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5 Tips on Keeping Your Car Running Like New

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. All opinions are 100% mine.

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Nationwide provided me with information regarding its blog post.

So you did it. You saved up for that down payment, you did your research, and you finally bought the perfect car for you. It’s your pride and joy, and you have every intention of keeping it running as buttery smooth as the day you bought it.  But how?  Cars eventually wear out, break down, and reach the end of their useful life.  What makes the difference between a car that no longer works after 100,000 miles, versus one that makes it beyond 300,000?

Well, there’s a number of things that go into car maintenance.  In this article, we’re going to highlight the 5 most important tips on keeping your vehicle in top shape, many of which are excerpted from this excellent article from the Nationwide Blog: “5 Essential Tips on Making Your Car Last“.

1. Keep those fluids in check

A car requires a wide range of fluids to function, from engine oil, to brake oil, to engine coolant, to transmission oil.  All these need to be stocked in their respective compartments, in sufficient amounts to perform their duties, as well as changed at specific intervals.  Your car’s user manual may suggest you only check every 20,000 miles, but it won’t hurt you to do this more often.  Cooling fluid should be orange; if it starts to look red, it might need a change. Engine oil shouldn’t be black, so if that’s the color you see at the tip of the dip stick, go for an oil change. 

2. Buy good quality parts

When you’re changing the oil, opt for higher quality synthetic oil.  This type of oil resists heat degradation better and will go longer between changes, prolonging your engine life.  Similarly, buy a good quality oil filter, which will do a better job sifting out potentially damaging particles.

3. Develop good practices

When you first start your engine in the morning, it’s a good idea to leave it running for around 30 seconds, before driving off.  After you turn your engine off in the evening, gravity starts to work and slowly drains away the protective film around various metal parts, pooling it in their respective tanks.  It’s a normal process, but it’s important to know that it takes your car a few seconds after startup to once again pump the fluids back where they belong.  Give your baby a chance and wait a little.

4. Take care of the exterior

It may seem to you that cleaning and waxing your car is a purely aesthetic exercise, but the truth is that you’ll also be helping keep the body in shape; no one likes a car eaten away by rust.  Salt buildup can speed up the corrosion process, and a good one-yearly coat of wax will put a barrier between the elements and your car’s body. If you live in an area that gets rough winters, it’s also important to regularly clean the underbody to wash away salt and grime that inevitably builds up.

5. Drive smart

Starting slow and braking gently may seem like a no-brainer, but they do more than save you money on gas.  Your car is under constant stress on the road, from potholes to uneven surfaces.  If you constantly slam on the pedals, you’re just adding to that and increasing the wear and tear, taking years off your vehicle’s life.  It’s never a bad idea to just slow down a little and treat your car with kindness.

In the end, while these tips may seem obvious to some of you, it’s never a bad idea to be reminded that practicing all of them will save you time, money, and effort and will keep value in one of your biggest purchases. 

For more tips on car ownership, from buying one to learning about alternative fuel vehicles, the Nationwide blog is an invaluable resource.

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