7 little-known tips to extend your car's lifespan

Car Advice    Zia Xin

Are you the kind of driver who changes your car at the end of every COE? Or have you been using the same faithful old vehicle for 30 years? Whichever kind of driver you are, it's still important to think about car lifespan. A car in good working condition not only serves you well, but also fetches a better price if you're looking to sell it. Every car does eventually come to the end of its life, but if you follow these tips, you can stretch that lifespan and really get the most out of your vehicle!


1. Take Care of Your Tyres

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Tyres have a bigger impact on your car lifespan than you might think. Tyres that are under-inflated can lower your gas mileage and cause poor vehicle handling, while over-inflated tyres damage your steering mechanisms and suspension. And it's not just about the pumping—tyres that haven't been aligned/rotated properly also wear down your steering and suspension. So keep your tyres pumped regularly, and be sure to check if they need rotation! Exactly how often depends on your own driving habits, but a good guideline would be to check your tyre pressure every 2 weeks, and get your tyres rotated every 2 years. If your tyres are alwas in good condition, your car will run more smoothly, and this will definitely reduce wear and tear in the long run, extending your car's lifespan.

Click here to find out if you might be unknowingly damaging your tyres!


2. Change your Filters

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A clean engine definitely runs smoother, and has lesser chance of breaking down. There are two very important filters that trap dirt and keep your engine unclogged—the air filter, and the oil filter. Air filters keep the air in your engine clean and dust-free, while oil filters do the same for your engine oil. But over time, both these filters will eventually end up collecting a lot of dirt, and become unable to do their jobs. If this continues, dirt will start accumulating in your engine, resulting in increased friction and possibly engine failure! Changing your filters regularly will keep your engine clean and healthy. The oil filter should be changed every time you do an oil change, and the air filter about every 12,000 miles (19,213 km) to be safe.


3. Wash Your Car Often

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Washing your car is more than just keeping it shiny—a clean car actually lasts longer than a dirty one! Dirt that's left to settle on your car can corrode the layer of protective wax, and over time cause damage to your paint as well. If you don't clean your car regularly, you might find that it's become more susceptible to scratches and rust. Cleaning your car once every two weeks will make sure the wax and paint remains shiny and corrosion-free, which helps the metal body last longer.


4. Allow for Start-Up Time

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In our fast-paced city life, we often hop into the car first thing in the morning and rush off to get to our appointments and meetings. However, our engines actually need some time to get ready, and immediately driving the minute you turn on the ignition can actually cause damage in the long run. If your car has been left alone for a few hours, the engine oil will settle to the bottom instead of coating various engine parts. When you start the car in the morning, the oil pump will start lubricating the engine again, but it takes time for the oil to be distributed completely. Not allowing your engine to get re-lubricated properly will result in some parts suffering from increased friction and wearing out faster. So when you get in the car, be sure to wait a short 30-60 seconds before driving—this will stretch your engine lifespan.


5. Keep Away from the Sun

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All Singaporeans complain about the heat in our contry and how uncomfortable it makes us—but did you know how bad the heat can also be for your car? Leaving your car out in the sun every now and then is fine, but over time, sun exposure can cause serious damage to both paint and mechanisms. High temperatures increase the chances of engine overheating, as more coolant than usual is required to keep the engine at optimum temperature, and you might find your engine fluids running out faster than you think. On top of that, the air conditioning has to work harder to cool down a hot car, so when you let your car bake for hours in the sun, additional strain is put on its inner systems once it starts up again.

Exposure to excess sunlight also causes damage to your car exterior. Sun and heat can damage your paint job, reducing its ability to protect your car from scratches and rust. Also, the high temperature makes it easier for dust and dirt to stick to your car, which, as we explained before, can result in paint corrosion. So as far as you can, try to park indoors or in the shade—it'll save your car from a lot of potential sun damage! If for some reason you find yourself always parking outdoors, you might want to think about getting re-waxing jobs every now and then, or maybe even paint-protection film. Your car will thank you for it in the long run.


6. Keep the Interior Clean and Dry

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There's a good reason why many drivers don't allow food and drink in the car. The inside of your car is full of important wiring and electronics, especially around the dashboard and the driver's seat. A wrong spill can cause serious malfunctions if it gets into the car's electronics. It's best not to eat and drink while driving, and if possible, make sure your passengers don't do it either, or at the very least are careful about it. Clean up any spills as quickly as you can, even if it's just water. This will keep your car's inner mechanisms safe from malfunction. Plus, keeping a clean interior prevens bad smells and pests like cockroaches from being attracted!


7. Get Regular Servicing

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Finally, you should always get your car checked up by a professional mechanic, and any little issues fixed. A small thing like a humming air-con or squealing brakes can develop into much bigger problems down the road if they aren't quickly seen to. Keep an eye out for any small warning signs that your car may be developing, and get your car serviced yearly if you can. It may be tedious, but it'll save you from much more troublesome issues like having your car break down on you suddenly. Even though every car eventually has its expiry date, being careful with your vehicle and having it taken care of by a professional can really extend its lifespan!


Did you find this advice helpful? What other car matters would you like advice for? Share down in the comments! To find out more about auto services in your area, or for more helpful car advice like this, download our app at the Apple Appstore and Android Playstore!

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