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Good Habits to Make Your Car Last as Long as Possible

It’s not luck or chance that makes some cars run for 200,000+ miles, and there’s no secret sauce that will get your car there, either. What it comes down to is, simply, how well you take care of your car. Read on for seemingly little things you can do to keep your car running even longer than you will.

1. Keep your car clean

Here’s something you can do today, and it’s not just for aesthetics. Regularly washing and waxing your car can significantly extend its life. Grime and grit will accelerate corrosion and wear, and humid environments or those with cold winters and road salt will wreak havoc on your car.

Put washing and waxing your car on a schedule, but also just pay attention to how dirty it is and clean as needed. A basic car wash is fine, but consider washing and waxing your vehicle yourself—automated car washes can leave scratches or miss areas.

2. Use the parking brake

The parking brake, or emergency brake, isn’t just for when you park on a hill or when your main brakes fail. You should use it every time you park your car, and here’s why: when you put your car into park, a mechanism called the parking pawl engages. This system keeps the transmission in place, which in turn supports the engine. The best practice is to come to a complete stop, pull the parking brake, and then shift your car into park.

3. Pump the air conditioning

This is another easy one—and you don’t have to actually pump the AC. Just use it regularly, including during cold months. Doing so will allow coolant to circulate through the system, which will keep the pieces lubricated and prolong the life of your AC unit—and hopefully help you avoid a costly repair. Run the AC for at least ten minutes a week to help keep the system running smoothly.

4. Change oil and air filters regularly

Oil and air filters become clogged over time, and replacing them will improve air and oil flow to your engine, prolonging the life of your engine and keeping up its efficiency. Replace the oil filter every time you change your oil, and make a habit of checking the air filter at the same time.

You probably won’t need to replace the air filter with every oil change, but it’s good to check it out often—if you live in an especially dusty place, you might need to replace it more often. You can even install a relatively inexpensive car monitoring system that will keep you in-the-know on how your engine is performing.

5. Keep a lookout for recalls

You should be notified if there is a recall available for your car, but if your car isn’t registered or the address you supplied when you registered your car isn’t up to date, you might not hear about available recalls. Look up your car’s year, make, and model online and you’ll easily be able to see if your car has been recalled for any reason. You can also look up by your car’s VIN to see if there are any recalls. If yes, take care of it, no matter how minimal it may seem; doing so may not only protect you but could extend the life of your car.

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