Most people don’t realize how much it can cost to own and operate a car. It goes farther than the price tag; you have to figure in gasoline, wear and tear and price of maintenance.
The American Automobile Association estimated it costs $9,641 per year to drive around in your own car. They even narrow it down to how much it costs per mile: A small sedan on average costs 41.4 cents per mile, while an SUV costs 66.6 cents per mile. When you start adding up the miles in your daily commute, you can see how this multiplies into the thousands.
You want to keep those numbers as low as possible, and one of the best ways to do that is to extend the life of your car. Luckily, there are plenty of things you can do to increase the odds that your odometer reaches a quarter million miles.
Change your car’s fluids
Changing the oil is pretty basic, but keeping a close watch on your coolant is equally as important. If you let either one of these things slide you risk serious damage to your car.
Replace the air filter
If the filter is all gummed up, it reduces your car’s performance which reduces your gas mileage. Remember how you want that cost per mile to go down?
Give your car regular checkups
Just like going to a doctor. When you find a mechanic that you trust, keep taking it to that person regularly for checkups. Your mechanic will get to know your specific vehicle and help you stay on top of scheduled maintenance like timing belts.
Don’t ignore the warning lights
Don’t put a piece of tape over the check engine light like Homer Simpson. Get it checked out sooner than later, and if it’s an oil temperature light or break light, take it in ASAP.
Don’t drive like a maniac
Make every acceleration and deceleration as gentle as possible. Your car works harder than necessary when speeding up fast, and if the oil hasn’t warmed up enough to circulate freely you can do harm to your engine by revving it too hard in the morning.
Purchase great auto insurance, too, because you’ll need it when an accident renders moot all your diligent maintenance.