Five Great Ways to Extend the Life of Your Car


Taking good care of your car will stand you in good stead, no matter how old your vehicle is. Here are five obvious—and not so obvious—ways to give your vehicle the staying power you want.

Aim for shade
A garage works best, but if that’s not an option minimize interior damage from UV sunlight and heat by always trying to park your car in the shade. If no shade is available, use a car shade to minimize the sun’s impact. And you’ll be rewarded by having a cooler car to step into on hot sunny days.

Monitor tire inflation
Little known fact: When outside temperatures drop or soar, tires tend to lose pressure. A drop of 10 degrees will decrease a tire’s air pressure by one or two pounds. And tires can lose even more air in hot weather. Many of you know that under-inflated tires can result in accelerated wear and poor driving performance. If you live in a place where temperatures vary a lot (read: Colorado), check your tire pressure often and add air as needed.

Remember the PCV valve
The PCV (positive crankcase ventilation) valve is an emissions control device on older cars — check your service manual to see if your car has one.The positive crankcase ventilation (PCV) system siphons these vapors from the crankcase and routes them into the intake manifold so they can be reburned in the engine. One of the unsung heroes of car maintenance, the valve should be changed every 30,000 miles (48,000 km) or as specified in your owner’s manual. In addition to helping you get the most from a tank of gasoline, it helps prevent the buildup of harmful sludge and corrosion.

Nip hose hassles
Check the hoses under your hood every month or two to avoid the hassle of a broken hose while you’re on the road. With the car cool and off, squeeze the hoses. If they are hard or make a crunching sound, it’s time for a replacement. Extremely soft or sticky hoses also warrant replacing. Keep this in mind: Driving with a ruptured coolant hose can overheat the engine and damage it.

Minimize wear and tear
Consolidate your short driving trips. Did you know most of the wear and tear takes place in the first few minutes of driving? Doing several errands at once, during low traffic hours if possible, will keep your engine happier longer.