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Keep Older Car Running

Most cars manufactured within the last twenty years have better longevity than their predecessors. Less mechanical parts equals less mechanical failures. They still however have to be maintained. A hundred and fifty thousand miles on a car that is seven to ten years old or older can easily go another hundred thousand or more with proper maintenance and care. It is best to start out with a vehicle with a good solid maintenance record. Most of us know about oil changes and will have the oil changed on a frequent basis and that’s a good start. How many car owners read their owner’s manual? Have you? Be honest. Did you know that brake fluid should be flushed every two years? This may vary depending on your driving habits and region. The same also applies to power steering fluid. Why you ask? These are hydraulic fluids and are under constant high pressure which creates high heat and the byproduct of extreme heat in fluids is water. Over time this moisture builds up and weakens the fluid and leaves your system(s) vulnerable to rust and corrosion. This is the same reason why driving your car short distances (two to five miles while the engine is still cold)on a frequent basis will actually shorten your engine’s longevity. This can be remedied by going on a fifty mile ride every ten days or so. Transmission fluid should be replaced every two to three years depending on driving habits, region and if you frequently use your vehicle for towing. Rear wheel drive cars have a differential gear on the rear axle and that fluid should be replaced at least every fifty to sixty thousand miles. All wheel drive cars also have a differential gear in the rear but there is also a transfer case reservoir that needs to be drained and replaced with the manufacturer’s recommend fluid. I’m sure there are many of you who have been told, heard about, seen advertisements for and the such about 150,000 mile anti-freeze/coolant. DON’T WAIT A HUNDRED AND FIFTY THOUSAND MILES to flush your cooling system. A car’s cooling system builds up solid particles that can clog the radiator and cooling jackets in the engine block and cylinder heads and can cause premature water pump failure. These are the major components on a car that require clean fluids to operate with optimum efficiency.

These are just a few tips to help keep your car spend more time on the road and less time in the shop. Let’s not forget, cars are put together by man, so they are not perfect and there will be mechanical failures. Alternators, starters, fuel pumps and gaskets fail over time. But if your car is in good mechanical condition overall, it won’t seem like a big inconvenience and expense. Your car’s interior should be vacuumed at least twice a month and every week if you have young children. To prevent haze from building up on the glass (windows) clean them with Windex or a water and ammonia solution when you vacuum the interior. You can also use this opportunity to apply a UV protectant to the dashboard and door panels. Washing the exterior of your car should be done four to six times a year, again depending on the climate you reside in. Waxing the exterior of your car with a good wax should be done no less than twice a year regardless of where you live.