Purchasing a vehicle is only the first expense. After the initial price has been paid, you will realize that there is a steep cost of owning and running a car. Apart from the fuel expenses, there are also many routine expenses that you will incur on a monthly basis. As per the American Automobile Association (AAA), just the maintenance and repairs on every new car can cost motorists around $1,200 (approx.) per annum.
This amount increases for older or already well-used automobiles. In short, the older the vehicle the higher the maintenance costs of running it every day. However, it does not have to be this way at all. After all, our cars are very important (not to mention very expensive) investments that should always be well maintained to ensure that they run flawlessly all the time.
Fortunately, there are many different ways through which you will be able to save both valuable time and financial resources when it comes to the running expenses and upkeep of your prized vehicle. Of course, it will help if you buy a certified used Ford from the local dealership, but even a certified car will still need maintenance. This is what you can do to increase the service life of your car and to make sure that it does not break down and lead to expensive repairs:
1. Always Change the Oil and Oil Filter According to the Instruction Manual
Every vehicle needs to be a well-oiled machine in the literal sense. It is very simple really; there is a whole lot of metal sitting under the hood and all of these mechanical parts are constantly rubbing against each other. Friction and heat are produced quite regularly in order to keep the machine running in its usual condition. Without the right quality and quantity of lubricant oil, the gears, pistons, and cylinders that are crucial components operating your engine can easily overheat. Once that happens they will meld together and cause the engine to seize up completely. This means that you will either need to replace the engine or get the whole thing overhauled. Sometimes, it is less expensive to just buy a new car altogether.
Even if the car has the required quantity of lubricant, it has to be replaced at the right time. This is due to the fact that dirty oil is very thick and erosive. Running the car with expired oil increases the viscosity in the engine chamber and thus leads to overheating issues in the long run. Always remember that the longer you will wait to change the oil in your car, the dirtier it will get. This is where the oil filter comes into the picture. It will help to clean the oil as it is circulated through the system, but it will also eventually get clogged since it can only filter out so much.
You should always top up the vehicle’s engine with fresh oil of the grade that is mentioned in the instruction manual of the car. The usual life of motor engine oil is 6,000 KMs but always check with a Ford auto repair shop or any other manufacturer. Best of all, It is not very expensive and you can get the job done within $30 or so.
2. Wheel Alignment and Tire Rotation
Wheels can become misaligned if you end up driving on a potholed or bumpy road. And if the wheels are out of alignment, your car’s tire treads will suffer. They will get worn out more quickly, leading to frequent tire changes. Apart from that, tires should also be periodically rotated every 8,000 km or so. This will help ensure that all the tires get worn out at the same time and therefore will last longer. Tires that are not worn out in an even pattern require frequent changes. When you get your tires aligned, just ask the people at the Ford auto repair center to rotate them as well.
3. Service the Vehicle
The vehicle should be washed and serviced at least once every three months. This involves the deep cleaning and oiling of the undercarriage and engine bay as well as the interior of the vehicle. The years of accumulated salt and dirt on a car can cause it to rust very rapidly. Once rust takes hold your car, it can spread like a virus. Sometimes, the price may drop as drastically as 20 percent of the value of vehicle and only because you did not wash it often enough to protect it from rust and other issues of the likes.
4. Take Care of the Filters
All cars have multiple filters and they will eventually get clogged in the long run and degrade the performance of your car. Apart from that, it can also cause major problems such as a choked fuel line that can effectively leave you stranded in the middle of the road. Some of the filters that you need to change include the following:
a) Engine Air Filter
The modern internal combustion engine requires air and the air filter makes sure that it is clean enough to get the job done. It will remove all the dirt and dust from the air so that the combustion is clean and steady. A dirty air filter will lead to uneven piston movement and the car will respond sluggishly every time you press the gas pedal. You should consider having it changed every time you get your car serviced.
b) Cabin Air Filter
This filter works a lot like the engine air filter except it filters the air in the cabin of your car instead of the engine bay. It will make your drive safer and more enjoyable by keeping external pollutants at bay. You should replace it after every 40,00 Kms.
c) Fuel Filter
The fuel filter, as the very term implies, catches all the dirt, dust, and rust particles flowing through your fuel tank. If it gets clogged or jammed, your car will be starved of fuel. When you get the car checked, you should ask the mechanic to take a look at it as well and replace it as and when necessary.
All of these maintenance steps are necessary to extend the service life of your car. However, a certified used Ford will always come pre-checked for most common issues so that you can drive it safely and with complete peace of mind.
Don Wilson has a decade in automotive service and customization in his CV, being a Ford Certified Technician working in Sarasota used car dealerships in Sarasota Ford. He enjoys spending time with his 3 kids and working on his customized 1970 Mustang Mach.