Car Maintenance 101: Getting Your New Car to 400,000 Kilometres

Posted by | November 07, 2013 | Maintenance, Ownership | No Comments

600_SKODA-Fabia-1-million-003Make your engine last longer! Put 400,000 kilometres or more on your car! Drive your engine clean! These are some of the promises made by auto parts manufacturers and others who are trying to get you to buy something that may or may not make your car last longer. However, there are three sure-fire things that you can do to make sure your car lasts as long as possible.

Change your oil and oil filter regularly

oilchangeBesides gasoline, oil is probably the most vital fluid in a car. It provides lubrication between moving metal components. A loss of oil pressure or a lack of proper lubrication can cause an engine to seize, turning your car into an immobile 4,000 pound brick. Engine oil is formulated for the extreme conditions found in combustion chambers, however, over time it starts to break down and lose its lubricating powers. Small bits of dirt and tiny pieces of metal start to build up in the oil. These particles can cause engine components to wear more rapidly.

The answer to the question “at what interval should I change my oil?” varies widely depending on who you ask. Your boyfriend, your father (who insists that he knows everything about cars) and your owner’s manual may give you very different answers. For example, my Dad changes his oil every 5,000 miles, no matter what the owner’s manual says. If you’re confused, go by what the manual tells you.

Oil changes don’t have to be expensive. Many shops offer them for between $30 and $50, depending on how much oil a car requires. While they are under the hood, mechanics usually keep an eye out for damage and other maintenance concerns, helping to keep you safe. Spending ~$40 a few times a year is a small price to pay for keeping your engine well lubricated and your vehicle safe.

Wash your car, especially during the winter

car-wash-01Canadian winters are renowned for being tough, but they can be especially rough on your car. Sand, grit, and road salt in particular can be tough on metal components and cause corrosion. This is the primary reason why a car driven mostly in warmer climates will last longer than a car driven through several Saskatchewan winters.

Though keeping your car clean can be a serious challenge between November and March, taking it to the car wash several times during the winter can reduce the rate of corrosion. One area that is prone to salt build-up is the wheel wells, which often have ledges where grit can accumulate. The high pressure hoses at a car wash should blast away most of this accumulated grit and help to keep the body from rusting. The floor sprayers at automatic car washes can help to keep the under body clean as well.
Waxing your car before the snow flies will not only make your paint look great, it will add an extra layer of protection between the elements and the car’s body.

Follow the maintenance schedule in the owner’s manual

autoguideSome manufacturers, such as Toyota with their ToyotaCare plan, offer free maintenance for the first year or up to a certain number of miles. During these maintenance appointments, the dealer will typically flush fluids, replace filters, and inspect important components. This important maintenance work will help your car last longer by ensuring that all vehicle systems are working at their peak efficiency.

What do you do to help your cars going to 400,000 kilometres and beyond? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below:

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