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10 Easy Tips to Keep your Car Running Long After You Paid it Off

September 06, 2017

Having a car payment is rarely as fun as having a car. It’s exciting to get behind the wheel of a brand-new car, but footing the bill for it? Not so much. The good news is, eventually you get to pay that car off, and then you’re a free person driving a free car—well, paid-off car. But nothing is worse than paying for a car that broke a long time ago, so here are a few maintenance tips to make sure your car keeps going even after you’ve paid it off.

1. Change the Oil Every 5,000 Miles

This is a pretty simple one. Hopefully you have been doing this already, but we thought we would mention this just in case. Your car manual probably has a more specific guideline for your particular vehicle, but most advise changing the oil at 5,000 miles. 

2. Replace Your Spark Plugs Every 30,000 Miles

By simply popping in new plugs on a regular basis, the life of your car can be increased exponentially. According to yourmechanic.com there are many factors that could change how often you should replace your spark plugs, but every 30,000 miles is a safe bet for most drivers.

3. Flush Your Radiator

Steam constantly coming out of the front of your car is not normal. Make sure to flush your radiator regularly in order to stop your car from overheating. The benefits are numerous, including removing rust, scale deposits, and contaminants.

4. Replace Your Brake Pads

You’ve probably ignored that screeching long enough. That screeching sound is actually your brake pad’s wear indicator telling you it’s time for new pads. Get those brake pads replaced and you can lose the earplugs while driving. Who would have thought?

5. Clean Your Battery Posts

This can be as simple as scrubbing your batter posts with Coca-Cola, but you could also invest in some proper corrosion-removal fluid as well. Battery manufacturer Die Hard has a detailed instructional guide on their website.

6. Regularly Check Your Tire Pressure

Invest in an inexpensive tire gauge, or simply head to the nearest gas station and make sure each tire is at the proper PSI. Not only does this save wear and tear on your car, but it also improves overall gas mileage.

7. Regularly Check All Fluid Levels

Other than just oil, it is necessary to look at other important fluids such as coolant and wiper fluid. Neglecting these can lead to a very early funeral for your car. Check out Life Hacker’s complete list of car important fluids and how often to check them.

8. Rotate Your Tires Every 5,000 to 10,000 Miles

Like it or not, your tires experience uneven wear during the course of normal use. Make sure to rotate each one on a regular basis to ensure that your car is using energy in the most efficient way possible. Cars.com recommends having your tires rotated every time you have the oil changed.

9. Replace Your Windshield Wipers When Necessary

Can’t see in the rain? Yeah, you can fix that. A survey of Angie’s List auto repair professionals revealed changing blades every spring and every fall is the best way to keep a clear windshield.

10. Read Your Owner’s Manual

Each car has specific instructions on regular upkeep directly from the manufacturer. Be familiar with what your car needs and when to ensure the longest possible life of your vehicle.

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