If your vehicle has under 50,000 miles on it, chances are it still has 75 percent of its driving life ahead of it. That’s good news if you’re like the majority of owners who are holding onto their vehicles longer that ever before. It wasn’t that long ago that hitting the 100,000-mile mark on the odometer was a major feat. Today, vehicles are built to last much longer. With the correct maintenance and attention, there’s no reason you shouldn’t expect to see that 50,000-mile reading on the odometer one day roll right past 200,000 and keep on going. Here’s how to make that happen.
Avoid Short Trips
The difference between driving short distances and longer distances in your vehicle is that the engine never has a chance to obtain its optimal operating temperature on short trips. Here’s why that’s a concern. Water is a natural byproduct of combustion. When the engine is operating at its normal temperature and , the water turns to vapor and is ventilated out of the engine. But on short trips, the engine never gets up to that operating temperature, and as a result, that water can
remain in the engine, collect in the oil, and settle in the exhaust system where it causes corrosion. Frequent short trips also mean an increased number of cold starts for the motor, which also translates to increased wear because the engine’s oil isn’t flowing as freely or in every place that it should until the engine is warmed up. When the motor is cold, the operating clearances of the internal components are not optimized and this is another method of internal component wear.
Find a Technician You Trust and Like
If given the choice, you’d rather work with someone you get along with; who you believe has your best interests at heart. This is why you need a competent technician who’s going to be a partner in your quest to reach that? 200,000 milestone, not someone interested only in selling you an expensive repair and never seeing you again. If they’re experienced, accustomed to working on your type of vehicle you drive, and in close locality to your work or home, it could be the start of a beautiful relationship.
Read Your Owner’s Manual
The owner’s manual contains vital information about the various vehicle components that need to be monitored and maintained, when that needs to happen, and how owners can perform the checks. Following the owner’s manual also helps extend your vehicle’s life because it specifies exactly what types of fluids work best in your vehicle and provides operational instructions that prevent damage and reduce wear. Nothing shortens your vehicle’s life faster than a lack of maintenance. Remember your friendly technician and the stimulating reading found between the pages of your owner’s manual? They’re both instrumental in knowing when to perform routine vehicle maintenance, based on either mileage or time increments or both.
While you should keep up on all maintenance items, the most important is the oil change. In addition to lubricating vital engine parts, oil traps contaminants and prevents them from harming your motor. Changing the oil gets rid of all that trapped gnarly stuff. Oil additives also break down over time, so it’s necessary to replace it at regular intervals.
Don’t forget about these items as well:
- Coolant, brake, and transmission fluids
- Windshield wipers
Follow your owner’s manual, and your technician’s advice, to develop and stick with a regular maintenance schedule.
Pay Attention to Your Vehicle
An increased awareness to how your vehicle looks sounds, smells, and feels are important. Don’t just get in it and go, or park it and leave. Take note of anything that may be out of the ordinary, when it comes to your vehicle’s characteristics like:
- Vibrations, rattles, or squeaks
- Unusual smells
- Fluid leaks under the hood or underneath the vehicle
Watch the instrument panel gauges and indicator lights for signs of trouble. By paying attention to how your vehicle operates normally, you’ll be aware when a mechanical problem is causing something out of the ordinary to happen, enabling your technician to correct a little problem before it becomes a major, problem.
Please don’t ignore vehicle manufacturer recall notifications, no matter how small you think they seem. Manufacturers don’t just issue recall notices on a whim. It has to be a serious, important issue that affects your vehicle performance and/or driver and passenger safety, which means it’s something you need to take care of.
Now Make it Shine
There are several reasons to keep your vehicle clean inside and out, aside from the most obvious one of looking good. Removing dirt, bugs, sap, chemicals and bird droppings from your vehicle’s exterior and coating it with wax on a regular basis help protect the exterior’s finish and prevent the vehicle body and components from rusting, corroding, and decaying. This is the same is true inside the vehicle where dirt and other crud, if left to accumulate, will increase fabric, vinyl and leather wear. Regular cleaning also keeps you up close and personal with it, so you’re more likely to notice broken or missing parts or other maintenance items that need attention, I hope!
It’s a long way to 238,000 miles – the earth’s average distance from the moon. Not all vehicles will make it to that milestone, but by being a responsible vehicle owner, you can increase the likelihood that yours will be in that group.
This article is the intellectual property of Simmons BOSS CREATIONS. Any reuse of the contents must include the following attribution:
Marcus Simmons, ASE Certified
Simmons BOSS CREATIONS
Phone: (248) 461-6977