In today’s market, cars last longer. Warranties are frequently offered for up 100,000 miles, which would have been unheard of twenty years ago. High mileage vehicles can be purchased and kept running easily. If you’re in the market for a used car, or already have one, we’ve developed a list of surefire ways to keep your car running. They’re pretty easy, and if followed, the life of your car will easily be extended.

1)      Limit your driving. Even though you’re purchasing a car to drive it, if you don’t have to use it, don’t. If you can walk down the street, walk. If a friend offers to pick you up, let them. Short trips are bad for your car, so limit them whenever possible. Which brings up to step 2.

2)      Limit your short trips. Anything less than 10 minutes puts unnecessary wear and tear on your car. The reason, whenever your car’s engine doesn’t have a chance to reach its full potential during use, which means it never reaches it full operating temperature, its putting wear and tear on your car. The engine is working overtime. On short trips, the water, which is a byproduct of engine combustion, never has a chance to turn to vapor. It stays inside your car’s engine and exhaust and turns to rust. The condensation also dilutes your oil, so if you are making a lot of short trips, change your oil more frequently!

3)      Be considerate of your car when driving. Being hard on your car is going to put wear and tear on it. Brake slowly, otherwise your putting a lot of wear and tear on not only your brakes, but your rotors, and every other part of your car that has to work to brake fast. The same goes for accelerating, when you gun the gas, your car has to work overtime. If it’s cold outside, let your car warm up and let the oil circulate to allow lubrication. When the engine is cold, the oil is not yet moving. So drive slowly even after you start moving. If the car is new, follow the break in procedures. No one has probably told you this, but change your oil after the first 1,000 miles.

4)      Don’t add extra weight to your car. Just like being overweight hurts a person, extra weight in a car or truck adds stress to critical systems. Remove anything you can that you don’t need in your trunk and backseat. Don’t carry things around out of laziness. Another thing you can do is remove items on the outside of your car to reduce drag. The more aerodynamic your car is the less it has to work to move. If you don’t need your roof rack, remove it. Those bug shields and rain shields can go too. They’re little things, but they add up.

5)      Perform regular maintenance. Your car needs clean air and clean fuel. Perform your oil changes and change your air filter. You’re owner’s manual will tell you what other maintenance your car needs and at what mileage. Follow those guidelines if you want your car to live. Don’t fret over the $120 dollar maintenance payment, if you do them as scheduled, you won’t be paying $1,200 for a new transmission.

6)      Watch for warning signs. If a light goes on, don’t drive around for a month looking at it. Your car is trying to tell you something. If a light goes on or it looks like a gauge is not at its normal position, have it checked immediately.

7)      Use a mechanic you trust. You don’t want to take those warning lights to someone who is going to overcharge you and frustrate you to point that you say ‘never mind’. Don’t let a bad mechanic allow you to forget your car. Before something goes wrong, find someone who you trust, who is honest. That way, when something does happen, you actually feel confident taking care of it.

8)      Wash your car. I know this sounds silly, but it needs to be done. Irritants will destroy your car. Salt will eat away at it all sorts of parts. Have you ever gone near the ocean and seen how fast rust sets in on buildings and other steel products. Take a look next time you’re on vacation. During the winter, if there is salt on the roads, get it off your car! And fast. If you live near the ocean or water, there is salt in the air, so make washing your car a regular habit. No matter what, a monthly wash will get irritants off that can potentially erode your car’s vital working parts.

9)      Last but not least, choose your car carefully. If you are in the market to purchase, do your homework. Certain brands last longer. Another thing to consider is what brands are easy to fix. If you can’t get a part for your car, or it’s too expensive, your car will end up in a junk yard. Make sure you choose a brand that you can easily fix and get parts for. You only pay for the car once, but you’ll be maintaining it and fixing it for as long as you have it. In the long run, that’s actually most important, so don’t buy a car that’s impossible to fix or get parts for.

We hope these tips will help you preserve your most important purchase – your car! Most of all, remember that without your car, you wouldn’t be able to get to work, go shopping, get groceries, pick your kids up, or get around – so take care of it! You car will be as good to you as you are to it. Best of luck!