One good thing that has come out of this recession is that people have become, or are trying to become, more financially responsible. We are seeing higher savings rates, faster debt repayments, lower debt-income ratios and more frugality, people now brag about how cheap a certain item was or how much they saved on their purchase. One of the most expensive items we purchase are cars, whether new or used we spend a good chunk of our savings on a car, but how long does it last? Wouldn’t it be nice if your car could last you a little longer and give you more bang for the buck? Imagine all the savings over the long term if you replace your car every 8 years instead of every 5 or 6 years. Although I am not a car expert, here are a few things that I have learned that help me get more life out of my car.

Drive Smarter
Good driving habits don’t only save you on gas (often by as much as 20-25%), but help you extend your car’s life. Good driving will help reduce unnecessary wear and tear; rapid starts and hard braking can put a lot of unnecessary wear and tear on a vehicle. Consistent acceleration and deceleration is key. Also things like avoiding potholes safely and being careful on bumpy can go a long way in extending your car’s life.

car life

Follow Owner’s Manual
Have you ever read the owner’s manual of your car? Every car has one, but very few people actually read them. I am sure you know all the basics of your car, but the owner’s manual contains valuable information specifically for your make and model. By not reading and following the owner’s manual you are risking making costly errors, which can dramatically reduce your car’s life span. Take some time and go over the manual and  follow the instructions, this simple and free exercise can easily save you thousands of dollars and extend you car’s life span.

Regular Maintenance
We hear this over and over again, but still most do not follow it. There are always excuses to skip a routine check up, although these may not seem like a big issue, they will add up. If you regularly go for maintenance checks you will be able to save money on repairs in the long run and extend the cars life.

Tires
Tires are one of the most important safety considerations of your vehicle so do not ignore them or underestimate their importance. Proper tire maintenance means better handling and performance which means longer car life.

Certified Repair Technician
I always hear about stories where the person took the car in for one issue, but came back with a few more issues, ouch. To help prevent this you should establish a good relationship with a certified and properly trained repair technician. Today’s sophisticated vehicles require specialized diagnostic and repair skills and not every mechanic is qualified or trained to properly handle the issues that could arise.

How have you been able to get more out of you car? Any tips or tricks you use to extend your car’s life?