They say, “nothing lasts forever” but I believe with the right approach to life a lot of things may not last forever but can last for a very long time.
We always read about secrets to living a long life, here are the secrets to keep your car running for a long time.
Someone once told me that a car is like a human being, it has to run hard to keep fit.
Engines cannot always run hard and long if they are going to last for long. They need to run within reasonable limits.
First of all, these are mechanical devices and if one decides to abuse them then they will not last that long. Take it this way, the higher you rev the shorter the engine life. The hype that comes with all forms of motorsport bring some kind of competition, the urge to race the streets and rev engines to the limit.
Remember that the cars you see racing are on that track because of sponsors.
It costs a lot of money to race cars and if you compete from the spectator stands with your pocket as your sponsor . . . you might be applying to be a pedestrian soon. It’s wise to always keep within a good rev range, a reasonable range. Your engine will last longer and you will enjoy it.
Some people drive their cars way past 500 000km and you will still find them driving with no problems. You would wonder why. Well, there are cars that are well known for long term reliability then there are some that have lost touch or have never had the touch anyway. Choose a reliable car with a reliable engine. Just do some research before you buy, it will go a long way.
Whenever we talk of engine life, we can never overlook engine oil — the quality and the oil change intervals.
This point can never be stressed enough, engine oil makes everything work, it reduces friction and heat. You need to get it right every time.
Change your oil at the right time which is an average of 10 000km depending on the type of oil used. By so doing you reduce the amount of dirt and particles that hurt your engine. If you keep old oil for too long, sludge will build up in your engine.
Most of the engine problems emanate from that sludge build-up and too much dirt or particles inside the engine. Every time you change oil you also need to change the filter as well or the new oil will be contaminated. There is no point of changing the oil and keeping the old oil filter. A small percentage of contaminated oil will contaminate the rest.
Car maintenance has been reduced to just oil change for most people as the economy continues to bite. Keeping your car for longer however, also entails taking care of it as a whole especially all the moving parts. Lubricating the bearings drive shafts, steering components is equally important.
It increases the life of all these components and the car as a whole. Remember strained suspension puts more load on the engine to provide movement and more load means less life.
Dust boots also need replacing as well when they are worn out, if they are not replaced other earthly components like water, mud, sand etc will find their way in and shorten the life of the driveshafts, CV joints, steering racks and ball-joints.
There’s always other ways of prolonging your vehicle’s life like steering while car is in motion. Newer cars have power steering and it’s easy to steer even when the car is not in motion but with the engine running. With older cars that do not have power steering, it’s harder to steer a stationary vehicle such that it becomes a reflex to steer when the car is in motion simply because it’s easier.
Like what they say, trust the lazy man to find an easier way to do the job. It is wise however, to always steer when the car is in motion to reduce stress on the steering components.
Lastly, once in a while check your cooling system for leaks, blockages etc. Do a flash and make sure everything is working fine.
When you change your timing belt, change your water pump as well to avoid failure at the most inconvenient of times. A valuable asset would be to find a vehicle handbook that details service intervals for your specific car and religiously stick to those intervals.
Above all, take time to understand your vehicle. It’s like a baby, attend to every whine and darker days will be few. Slowly you will find that it’s not that hard to reach that million mark. Till next time — Happy Motoring
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