Contrary to what a lot of people think, today’s cars can actually last for much longer than cars of the 60s and 70s. There was a time when you were lucky to get 120k miles out of a car…now 220k or more isn’t at all uncommon. Unfortunately, a lot of don’t ever learn how to maintain a car properly; it winds up being something we just take for granted.  So let’s do a quick rundown:

  • Change your oil regularly. We put this at the top of the list because there’s probably nothing you can do that’s more important to car repair or car maintenance than regular oil changes. If you’re still using conventional oils, a 3k-5k mile interval is good. Remember, though, that synthetic oils now outperform mineral-based oils in about every respect. With synthetics, you can go for a 10k to 15k interval (follow the manufacturer’s recommendations). There are engines with 250k miles that have had regular oil changes and are still spotless on the inside when they are torn down for overhaul.
  • Change your transmission fluid and filter. Especially if a vehicle is used for severe duty like towing, make sure your transmission fluid and filter gets changed every 35k to 45k miles. Invest a little extra in a flush by your auto mechanic to make sure that the transmission’s valves and internal passages don’t have any buildup in them.
  • Flush your cooling system yearly. Your cooling system is the car’s lifeblood, and old coolant will build corrosion and clog small passages in the radiator and inside the engine.
  • Rotate your tires.  It will definitely help the life of your tires, and you’ll notice a big improvement in drivability and ride as well.
  • Watch the manufacturer’s recommendations for tune-ups. It’s not like the Seventies when a car needed a tuneup of plugs, plug wires and ignition points every 35k miles, but they still need it from time to time. Every 60k or so miles is usually a good interval.
  • Lubricate. Again, cars don’t need a complete chassis lube like they used to, but things like door hinges, hood and trunk hinges and other points still need lubrication every year or so.
  • Drive like you have some sense. This seems like a no-brainer, doesn’t it? It doesn’t mean you have to drive like Grandpa, but just slow down for railroad tracks or bumps, and don’t do quick takeoffs and stops that put strain on pretty much every part of your car’s driveline.

Auto Repair Austin


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