Beyond Oil Changes: Other Maintenance To Keep Your Car Running For Longer

Although there are people who enjoy buying a new car every two to three years, many people don't want to have to buy a new car any sooner than is necessary. Keeping your cars running for longer can save you a lot of money on vehicles in the long run. Getting your oil changed every 3,000 or 5,000 miles can go a long way towards keeping your car running longer, but there are also some other maintenance tasks you should take care of.

1. Air Filters

It's a common misconception that air filters exist only to keep the environment clean and prevent the release of toxins into the atmosphere. The truth is, they're intended to keep your engine clean, too. If your engine air filter gets too clogged with grime, two things will happen. First, air flow through the engine will be slowed down, which will put strain on the engine as it works, leading to an increase in wear and tear. Second, the engine will get dirty. All of that dirt will impede the engine's function—possibly leading to overheating and breakdowns.

Check your owner's manual to see how often it's recommended to change the air filter. Most air filters should be changed every 15,000 to 30,000 miles. If you drive in the city where there is a lot of pollution, you may need to err on the side of more frequent changes. 

2. Timing Belt

This is not a maintenance issue that you need to take care of periodically, but rather one that you'll need to handle once in the car's lifetime. The timing belt tends to break in cars around the 70,000 to 80,000 mile mark. If the belt breaks, you'll be stranded, and additional damage may be done to the engine in the process. So, it's better to have the belt replaced before something goes wrong. Your car's owner's manual may tell you when to replace the belt, but if it does not, a good guideline is to do this at about 70,000 miles. You'll then be set for the rest of the car's life.

3. Coolant Lines

The coolant lines carry coolant from the reservoir to your car's engine. They do not tend to be as durable as you'd hope, often springing little leaks. When enough coolant leaks out, your car's engine will no longer stay at a suitable temperature. At this point, your engine may overheat, and overheating can cause irreparable damage. Have your mechanic quickly look over your coolant lines when you take your car in for an oil change. If they do find a leak, you can generally have the line replaced for a small price, preventing a much bigger tragedy later on.

4. Brakes

Many people wait until they notice signs of brake failure, like squealing and shaking, to have their brakes replaced. By this point, there is often damage to the brake rotors and not just the pads. Plus, all of the rattling that happens with damaged brakes can shake something else loose in the engine. You're better off having your brakes replaced earlier—before there are any actual symptoms of brake problems. You can have your mechanic look over your brakes quickly each time you take your car in for an oil change; change the pads when they think the wear warrants doing so.

If you keep up with the four maintenance tasks above, your car will run for a lot longer. Keep in mind that, depending on the type of car you have, there may be additional maintenance tasks to tackle. Consult your owner's manual for a full list. Contact an auto service center like Euroclassics Limited for additional advice.