Auto repair costs can really put a damper on your budget. However, there are easy ways to keep your car running smoothly so you can stay out of the body shop. Frequently changing your fluids, keeping up with routine maintenance, and driving safely can prolong the life of your vehicle. There are also a few unexpected things you can do that will help keep your car chugging along into old age. Here are three tips you’ve never heard of that will help you maintain your car’s performance.
Bet you didn’t see this one coming, huh? It’s pretty simple: the more you use something, the more wear and tear it will receive. The same goes for your car. Unless you’re a car collector, you probably won’t be able to completely avoid using your car. But it’s still good to give it an occasional break by using alternative modes of transportation, like biking, walking, or public transit. This will keep the car in the garage and reduce your trips to the auto repair shop.
Keep That Garage Cool
Garages and carports are a great way of keeping your car safe from the weather, as well as unexpected debris or kids playing baseball in the street. However, if you live in an area that gets snow or ice, maintaining the proper temperature for your garage becomes important. If you opt for a heated garage, driving into it with snow or ice on your car leads to melting. Melting snow and ice lead to water, water on your car leads to rust, and rust can lead to a host of problems, ranging from engine damage to a structurally weakened body. Turns out that what may be comfortable for you on a cold winter morning isn’t as great for your car.
Drive Long, Drive Happy
So now we know that water leads to rust and rust kills cars. But you’re not going to impress the mechanic at your local auto repair shop with that tip. So here’s another one: besides melting ice and snow, using your car for short trips-say, less than 10 minutes-can also lead to water and rusting. It takes time for your engine to reach its optimal operating temperature. When it’s running at its optimal temperature, the water byproduct from engine combustion is heated into vapor and expelled from the engine through the tailpipe. On shorter trips (i.e. less than 10 minutes), however, the engine never reaches operating temperature and the water condenses in the engine, eventually leading to rust damage. Condensed water can also get into the engine oil, diluting it and making it less effective at lubricating your engine. So the next time you’re thinking of driving down the block to grab a late night snack, remember that a quick walk is not only good for your heart; it’s good for your engine too.
Of course, when you do run into car trouble, it’s in your best interest to find the most qualified and trusted mechanics. Solid car repair and maintenance can also go a long way to extending the life of your car.