5 smart tips to make your car last

July 28, 2015

Learn how to drive well, and what do do when things go wrong. But there's more to owning a car and making it last than just what happens when you're driving it. Here are some tips:

5 smart tips to make your car last

1. Gassing up

  • Ask whether the gas you buy is filtered at the pump and if the station has a policy about changing the pump filters regularly.
  • If you get a song and dance, find another gas station. Some stations don't have pump filters, making you more vulnerable to dirty gasoline.
  • Other stations may not mix alcohol and fuel properly — or worse, water down their product.
  • Find a station you trust and stick to it.  If you happen to see a gasoline tanker filling the tanks at your local gas station, come back another day or go to a different station.
  • As the station's underground tanks are being filled, the turbulence can stir up sediment.
  • Sediment in your gas can clog fuel filters and fuel injectors, causing poor performance and possibly necessitating repairs.

2. Lighten your key chain

  • Does your car key share a chain with a dozen or more other keys? That's a pretty heavy load hanging off the car key when it's in the ignition.
  • The weight, combined with bouncing while you drive, can wear out the tumblers inside the ignition and eventually lead to ignition switch failure.
  • To add years of service to your ignition switch, purchase a lightweight key chain that allows you to separate your ignition key from the others.
  • Drive with only the ignition key in your ignition. If your ignition key "sticks" when you try to turn on the car, it's a warning that your ignition switch is about to fail.
  • Replace it before you get stranded.

3. Choose a good insurer

  • Sometimes, no matter how careful you are, disaster inevitably strikes — typically in the form of an accident.
  • Make sure that your car will be repaired to the best possible standard by finding an insurer that will pay for parts from the original manufacturer and guarantee the repairs it authorizes

4. Keep a log

  • Keep track of your gas fill-ups and mileage. If your car doesn't automatically display this information, keep a pad and pencil in the glove compartment and use them to record it yourself.
  • If you notice that your gas mileage worsens, mention it to your service man. It may be an early warning sign that something is wrong with your car.

5. Put your car in storage

  • If you are not going to use your car for more than a month, store it properly to prevent unnecessary damage and repairs upon your return.
  • Fill the gas tank to help prevent condensation from accumulating in the gas tank.
  • Add a fuel stabilizer and drive the car around a bit to distribute the additive to engine parts.
  • Wash and wax the car thoroughly to protect the finish.
  • Place a vapour barrier on your garage floor. Disengage the parking brake to help avoid brake corrosion.
  • Put the car on jack stands to take the weight of the vehicle off the wheels and tires. Disconnect and remove the battery to keep it from draining.
  • Place the battery on a trickle-type charger.
  • Or periodically drain the battery, using a small light bulb, and then recharge it with a low-volt charger.
  • Plug the tailpipe with a rag to prevent moist air from infiltrating into it.
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