More and more people are keeping their vehicles longer as the average age of a car on the road today is more than 11 years. Considering the cost of a new car is about $31,000 on average, deciding to keep your car rather than buying a new one makes financial sense, says the non-profit Car Care Council.
The Car Care Council offers sensible steps to help motorists maintain their vehicles for safety, dependability and value.
Keep it Clean
Washing and waxing your vehicle on a regular basis protects it from the natural elements that may harm the finish.
A good cleaning of the inside and outside of the vehicle prevents the buildup of damaging chemicals and dirt, reduces the potential for rust from road salt and ensures proper visibility needed for safe driving.
Rely on Your Senses
When driving, always be alert and rely on your senses. While you may be familiar with noises that your vehicle makes on a daily basis, any noise that is new, different or suspicious may indicate a problem. Listen for sounds such as squealing, thumping, hissing and grinding - these are all signs that the vehicle may be trying to tell you something.
Unusual smells such as burnt rubber, hot oil, gasoline, rotten eggs, burning carpet or the sweet smell of syrup can be a sign of serious, and potentially costly, trouble for your vehicle.
When you hear or smell something that doesn't seem right, do not ignore it. Instead bring your car to a professional service technician to get an informed opinion on the nature of the sound or odor.
Stay on Schedule
The key to a car running at its best is basic maintenance. Keeping up with fluid changes, tire checks, filter changes and other services will help avoid bigger and more expensive repairs. Over time, some car parts and components wear out or become damaged. Being aware of your car will help you address any issues before they become bigger problems.
In addition to following the maintenance schedule recommended in your owner's manual, the Car Care Council offers a free custom service schedule to help you be proactive in caring for your car.
"Everyone loves a new car but sometimes the money is just not there to purchase one," said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. "If you treat your car as a valuable investment and commit to regular preventative auto care, not only will you end up saving money, but your car will keep on running for many miles down the road."
Source: Car Care Council