Your car is one of your most precious possessions. It is also something on which you surely depend, to go to work or pick up your children from school.
Today, people keep their vehicles longer before reselling and changing them, partly because of car loans and mostly longer repayment plans. Therefore, it is more important than ever to maintain your vehicle properly so that it has a longer life and you will avoid the heaviest repairs.
Here are our relatively simple 9 tips to extend the life of your vehicle!
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Listen to your engine
If you ask an experienced driver such as a professional pilot the question, for example, you will probably get the same answer. The engine talks to you.
And you have to know how to decipher its messages in order to be able to take the appropriate measures. A diesel engine, for example, will produce an extremely different noise if its oil starts to degrade. You should be able to notice this variation.
Also note that the engine also produces different noises depending on its temperature. If you decide to push it to the maximum when it only displays a temperature of 70 to 80°, it will quickly get tired.
So, to extend its life, take the time to heat it. The ideal temperature is 90° for gasoline engines, and 95° for diesel models.
Good to know:
When your muffler is about to die, it will produce the famous rumblings in your car. They tend to get louder while you drive.
Loose bolts on your shock absorbers can also make a rattling noise.
Pay attention! Clear signs that your car’s brakes need replacement include :
A squeal, squeak or hiss when you push the brake pedal.
If your vehicle pulls to one side when slowing down
or if the brake pedal feels soft when not pushed.
Little known secret: Do not refuel if you see the tank truck
If you see a tanker truck delivering gasoline to your local gas station, come back another day or look for another station.
By filling underground tanks, it creates turbulence that can stir up sediment. Once in your gasoline, this sediment can clog filters and fuel injectors, which can affect performance and require repairs.
Wash your car… even in winter
Do you rarely wash your car in winter? You are not alone. The cars you see on the road show that, like you, many people say to themselves, « Why bother? The car will be horrible anyway the next time I take it. »
The problem is that washing is more important in winter than in the rest of the year. Sand, slush and ice mixed with road salt are precisely what makes your car rust.
Remember! The fastest corrosion occurs when the temperature fluctuates around the freezing point. During the cold months, rinse the chassis and hard-to-reach areas that are susceptible to rust, such as bumpers and inside wheel wells.
If the temperature outside must stay above freezing long enough for your car and driveway to dry, fill a bucket with hot water and do the job at home. If not, go to your local car wash and make sure the staff dries your car well.
Don’t miss our complete article Car cleaning: 10 tips to wash your car like a pro!
Take care of your clutch
Do not drive with your foot on the clutch!
This is the first rule to follow to extend the life of the clutch: avoid keeping your foot on the clutch at all times.
The pedal must be either fully depressed or fully released. Otherwise, you will create additional wear on a part of the car that is extremely expensive.
A good driving habit: Reduce your speed when you see a red light.
Do not continue driving at full speed when you see a red light. Slow down in advance when you see stopped cars, a red light or any other reason that would require you to stop.
By the way, when you reach the traffic or intersection, you may not need to stop, allowing you to gently release the clutch while avoiding clutch slippage.
Make sure the radiator is in good condition
One of the reasons the engine overheats in summer is a radiator failure or a problem due to a fluid leak.
If you see a green, orange or even yellow liquid when the vehicle stops, it is because the coolant is leaking. So don’t make long trips without solving this problem.
Don’t forget! a radiator’s worst enemies are corrosion, aging and shocks that can damage it or clog certain components.
Observe oil changes
We are not making anything up by telling you that oil is essential to the proper functioning of your engine. When oil levels are low or the oil is old and dirty, it increases friction between metal parts that will eventually cause engine wear.
When buying a new car, make it a habit to change the oil regularly according to the schedule recommended in the manufacturer’s manual, usually every 5,000 to 10,000 kilometers.
Moreover, when changing oil, it is strongly recommended (if not mandatory) to replace the oil filter. The purpose of the oil filter is to filter dirt and oil particles, which could cause significant damage to your engine.
Luckily, Oil filters are generally inexpensive, ranging from 5 to 20€ on average and depending on the model of your vehicle.
One more thing: Use only one brand of oil.
By opting for a single brand of oil, mixing is avoided and the quality remains uniform. Don’t save on oil! It is much more interesting to invest in a good brand (Castrol, Total…) in order to extend the life of the engine.
Do not wait too long before replacing belts and hoses
The belt is often discussed – in the same way as pipes (professionals also call it « hoses »). These flexible elements often seem to be in perfect condition. However, the deterioration of these parts is not always visible.
That’s why these rooms (like the gas pipes in your home) have a « deadline ». It is crucial to replace them according to the manufacturer’s recommendations to avoid tiring your engine or even facing engine failure.
Tired radiator pipes can easily fail in hot weather. Let’s not talk about a broken belt that can have disastrous results. And what about a steering belt that fails and no longer allows you to turn the steering wheel properly.
Replacing these parts on time is important, not only for the life of your car but also – and above all – for your safety.
Cleaning and anti-rust treatment
With our winters lasting almost half the year, it is extremely important to keep the interior and exterior of your car as clean as possible. Snow, ice, salt, sand and gravel can damage a car.
They easily infiltrate into cracks and small openings, causing corrosion and the appearance of rust. You should wash, wax, clean and polish your car regularly, even in winter.
Of course, there are many affordable rust prevention treatments and products that can be used to preserve your car.
And by chance, the price of these types of products is low compared to the cost of repairing a car damaged by rust. Well protected, your car will last longer and be as good as a new one!
Check your exhaust system
If you hear small noises when you pass over potholes, it may be your exhaust system that is being lifted off.
Be aware that this repair, in most cases, only requires one weld. As you look under the vehicle, pay particular attention to rust.
If it has been there for a long time, some components can break when your vehicle is hit. Have the rust checked by a certified centre.