The average car on the road is 11 years old. This is older than it was in the mid-’90s. But how can you get your car up to and beyond the coveted 200,000-mile mark?
It may come as no surprise to you that there are several oft-neglected parts of your car.
By giving these parts some extra care, you can keep your car running longer. They construct several ounces of prevention making several pounds of cure.
Keep reading for 6 areas of your car maintenance service which may need more attention.
1. Power Steering
Most people take power steering for granted. And many of the rest of us don’t even know what it does.
To satisfy both groups, power steering makes turning the steering wheel easier. If you have ever driven a car where the power steering didn’t work or exist, it is much more difficult.
Something many people don’t know is not to turn the wheel as far over as it goes. This doesn’t help tighten the turn, but it can damage the system. Rather the wheels are over as far as they get a few inches shy of hard over.
Other than protecting it by not pushing it over to far, you can protect it too. You can flush it every 30 to 100 thousand miles. How often you flush it will depend on the condition and your car’s manual.
Also, you can periodically use additives. Always check levels before and after, as with all things, don’t overfill.
2. Transmission Car Maintenance Service
The transmission allows your car to move from one gear to the next. This applies to both manuals and automatics.
Not all transmissions have to or can be flushed. But, for most vehicles, flush them about as often as the power steering. Parts tend to wear out and the transmission can slip out of gear.
A full flush of the system removes debris and dust. It also leaves your car with fresh and clean transmission fluid.
Transmissions tend to lose effectiveness at a slow rate before becoming big problems. Keeping an eye on it and checking the color of the fluid is the best indicator. But, a red puddle, hard shifts or slipping gears are all symptoms.
3. Brakes and Fluid
Brakes are often considered to require minimal maintenance. The average person can do most of what is required solo or with a friend. But very few people fully treat the brakes as they should.
Brake fluid absorbs moisture from the air and the moisture builds up in the system. It can make the brakes soft and comes into contact with metal parts, causing corrosion.
Whenever brakes are changed, the fluid should be inspected at least. To be on the safe side, drain the lines, refill the reservoir and bleed the lines too.
This may turn a one hour job into a two-hour job. But a new bottle of brake fluid once a year or every other year costs far less than new brake lines.
Also, pay attention to fluid levels of the brakes and all fluids whenever you fuel up. You’ll spot problems much sooner this way.
4. Air Filters
Have you ever taken your vacuum apart to clean the filters? It has gotten much easier with bagless types. But filters get clogged very fast.
The same is true with the air filters in your car. Most people know about one air filter, but did you know most cars have two. One sits under the hood and cleans the air before it mixes with gasoline.
Replacing the air filter once or twice a year can prevent your car from losing power. As filters get clogged, less air gets into the engine and your car loses power.
The other filter, the less well-known one, is for the air in the cabin. It keeps vents clear and helps you breathe in fewer toxins, molds and dust particles. Many have active carbon to remove smells from the air as well.
5. Cooling System
Just as there are two air filters, there are two cooling systems. Engines produce a very great amount of heat with contained explosions and friction. If it isn’t kept cool, it can seize, warp, crack and cease to be more than an 800 lb paperweight.
Like other maintenance issues, most people don’t think about their radiator until it breaks. But you can extend the lifespan through maintenance.
You might plan to do your cooling system around the same time as your power steering. Since it will be in the shop anyway, might as well get both flushed. Unlike the power steering, this one can be done on your own.
The other cooling system prevents you from boiling like a poached egg on a hot day. Yep, it’s the air conditioner.
Now this one is kind of a freebie, and not necessary to the functioning of your car. But most of us like the comfort. And fixing the system can cost a lot
Instead, during colder months, when you don’t need A/C, turn it on for 15 minutes. Turning it on once a month will keep lubricants moving and the system conditioned.
6. Fuel Injector
Fuel injectors do what you might think they do. The inject fuel into the engine. When they are clean, it mixes with air in an efficient manner.
But as they get dirty, fuel doesn’t mix as well with air, and car performance suffers. You can buy a stronger cleaner for use once a year.
And, for more regular maintenance, after every oil change, use a mid-grade cleaner. Many cleaners are gentle enough to use with each or every other tank of gas.
Not only will these areas keep your car on the road, but also they can save you tons of money. Take the transmission for example.
A transmission costs $200 to flush and you might do it four times over the life of the car. But if it breaks, you will be shelling out $2000 to replace it. Or, you may have to buy a new car for $20,000.
Car maintenance service saves you money now and makes money later. When you do finally decide to buy a newer car, your old one will sell for more. And it will do that because of the work you put in now.
For more information on keeping your car healthy, check out our tips here.