Some people change their cars faster than they should, while others choose to keep their cars despite their old age. If you’re part of the latter, it’s important to know the value and maintenance risks that come with driving an old car. Unless you have a high-end vintage vehicle, that old car will cost less compared to new models even with routine maintenance.
On the other hand, if you’re someone who typically forgets your scheduled maintenance services, your old car is more likely to break down and get you stranded. Some common problems with old vehicles are bad alternator diodes, faulty battery connections, worn-out brakes, damaged fuel lines, and fittings, pitted headlight lenses, and leaking power steering fluid. The worst part is, these issues can compromise your safety when driving.
1. Fix scratches right away
As much as car owners hate body scratches, they tend to appear almost unnoticed. The weather, road gravel, and other rough elements outdoors can dent your old car. Or, you get brushed up against other cars in parking lots or on the road. While getting scratches on your vehicle’s surface is usually unpredictable, you can stop them from rusting and totally ruining your car’s body by fixing them immediately.
Nail polish can hide the blemishes but cannot totally remove them. A better option is using a scratch remover kit that includes the right paint and sandpaper grade for your vehicle’s model and type. You can get these kits online or at your local car parts store.
2. Regularly change the oil
You can prevent a lot of mechanical issues in your old car by changing the oil regularly. It keeps the engine clean, protects and keeps the engine parts running, provides better gas mileage and car performance, and prolongs engine life. Check the owner’s manual to see when to change the oil and how often you should keep an eye on the oil level.
Car experts recommend following the manual instead of getting talked into by any mechanic for more frequent oil changes. As for the type of oil, always go for the automaker’s recommendation. Typically, you won’t need special motor oil if your old car is running well.
3. Practice proper tire care
When it comes to tire maintenance, there are several factors you need to consider. These include the car’s model, make, and current condition. You can check the tread wear bars. If they are level with the tread pattern, you need to replace your tires. You can also use a depth gauge to test the tire’s tread. Visit a local auto parts store to get the tools. In case you’re inexperienced with changing tires and don’t want to mess up your old car, you can always go to a local auto repair shop. They have the right type of advanced car tire changers that will suit the type and make of your car.
Besides the tire changers, repair shops have professional mechanics who can check for other hidden issues with your car. Moreover, properly inflate your tires to prevent problems like excessive or uneven wear. You can ask a tire manufacturer or check the car’s manual to see the recommended level of tire inflation.
4. Keep the car clean
If you want to keep your car for longer, clean it regularly. Prevent the paint from fading or rusting by performing routine wash and wax. Avoid using liquid dish soap to wash your car as it sucks the paint’s finish oils, shortening your paint job’s life. Use a dedicated car cleaner for cleaning your old car. Also, remember that waxing and polishing are two different tasks. Don’t skip polishing to achieve the best glow for the finish. Ensure to clean the interior as well, from shampooing the carpets to catching spills.
Be sure to also vacuum the door panels, console, dash, and headliner, and clean the entire interior using products like non-smoke aerosol cans. If you’re using leather upholstery on your old car, you’ll need to do a stain removal process as soon as you see the stains. Dye and ink transfers from plastic shopping bags or your clothes can be permanently set in within 24 hours.
Remember that old cars require more maintenance work, and most of the time, the costs are way bigger. Maintenance and repairs can get expensive even with proper care. So, before following our tips here, we recommend checking first if the costs of keeping the car is still worth it. Or, you’re better off buying a new model instead.