5 Ways to Make Your Car Last Longer
Cars in Singapore cost a bomb. Every single breakdown and insurance claim is likely to result in a corresponding hike in the vehicle insurance premium. Regular preventive maintenance and measures are therefore critical to ensure your car last longer and expenses to the minimum. Below detailed five ways you can achieve it.
- Washing, Waxing, Vacuum and Detailing Exterior and Interior
Cars get dirty from the daily commuting. Besides dirt, rain spots and dust clinging onto the car’s exterior, acid rain, bugs, bird droppings and airborne industrial pollutants can accelerate the degradation of the car paint. Regular washing and waxing of car exterior is thus needed to help preserves the paint and prevents rush from setting in. Remember to vacuum and detailing the interior of the car as well.
How to do it:
- Use plastic polish to clean up hazed-out plastic headlights
- Wet the wheels and tires, spray on the wheel cleaner and use a soft brush to scrub the wheels and tires. Lather, rinse and repeat the steps. Dry the water spots with a clean cloth and follow up with car wax.
- Wet the car surface. Wash it all over with a lambswool wash mitt and dry it with microfiber towels.
- Wax the car surface, follow up with a quick wash and dry with a spray of detailer. Wipe down with a microfiber towel and clean up any water sports on the windows insider out.
- Apply Right Tire Pressure
Car tires are made of rubber and are inflated with air. Check the car tires are properly inflated to the manufacturer’s specified pressure to ensure safe and fuel efficiency of the car. Replace with new tires when tread wear indicators are showing between the treads. Check the pressure of the tires on a daily basis. And look out for wear or damages on a weekly basis. A substantial amount of gas can be wasted due to low tire pressure or poor condition tire.
How to do it:
- Identify the manufacturer’s specified pressure for your car tires. Tire pressure is measured in PSI and can be found in the owner’s manual.
- Purchase a tire gauge (preferably digital) or go to the nearby gas station for the measurement
- Remove the air valve cap from the tires.
- Press the tire gauge against the valve stem.
- Read the reading from the tire gauge.
- Maintain Brakes, Belts and Battery
Brakes help your car to slow and come to a halt through the supplied of either a brake pad or a brake shoe. Besides producing chirps, continuous squeals or grinding sounds to indicate its time for new brake pads or shoes, brakes can provide certain warning signals that highlight an imbalance in the vehicle hydraulic system or presences of air in the system. Check the brakes regularly to ensure it works well at all time.
Belts in the vehicle drive components such as the water pump, alternator, air conditioning compressor and power steering pump. They wear and tear over time with the tension of the belts loosening up and eventually snapped if no proper maintenance is provided. Check the belt tension (on the longest part of the belt) and ensure there is no more than 1.25cm to 2.5cm of give. Look out for signs of wear and tear along the stretch of the belts. Inspect the pulleys to ensure no buildup of rubber deposits and the belts are properly aligned on the pulleys. Finally, pay attention to any squealing sounds from the engine (when the vehicle is running). Send the car to the mechanic when the sounds are detected.
Battery helps store the energy used to start the vehicle engine. Without it working properly, engine will not be able to start. Maintain the battery by keeping it clean and tightly secured. Ensure the connections are clean; terminals are tight and at the right water level.
- Change the Engine Oil
Changing of oil regularly helps to maximize engine reliability and efficiency. Although the frequency of the oil change largely depends on the road and traffic condition, a good gauge is to change it every three months or 4800Km of travel. Do take note car engine needs to be warmed up (to prevent contamination of the oil) prior to driving off.
How to do it:
- Locate the oil dipstick and remove it
- Wipe clean the dipstick, reinsert and remove it again.
- Determine the oil level with the dipstick. Add oil if the oil level is at or below the add mark on the dipstick.
- Put back the dip stick once it has been refilled
- Check and Top-up Other Fluids
Other than oil, four other fluids play an equally important role in keeping your car running smooth and safely. They are coolant, automatic transmission fluid, brake fluid and power steering fluid.
Coolant helps prevent engine from overheating. Determining the condition of coolant is tricky as the appearance of it can be deceiving. It is generally advised to change the coolant every two to three years or 48,280km of travel.
Automatic transmission fluid is often the cause of premature transmission failure. Changing the transmission fluid and filter very 48,280km can significantly prolong the life of the transmission. It is critical to use the correct type of fluid for the transmission.
Brake fluid is hygroscopic and absorbs moisture over time. Changing of the fluid every two years is necessary to prevent internal rust and corrosion that can damage the calipers, wheel cylinders and anti-lock brake system components.
Power steering fluid should be replaced if the pump or steering gear has failed. It is critical to ensure the fluid level in the pump reservoir periodically as a low fluid level can indicates a leaky hose or seal somewhere in the car system. Refer to the owner’s manual for the right type of fluid to be used.