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4 maintenance tips to make your car last longer

Woman smiling and standing between white car door and car's interior.

4 maintenance tips to make your car last longer

Tom Musbach

By Tom Musbach on April 03, 2013

Simple car-care basics can keep your vehicle running in good shape for years and save you money. But many car owners don't even get the oil changes right.

Not to worry. Two car-repair specialists on JustAnswer shared tips that can help boost your car's performance and make it last longer.

Mind the fluids

"There are other fluids beside engine oil that need to be replaced at specific intervals," said Ahmed Ibraheem, a certified master auto technican on JustAnswer. He gave two examples:

  • Transmission fluid: Should be replaced every 30,000 miles (although some models specify 60,000 miles)
  • Engine coolant: Should be replaced every 30,000 miles, although a special long-life version can last in some cars for up to 100,000 miles.

Slow down and take it easy

"Always getting to Grandma's house first is not only unsafe but bad for your car if you're the last to start out," said Chris P., a car engine technician on JustAnswer.

"Pushing a vehicle hard not only makes it run hotter, it uses more fuel," he said. "It also causes accelerated wear to everything including the engine, transmission, tires, brakes and much more."

Know your vehicle's strengths

Make sure you buy the right car that meets your most important transportation needs, said Chris.

"A minivan can pull a boat, but it is not designed to do this often. A truck is designed to always tow or haul, not commute 85 miles per hour down the interstate for an hour," he said.

Avoid the most common error

Both auto experts said the most common error they see in customers is not changing the oil at required intervals, leading to costly repairs.

"A quick $29 lube visit can save more than $2,000 on an engine replacement," said Chris.

Going 1,000 miles over the recommended oil change interval on your car often results in "engine oil sludge," which comes from oil being cooked into a gel-like compound in the engine.

"Engines in newer cars carry very tight tolerances and have very small oil passages which are easily blocked by oil gel," said Ahmed Ibraheem. "It's the top reason for engine failure that's most easily preventable."

"Typically your owner's manual will specify all the needed maintenance and the intervals," he concluded. "If you're not sure, you are always welcome to ask me (screen name "AMD") or another of the trained car technicians on JustAnswer for help with your vehicle's specific maintenance needs."