Since the onset of the pandemic and subsequent supply chain challenges, the auto industry has experienced three years of near-constant disruption. Luckily, supply chain woes are easing a bit, but rising interest rates and inflation are taking a huge toll on consumers. This is leading many who would otherwise be purchasing a new car or truck in 2023 to stay in their current vehicle for another year.
If you want to extend the life of your vehicle, here are some helpful tips for keeping your ride in top shape until the market becomes more favorable for consumers.
1. Keep Up with Routine Maintenance
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it's important to stay on top of regular maintenance tasks like oil changes, tire rotations, and fluid flushes. These small tasks can make a big difference in the overall health of your vehicle.
2. Pay Attention to Early Warning Signs of Damage
If your car is exhibiting strange noises or behavior or displaying a warning light, don't ignore it! It's important to address any issues as soon as they arise to prevent further damage.
3. Drive Wisely
The way you drive can have a big impact on the longevity of your car. Avoid sudden accelerations, hard braking, and excessive speeds, as these can put extra strain on your vehicle.
4. Keep Your Car Clean and Rust-Free
A clean car is not only more pleasant to drive, but it can also help prevent rust and other damage. Make sure to wash the exterior of your car regularly and clean the interior to remove any dirt or debris. In addition to regular washing, be sure to wax your car to protect the paint and prevent rust. You should also pay attention to your car's undercarriage, as this is often the first place that rust appears.
5. Invest in Quality Tires and Maintain Optimal Tire Pressure
Good tires are essential for a smooth and safe ride, and they can also improve fuel efficiency. Be sure to regularly check your tires for wear and tear and replace them when necessary. Maintaining the optimal tire pressure for individual vehicles and tire sizes will help prevent flats and blowouts and keep your vehicle in alignment.
6. Routinely Check and Change Your Vehicle’s Oil
Remember to check your engine oil regularly when your car is warmed up and parked on level ground. Here's how to change your engine oil:
- Turn off the engine and wait a few minutes for the oil to settle.
- Locate the dipstick (usually a bright color with a round or T-shaped handle) and remove it. Clean it off.
- Reinsert the dipstick fully, wait a moment, then take it out again.
- Check the oil level. There are two notches on the dipstick that show the ideal range for your oil. Your oil should fall within this range.
- When you're finished, make sure to fully reinsert the dipstick.
7. Check Your Brake Pads Regularly
The last thing you want to experience while driving is brake failure. Brake pads can become thin over time, which can decrease your brake’s efficiency. That’s why it’s important to get regular brake checks every other time your vehicle is inspected.
To check your brake pads:
- Look between the spokes of the wheel to spot the shiny metal rotor.
- Find the metal caliper around the outer edge of the rotor.
- Between the caliper and rotor, you'll see the pad.
- As a general rule, the pads should be at least one-quarter of an inch thick. If they're thinner, it's time to replace them.
With interest rates continuing to rise and inflation impacting consumers’ buying decisions, many of our members are hoping to extend the lives of their vehicles over the next year.
Our newly launched healthCAR program gives any account holder—regardless of the mileage on your vehicle, or where your loan is serviced—the ability to purchase an affordable (plans start at $53/month), monthly vehicle protection option that can help you budget for and prepare for the inevitable expenses that come with vehicle ownership.
Please contact Logix at (800) 328-5328 or visit www.lfcu.com if you have any questions about this topic or would like to consider opening an account.