Here's a secret car dealerships don't want you to know: You don't need to buy a brand new car. They might be pretty and high-tech, but they're also expensive and can throw your budget into risk.
Buying a used car, or fixing up your current vehicle, can be a much more fiscally responsible — and rewarding — experience if you know what you're doing.
Extending the life of your older vehicle doesn't have to be an exhaustive or expensive project. Taking these tips and tricks into consideration will help your trusty car stay up and running for years to come.
Monitor your car's health in real time
The best way to elongate your car's life is to consistently check on how it's doing. Just like you or your family pet, your vehicle needs regular check-ups. The good news is that's isn't as hard or expensive as it used to be. With the help of a car monitoring system like the Smart Vehicle Health Monitor, you can check your car's vitals right on your cell phone. You can check the battery life, the fluid levels, the gas mileage and more, right through an app on your phone. It can also send you helpful reminders to change your oil, rotate your tires and visit your mechanic.
Along with those things, however, you should also understand your vehicle's tire pressure — and check it regularly. As long as your car was manufactured after 2007, the TPMS alert will light up on your dashboard when it's past time to check, but a smart tire monitor will help you stay ahead of the curve.
Unfortunately, those quick trips to the grocery store down the street are taking a bigger toll on your vehicle than you'd think. To make your car last longer, you should consider driving less. That might seem like common sense, but most people aren't aware of how hard short, around-the-block drives are on cars. When you take super short road trips, your engine doesn't have enough time to warm properly, meaning the oil, water and gasoline congeal in your engine block instead of burning off into fumes.
Instead, consider using a rideshare program like Uber or Lyft, for your quicker errands or outings. If you really want to drive — or have to — keep your trips above five miles to be safe.
Clean car, clean conscious
Cleaning your car regularly will not only ensure you look good while driving it, it'll keep vital parts of your vehicle in tact longer. A regular wash will remove harmful contaminants that can cause erosion, especially for those who drive on snowy roads regularly. Drive through your local car wash, or grab a bucket and a sponge, every few weeks to keep things running smooth.
Keep it light
Whether you drive a big SUV or a little car, keeping excess weight off the frame and out of the trunk will keep it running longer. Think of it like someone hiking up a mountain with a backpack: More weight can slow you down and wear you down. When it comes to cars, though, more weight can also mean poor gas mileage. Try to keep as little as possible in the car, and unpack after a long vacation right away.
Upgrade it with modern smart products
Driving an older car doesn't mean you have to give up the luxuries provided by a brand new vehicle. Take this GPS Car Charger, for example. By plugging it in, you'll immediately be able to charge your phone or other device twice as quickly as your friends. You'll also be able to find your car in a crowded parking lot, log your mileage and monitor your car's battery health. Simply adding in a few high-tech gadgets — or one good one — will make you feel right at home in the 21st century, even if your car was made in the 20th.