CHICAGO – Between higher gas prices and a shortage of microchips, finding a new – or even used – car can be difficult these days.
“I don’t think it’s unusual to keep a car 200 to 250,000 miles … and have it for 15 years,” said Jeff Cox, president of the Car Maintenance and Repair Association.
Sounds impossible? Well, it’s not like that. And Cox should know.
“If you take care of maintenance, you can go a long way,” Cox said.
Cox said a good first step is to make sure you take care of your car according to the manufacturer’s specifications – that means knowing the recommended service intervals for things like changing the oil and rotating the tires.
“When you take your car to service it, the people there can help you increase those intervals and create a schedule for you,” Cox said.
You can also find these recommendations online or in the owner’s manual.
Either way, it’s worth knowing about them, because it will allow you to plan for future car expenses.
“A sign of a good store is the one who will sit with you and spend five minutes simply saying, ‘Hey next year, these are some of the things you need to think about doing to get the most out of your car.’ “Cox said.
Another good step, says Cox, is to have your car inspected regularly throughout the year.
“Before embarking on these long journeys, it’s a good idea to bring your car in, get it through this multi-point check to make sure you get to your destination,” Cox said. “Nothing spoils a vacation more than sitting on the side of the road.”
You should also pay attention to download parts for your car.
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However, there is a catch.
Cox says you have to look for downloads yourself – don’t expect it to come in the mail.
You can find this information online or from the manufacturer, NTHSA or custom car group.
Remember – you need to take care of the outside of your car.
Washing the salt and applying a layer of wax can add years to the life of your car.
Another tip from the Car Maintenance and Repair Association: Periodically go around the outside of your car.
Check it yourself for any problems and then take it for a closer inspection if necessary.