Take Care of Your Car so It’ll Take Care of You

MichaelAutomotive Advice

I’m constantly amazed at the lack of care car owners give. Where’s the love? One would think that a person would put more care into something that they pay so much money to acquire. Believe it or not good car care, can save your hundreds, even thousands, of dollars over the life of your car.

Sure things break unexpectedly, or even within manufacturer timelines. Parts, especially moving parts, only have a certain life expectancy. But, preventative maintenance and general automobile respect can lengthen the life of your car significantly.

We’ve all heard the stories of that Ford truck or Toyota car that has 300,000 plus miles on it and still runs like a champ. In fact, I’ve got a good personal friend with a Dodge Ram that has over 400,000 miles on it and he still uses it as his primary source of transportation as a roofing contractor. Crazy right?! He’s able to get that level of dependency because he cares for his car. He regularly changes the oil. And, he doesn’t drive it “hard.”

After servicing cars for some time, I’ve found that you can pretty frequently tell how well a car is kept mechanically by the way it looks inside. Here’s an example of poor car care. I once serviced a 10 year old Hyundai because it was misfiring (shook and stuttered during acceleration). The SUV was an absolutely mess inside. Yet the owner said she babies it, because she relied on it so much. When I got in the drivers seat to start the test drive the seats were more than broken in, the inside looked as if it hadn’t ever been vacuumed—there were fries, food, dirt and gravel all over. The seats had covers, but you could tell more than one drink had spilled and was not cleaned up. The steering wheel, column, shifter, door handles and buttons were caked with grime. The once light gray interior color was closer to a dark gray and spotted. Spots on the interior occur as layers of grime and dirt build up over time.

Likewise on the outside, the tires were badly worn. One pointed inward the other outward. The door handle didn’t work, and more. These items are symptoms of car abuse. Driving over curbs, going quickly over speed bumps and smacking curbs when driving or parking can wreak havoc on your suspension and alignment. Slamming the doors and angerly opening doors can break the handles. Braking hard (frequently) can warp your rotors, as well as burn and make stress factures in your brakes causing shaking when you brake. It’s true. I promise.

Take care of your car, so it’ll take car of you.

I know. I know. There are some things that just can’t be helped no matter how well you take care of the car. Like I said, some things just wear out. It’s inevitable. But, by taking good care of your car, (treating it like an asset instead of a liability) you can prolong the life of the car and save substantial amounts of money.