It used to be rare to see a car over the 100,000 mile mark, but nowadays, with more efficient engines and improved automotive maintenance, cars are lasting more than 10 years in many cases.
A recent study by Consumer Reports showed that if you hold on to a car for 15 years, instead of trading in for a new car every five years, you could save $30,000 over that time. Experts say choosing the right car, with the right history, can make all the difference for future performance and reliability.
"Most people focus on the purchase price, the reality is a car is a depreciating asset, it's worth less with each passing day," said Jeff Bartlett, auto editor at Consumer Reports. "And, it depreciates more when it's relatively new. You want to pick a car that's not only going to meet your needs today, but is built to adjust to your lifestyle in the years ahead."
Tips to extend the life of your car
Cars are usually the second largest purchase in a person's life, next to a house, and extending the vehicle's life can be easy when you follow the tips below.
Drive with care
Driving aggressively can be hard on numerous parts of your car from your brakes and rotors to your engine and tires. It may sound obvious, but driving defensively can extend the life of a car, not to mention keep money in your pocket.
Don't put off maintenance
Even when you don't know something is acting up in your vehicle, there can still be a problem. It is important to get into the habit of car maintenance, especially changing your oil. Like Consumer Reports stated it will save you money in the long run to take care of your car now, so don't put off even the slightest problem or service check.
Keep the interior clean
Be sure to clean the interior of your car every time you wash the exterior. Many substances that get tracked into a car can be corrosive and damage delicate fabrics beyond repair. Make sure floor mats are protecting carpet and replace weather stripping immediately, to avoid water leaking in.
Don't fill up when a tanker is at the station
This is the most surprising tip on the list to extend a vehicle's life, but when you see a tanker truck supplying a gas station with its fuel, drive to the next station or come back later. A tanker stirs up sediments when it is filling the underground tanks at a gas station. Those sediments can be detrimental to a car's performance, clogging fuel filters and fuel injectors, leading to potential repairs.
Avoid the sun
The sun's ultraviolet rays can cause wear on your car's paint, causing it to fade. If you have garage use, be sure to park it the shade, or consider purchasing a vehicle cover. Avoiding the sun, especially during these hot summer months, can save on gasoline too. Heat can actually cause your fuel to evaporate, so keep cool.
Check tires regularly
It is important to maintain the proper level of inflation in your tires. Underinflation can lead to tires blowing out, leading to a potential accident, not to mention it improves your car's fuel efficiency. It is also equally important to monitor your tire's tread depth. If your tires do not have enough tread, water can't escape out from under them and you could risk hydroplaning.
The perfect way to extend the life of your car is to extend your own life. None of the above would be possible without taking safety precautions.