Extending the life of your car (Part 6)

Tires have the tendency of losing pressure when the exterior temperatures soar or drop and they can lose even more whenever the weather outside is very hot. This issue causes under-inflated tires which lead to modest driving performances and faster wear.

If you plan on replacing the car in the near future, don’t bother investing in a brand new set of tires.

However, if time has come to replace those aging tires, you should buy a used set which will keep you going for a while and for a significantly less cost.


Tires and wheels take a lot of abuse depending on the roads where you drive your car so it’s advisable that you clean them once in a while by using wheel cleaners which have been specifically developed for various types of wheels. These are available in a wide variety of formulations to match all the types of wheels out there. Wheel polish should be used for metal wheels while a coat of wax is recommended for painted wheels.

At least once a month you should verify the brake fluid level. Before doing so, make sure that you remove the dirt gathered on the master cylinder lid and if fluid is indeed necessary, add only the one which is recommended by the manufacturer of the vehicle. It’s best to avoid using brake fluid taken from a container which was opened in the past because once the brake fluid is exposed to air it will absorb moisture which will lead to contamination.

Changing the engine’s oil more frequently will increase the lifespan of your vehicle, even though today’s cars have a significantly longer interval between the changes in comparison to cars from several decades ago. However, in most of the owner’s manuals you’ll find a more frequent interval related to “severe conditions.” It’s advisable you follow these intervals to increase the life of the engine, especially if you primarily use the car in crowded city traffic.

Another piece of advice that we can give you is to avoid overfilling the engine crankcase with oil because it could rise into the crankshaft. If it does, the air bubbles will probably get churned into the oil and the car’s oil pump won’t be able to do an efficient job at circulating oil if air bubbles are involved. If this happens, engine parts could overheat and malfunction, including sparkplugs. As a general rule, it’s best to avoid overfilling car-related fluids.

If you are a do-it-yourself kind of guy and replace the vehicle’s oil by yourself, don’t forget to thoroughly clean the drain plug and washer by using rags prior to reinstalling the oil pan. In addition, clean and replace when necessary filters such as the oil and air filters. Transmission fluid filter also has to be changed every 25,000 miles (40,000 km).

Most of the automakers recommend car owners to replace the spark plugs once every 30,000 miles (48,000 km) in order to maintain good engine performances and low fuel consumption. However, some of the cars come factory-equipped with more premium plugs known as double platinum plugs which last for 100,000 miles (160,000 km).

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