In May, 2021, used-car prices hit a 68-year record, while the average price for a new car hit a record of over $38,000, according to research firm J.D. Power.
Faced with these skyrocketing prices, drivers are keeping their cars longer: The average age of US cars hit an all-time high last year – to about 12 years old.
If you are one of the many Americans who have decided to keep their used or junk car longer than they had planned, you need to know how to take care of it. Follow these old car maintenance tips to keep your car running for a long time to come.
7 Tips to Keep your Junk Car Running
1. Check your Brakes
Old car care requires being proactive, and not waiting around until something bad happens. Have your brakes checked to make sure the brake pads don’t wear thin and that your brake fluid doesn’t run out.
2.Inspect & Clean your Tires
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), cars with tires that are underinflated by more than 25 percent are three times more likely to be involved in a crash. Have your tires rotated periodically and keep a tire gauge in your car so you can check your air pressure. Regularly clean and polish your car wheels to avoid corrosion buildup and stains.
3.Watch Your Mileage & Drive Safely
The more miles you put into the car, the faster it devalues, so you might want to avoid those cross-country road trips. How you drive your car also affects its condition. Speeding and aggressive driving are hard on your car’s engine, and increase the chance of your being in an accident.
4.Change all Belts and Hoses
Belts and hoses deteriorate over time, and sometimes you can’t tell from a visual inspection. Usually when a car is serviced by a mechanic, he must remove all the belts in order to get to the timing belt, so you should ask him to put on all new belts. It’s an important part of old car care and is relatively inexpensive, especially if they’re all taken care of together.
5.Keep an Eye on your Cooling System
During summer, coolant keeps the engine cool and during the winter it prevents it from freezing. It also prevents corrosion, foam, and deposits from forming, which harm your car’s performance.
6.Take Care of your Battery
Inspect your battery cables and connections and make sure you clean rust and corrosion from the battery terminals. Mixing baking soda, water, and an anti-corrosion chemical, will do wonders.
7.Practice Routine Oil Changes
Driving with low oil, no oil, or dirty oil can cause serious damage to your engine. Avoid this by getting your oil and filter changed every 3,000 miles, or 5,000 miles if you use synthetic oil. This is an old car maintenance tip that we cannot emphasize enough!
By following these old car maintenance tips, there’s no reason you and your junk car can’t grow old together. And besides, it’s better than spending money for a new car!