Extend the Life of Your VehicleThe average sticker price of a new vehicle in the United States surpassed $30,000 in December 2004, according to Edmunds.com. Even with normal negotiated discounts added to rebates, low interest rates and other incentives from the manufacturers, the average selling price of a new car was $26,077! When you add the additional true costs of buying a new car including sales tax, licensing and registration fees and insurance, the older car or truck in your driver can start looking better and better.
Advances in vehicle quality and engine technology have allowed American car owners to keep their vehicles on the road longer than ever, according to R.L. Polk, the longest standing curator of automotive records in the United States. The median car age recorded in 2002 was 8.4 years, the highest median-age since the industry started tracking statistic in 1970.
At an average of 12,000 miles driven each year by most Americans, according to Popular Mechanics magazine, an 8.4-year old vehicle will have an odometer reading of 100,000 miles. Therefore, the high price of new cars (and the advanced technology and better quality of older cars) makes the prospect of keeping and driving your vehicle — long after it's paid for — a justifiable one.
One of the simplest ways to get the most for your motoring money is to extend the life of your current car, truck or SUV by taking a more aggressive and persistent approach to its maintenance and upkeep. Knowing cars are not going to get any cheaper (and that you may want to keep the one you're driving for a long time) you should start early taking better care of your car.
One average car payment today will go a long way towards an annual maintenance plan for an older vehicle. Regular inspections and care of brakes, tires, battery, hoses and everything in between will help keep your vehicle safe. You can also save a lot of money down the road on expensive repair bills as a result of neglect if you adopt a preventative maintenance program and stick to it. Ultimately, you and your vehicle will be safer, too. That's where we come in!
When you want your vehicle to age gracefully, we can help you keep it running safely and efficiently for many more miles to come. Here are some of the steps you should follow:
- Pay attention to warning signs and sounds; don't neglect the obvious. That strange sound you hear is telling you something.
- Change the oil every 3,000 miles.
- Get regular tune-ups.
- Inspect belts and hoses for unusual wear and visible cracks, and change as needed.
- Inspect the brake system for leaks and wear; check brake fluid levels at every oil change.
- Keep your vehicle clean, especially the undercarriage.
- Don't drive on worn tires.
- Check tire pressure on a weekly basis, especially if you've updated your vehicle with lower-profile tires.
- Prepare your vehicle for each upcoming season.
- Check power-steering fluid, radiator coolant, windshield washer and other fluid levels at every oil change.
- Protect your vehicle from the elements.
- Inspect and lubricate U-joints, CV-joints and wheel bearings every few months.
- Inspect and change wiper blades as needed.
- Check the suspension system and alignment every few months.
- Make sure your brake lights and headlights are working properly.