluid, coolant, power steering fluid, transmission fluid, and windshield wiper fluid. It sounds like a lot to remember, but don’t worry. Unless you drive a vintage vehicle, you’ll probably have indicator lights to remind you when each of these needs changing. If you don’t, check levels every 2 weeks.
3. Check Your Tire Pressure
Another important component you should be checking regularly is your tire pressure. Consult that handy-dandy owner’s manual of yours to find out the correct PSI for your particular model. When it starts getting low, add air, particularly before you head out for a long road trip. The correct tire pressure will help you drive smoother, improve safety, and make even a high mileage car last longer.
4. Get Rid Of Road Salt
Keep all that Ottawa road salt from sticking to your vehicle. (Left alone, it will damage the paint job and lead to rust.) If you drive your car frequently throughout the winter, it’s a good policy to have your car washed every week or two. Make sure your car wash cleans all the salt off the undercarriage. That way, you’ll avoid dangerous damage to your transmission and brakes.
5. Take Care Of The Interior
Remember to take care of your car’s interior as well as the exterior. Keep the dash clean, vacuum frequently, and wipe up any “accidents” — such as sticky spilled milkshakes — right away. Change the engine and cabin air filters as directed, at least once a year. If you have luxurious leather seats, application of a good conditioner will keep them from drying out and cracking. TIP: Use only soft lint-free cloths to clean leather; paper towels tend to be overly abrasive.
6. Protect Your Car From Rust & Scratches
Scratches don’t just mar the appearance of your car. They can eventually lead to rust, which is expensive to fix and will lower your car’s value while shortening its lifespan. So be proactive; take steps to prevent scratches to your paint job. Park defensively, in quiet areas away from other vehicles if possible. Be careful not to scrape the paint with your keys, and avoid putting your purse, briefcase, backpack, etc., on the car exterior.
7. Drive Safe & Avoid Potholes
Good driving habits are an excellent way to protect your car (and yourself). Allow your engine time to warm up before you hit the road. Stick to a moderate rate of speed. Avoid taking corners too sharply, as well as rapid braking or acceleration. Minimize stop-and-start driving and short trips of less than 1.5 kilometres; both are very hard on your car. And watch out for those Ottawa post-winter potholes!
8. Store Tires Properly
Ah! Removing winter tires is one of the signs that spring has come to Canada at last. We hate to break the news, though, but winter will roll back around all too soon, and you will need those winter tires again. So meanwhile, store the tires properly. The ideal way to store your winter tires is by placing them upright on a tire rack. This will support them correctly, preventing flat spots and distortion of their shape.
If you don’t have room to store your tires at home, you can keep them securely in Bemac’s tire storage facility.
9. Don’t Ignore Warning Lights
Despite what you might imagine, warning lights are not there to make your life miserable. They are trying to tell you something, whether a reminder to fasten your seatbelt or a signal your car has an issue that needs urgent mechanical repair. If you’re not sure how to translate “warning light-ese,” consult the owner’s manual — or ask our expert mechanics for advice.
10. Is The Car Worth Repainting?
Repainting your vehicle will not only restore its appearance but also protect against corrosion and extend its life. However, a complete car paint job is quite pricey. You’ll have to decide whether you think it’s worth it to repaint your car.
Bemac Takes Great Care Of Cars
For skilled help in making your car last longer, come to Bemac. We are the Ottawa experts in top-tier car maintenance and repair.