Follow Your Vehicle’s Service Schedule & Check Fluids Regularly

This may come as a shock, but following the recommended service guide in the owner’s manual of your vehicle will help you to keep it running better, for longer. Many people disregard these simple recommended car maintenance schedules, but they serve as great reminders that your transmission fluid, coolant, or power steering fluid, could need replacing or a top up. Your vehicle’s certified maintenance is there for a reason and serves to keep your warranty valid.

In later model vehicles, many are already equipped with advanced engine and drivetrain monitoring systems, so knowing when the best moment to get your next oil change will literally make itself known on your dash. Vehicles with turbochargers or superchargers will likely require an altered maintenance schedule, depending on climate and road conditions.

Synthetic motor oils may be more expensive, but your aging car or truck will thank you for the expense, as they tend to offer longer, more comprehensive protection than most conventional motor oils. Monitoring your oil’s hot and cold viscosity during summer and winter by selecting the right grade for summer and winter.

Listening to your vehicles prompts, and not skimping out on general maintenance appointments will help to ensure that your vehicle is running in tip top shape.


Take it Easy

Popular culture and movies like the Fast and the Furious franchise have led us to believe that driving fast, all of the time, is best practice for your vehicle; it’s not, plain and simple. Driving calmly for the vast majority of your vehicle’s lifespan will help to ease it along its journey.

Shifting too aggressively in a manual transmission, or putting the car into reverse while it’s still in motion cause stress on the transmission and gear box. Driving calmly also has the potential to improve your fuel economy by about 35%

It goes without saying that the odd ‘petal to the metal’ acceleration when merging onto a freeway, or a few hard panic stops, for example, isn’t going to hurt anything, but continual exposure to rough and rowdy driving practices take their toll on your vehicles engine, transmission and brakes.


Monitor Your Tires

Although selecting the right tires for your style of driving is important, it’s equally as important to monitor for the wear your tires are experiencing during their life-time. Under-inflated tires can actually reduce the life of your rubber by 15%, and can decrease your average fuel economy by around 10%

Monitoring your tire inflation levels is perhaps the easiest way to help maintain your vehicle, as most gas stations will have an air pump. For a dollar, you’ll be able to increase the life of your tires and keep your gas money in your pocket.

Rotating your tires also increases the life of your tires, and helps reduce uneven wear. Rotate them diagonally, from front left to rear right, and vice versa – as recommended. There will likely be a rotation arrow on the sidewall of your tires to guide you. If you’re driving down the highway at a high speed and you notice your car shaking or rattling without depressing the brake pedal, you may need a front end alignment. This also helps to extend the life of your tires, and ensures the tread wears evenly for better safety under braking.


Proper Storage

If you find yourself having to put your vehicle in storage for an extended period of time, keeping your vehicle clean and covered. The best place to store your vehicle is a garage, not the driveway, so if you can, consider putting your vehicle in public storage if you don’t have a space of your own.

When you’re putting the vehicle away, perhaps for the winter months, make sure you give it a solid wash and wax before walking away. Bird droppings and water droplets can have negative effects on your paint if left over time, and make sure to blast away any sing of mud or dirt.

Be sure to fill the tank with fuel as well. This may seem counter-intuitive, but it will prevent moisture from settling inside your gas tank and will lengthen the life of your seals. You can also go the extra mile and add a fuel stabilizer to prevent ethanol build-up. Consider changing your oil prior to putting away the vehicle as well.

Finally, keep your battery charged. There are a number of ways to help the life of your battery, namely driving the car periodically. Every few weeks, take the car out for a 15-minute spin. This will keep the engine lubricated and charge the battery. If you can’t drive it, simply disconnect the negative battery terminal. You may lose your radio presets, but you’ll ensure that the battery will start when spring arrives. You can also purchase a battery trickle charger, a device which plugs into the wall outlet and car battery to deliver a charge small enough to maintain the integrity of your battery. Without these basic measures in place, you’re guaranteed to need some help getting your car jump started.

The best way to ensure your vehicle lives a long and happy life is to purchase a reliable vehicle that you can trust right off the hop. Make a list of your favourite vehicles and with the help your local dealership, cross-compare them to ensure you’re getting the best bang for your buck when it comes to reliability.