While driving along the roads, you cannot help but admire vehicles built in the 1980s or even 1970s still running and in top shape. It is inherent upon any driver and car owner to take good care of his ride. After all, many of his daily activities and weekend escapades are best accomplished with a well-tuned, well-performing automobile. And just because your car has now passed the 100,000-mile mark doesn’t mean you can already loosen up a bit on your regular maintenance and judicious driving habits. This is the perfect time for you to keep your aging car running, not like brand new, but a lot better than it looks. Here’s how.
Observe the Correct Maintenance Schedules
Brand new cars and trucks don’t really need very frequent maintenance checks. However, as soon as your car reaches a certain mileage, the frequency of maintenance checks also increases. As such, it is imperative that you check your car or truck maintenance checklist to have an idea of the different components that need to be checked at a more frequent basis than usual. For instance, if it took you an average of 7,000 miles before requiring an oil change, now that your vehicle is already old, you will need to change its oil a lot more frequently, say every 3,000 miles.
Your best friend in this aspect is not your mechanic, however. It’s your owner’s manual. Hopefully, you still have a copy of it. If not, then you can perhaps put your trust in your mechanic. The frequency of maintenance checks gradually increases with each year on the vehicle’s birthday. This is because many of the vehicle’s components are no longer in their optimal working condition. Make sure to check various aged car and truck maintenance tips as well.
Keep Driving it Sensibly
One of the best ways you can keep your aging car running is to, well, keep driving it. This may sound counterproductive since driving it more often also means exposing it to more wear and tear. But that is not necessarily the case especially if you maintain sensible driving habits such as avoiding hard acceleration and unsafe braking, just to name a few.
The reason why you need to keep on using your already-aged vehicle is to maintain the patency and integrity of the different systems in your car. The problem with not using your old car or truck is that dirt and debris can collect in the nooks and crannies of its different components. Over time, these parts lose their function. And when you try to start your vehicle, it may no longer be as good as before.
There is another reason why taking your vehicle for a long drive every weekend is a good idea. In fact, we’d highly recommend that you include this in your truck maintenance checklist. Taking it for a long drive can help you identify potential problems. Listen to the hum of your engine, the noise emanating from both under the hood and under the car, and any vibrations of unusual movements that you may notice while driving. Better yet, bring someone to drive for you so you can pay attention to how your old vehicle performs on the road. It’s a lot better being a passenger since you’ll be focused on your vehicle, not on the road.
Maintain Your Car’s Cooling System
You may have a reliable engine right under your hood, but don’t ever think that it can still function as normally as it once did the first time you turned it. Your engine’s performance is greatly dependent on a variety of factors. But since this component of your car is essentially the powerhouse of your vehicle, then you know that keeping it within its ideal operating temperatures is a must.
If you haven’t changed any of your car’s coolant system components ever since you bought it, there’s a chance that many of these parts are already beyond their lifespan. Radiator hoses are usually the first to go. And if you have problems with these passageways, you will not be able to move the engine coolant at a more efficient pace. This can result in engine overheating. The radiator can also get damaged or have leaks over time. This should also be checked and replaced.
Don’t forget the engine itself. Most of the time, your old car’s head gasket already needs to be replaced if you want to keep the engine working at its optimal temperatures. The water pump needs to be replaced, too, if it is already not functioning properly.
Observe More Frequent Oil and Oil Filter Changes
One of the best aged car and truck maintenance tips you can get from any mechanic is to change your vehicle’s engine oil and oil filter more frequently. As we have already noted above, the frequency of your maintenance schedules will have to be bumped up if you want your aged car running.
Let’s face it. An old car with an old engine is no longer as efficient as it used to be. That’s why if you’ve been changing your oil every 5,000 to 10,000 miles, don’t expect to do the same now that your car already has more than 100,000 miles under the hood. Engines, regardless of their build, can also degrade over time. Substances can accumulate, forming deposits that can lessen the efficiency of oils in lubricating your engine.
Keep Your Brake System Working Properly
A very crucial aspect of any vehicle is its brake system. This is especially true for older vehicles as some of the components of the system may no longer be working properly. While the brake pads should be replaced after a few years of use, the brake rotors should be carefully inspected for its surface integrity.
Ideally, if you already have an aging car, you would want your brake system completely flushed to get rid of any residue or deposits within your brake lines and other components. This should be done at least once every two years. But if you can make it a lot more frequent then that should be even better.
If your car is already about 7 or 10 years old, you should really pay attention to the brakes. This may seem like an unimportant component of your car, but you would want it to be in tiptop shape; lest, you figure in a vehicular accident.
Manage the Wheels and Tires
There are three things that you need to manage about your wheels and tires: rotation, balance, and alignment.
Rotating your car’s tires regularly can help even out the thinness of the tire wear. This can help improve drivability as well as the safety of your car. Now, if you do manage to rotate your tires on a regular basis, don’t forget to include balancing them. It would be wise to remember that with every pothole and bump that your car has to endure, its tires get out of balance. Not only is it unsafe to travel with an unbalanced set of wheels, it’s rather bumpy, too. Lastly, while rotation and balancing can help you get the most out of your tires, you’d have to pay attention to your wheel’s alignment as well.
Fix Immediately; Don’t Let Problems Grow Bigger
There are some car owners who are still enjoying driving cars with more than 200,000 miles on the odometer. How do they do it? Here’s a secret which shouldn’t at all be a secret: they fix even the slightest problem from the very first sign. In other words, they don’t allow problems to escalate. The moment they notice something odd with their machines, they immediately set out to find out more about the problem and seek possible solutions.
Given the fact that you already have an aging car and problems are more likely to occur sooner than later, you should be more vigilant in the identification of potential problems. This is where your car and truck maintenance checklist can come in handy. Make sure you adhere to the recommendations. Also, it is always best to take your car for a really long drive one weekend so you can have more time understanding what’s going on in your ride.
Keep it Clean
Old cars no longer look brand new, but you can easily give it a look that is as close to the original as it can get. Frequent washing and regular waxing of your aging car can make it a lot more presentable. More importantly, it gets rid of dirt, grime, and other particles that can get into the different components of your car. Washing your car also gives you the opportunity to look for dents and scratches that you can easily repair yourself. For major body work, then a professional can help you.
The same is true with the interior. Don’t let dirt and dust accumulate on your floor and upholstery. These should be removed regularly to keep your aging car in pristine condition.
Keeping an aged car running is easy if you drive as sensibly as you can and by adhering to the recommended maintenance checks of your vehicle. Fixing the problem even before it gets any worse should also help, too.