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5 Essential Tips for Extending Your Used Car’s Lifespan

5 Essential Tips for Extending Your Used Car’s Lifespan

Even an older car can be reliable if it’s been well-maintained, and treating your car right will not only save you money on repairs and greatly prolong your vehicle’s lifespan, but can even help you to reduce your environmental footprint. Research shows that a poorly maintained car can release as much as 100 times more pollution than one that has been well-kept.

So what exactly do you need to pay attention to when it comes to extending your used vehicle’s lifespan? Here are five of the most important things you should know.

1. Don’t ignore its maintenance schedule

Your vehicle’s regular maintenance schedule can be found in the owner’s manual. Following this schedule will help you keep your car running smoothly and will actually end up saving you money because you’ll be able to nip any problems in the bud.

Regular maintenance includes things like topping off or replacing fluids, changing oil, checking brake pads, suspension and steering, and replacing oil and air filters, but your manual will give you a clear overview of what needs to be done and when. If you no longer have your car’s manual, it’s usually easy enough to find it online.

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Be sure to keep records of any work you’ve had done and hang on to all your receipts in case you end up selling the car down the line. If tracking your maintenance schedule sounds like too much of a hassle, there are a number of useful (and free) apps dedicated to tracking mileage and vehicle maintenance, such as aCar or Car Maintenance Reminder.

2. Make a habit of checking your fluids

A fluid check should include a quick look at the level of your engine oil and its cleanliness, your coolant and transmission fluids, as well as your brake and power steering fluids. Ideally, you should do this every two weeks with an older used car, but no less than once a month.

You can top up your engine oil or coolant yourself, but never check coolant levels while the car is hot or running. Transmission fluid, brake fluid and power steering fluid should never be low, so if they are, you know it’s time to take your car in to a mechanic. If you’re not sure how to check the transmission fluid, brake fluid and power steering fluid, your owner’s manual should explain this in detail.

3. Drive carefully and listen for unusual noises

The way you drive also has a big impact on your vehicle’s lifespan, and things like accelerating too quickly, shifting gears carelessly or overloading your car can wear it down quickly and set you up for some expensive repairs.

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In an interview with Gumtree, British racing driver and former top-gear presenter Tiff Needell points out that the best way to minimize wear and tear while driving is to be as smooth as possible with the car’s controls and avoid rushing things by using progressive applications when steering, accelerating, braking and changing gears.

Aside from driving carefully, make a point of turning down the music and listening to your car while you drive to see if there are any unusual noises.

A ticking sound could mean a U-joint needs replacing, while a sputtering or rattling noise might indicate a hole in your exhaust system. Of course the only way to know for sure is to have your mechanic take a look, so if you do notice anything unusual when starting your engine, driving, braking or turning, try to get it checked out as soon as possible.

4. Rotate your tires and check their pressure regularly

Along with avoiding curbs and potholes and driving as smoothly as possible, checking your tire pressure regularly is the best way to extend the lifespan of your tires. Most experts recommend checking tire pressure every two weeks to prevent damage, as soft tires can quickly overheat or even blow out.

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The correct PSI (Pounds per Square Inch) should be listed on the side of the tire, but if you can’t find it there, check your owner’s manual.

Rotating your tires, which involves moving the back tires to the front of the vehicle or from one side to the other, will help you prevent uneven and premature tire wear. Although opinions vary on how frequently you should rotate them, it’s generally a good idea to do it every 6,000 to 8,000 miles.

5. Wash and wax regularly

Washing and waxing your car regularly can help prevent a buildup of dirt as well as rust and water spotting on the paint, but how often you should wash it depends a lot on the season, climate and the type of roads you drive on.

Obviously, if you drive on fairly dusty roads in warmer climates or muddy roads in wet climates you’ll end up washing your car more frequently, but even during the colder months it’s important to wash or at least rinse your car once every week or two, as salt residue from the roads can build up on its surface and undercarriage, making it more susceptible to rust damage.

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Waxing should be done at least three or four times a year, as this will help you to maintain your vehicle’s shine and color and can also help prevent small scratches.

Featured photo credit: Picjumbo.com via picjumbo.com

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Marianne Stenger

Writer, Open Colleges

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Last Updated on August 20, 2018

35 Anniversary Ideas to Bring You Closer Together

35 Anniversary Ideas to Bring You Closer Together

Every mature relationship has had a less-than-memorable anniversary. Maybe one of you forgot, or both of you got busy with work, kids, family issues, or something else. Whatever happened, the day came and went without fanfare. And neither of you seemed to notice or much care.

But for the health of any relationship, it’s important to make important days feel special. Anniversaries offer the wonderful opportunity to relive beautiful memories, practice gratefulness for your partner, and to show your love and strengthen your bond. Make this year’s anniversary with your significant other something special  — one that will bring you closer together.

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The best way to create a memorable anniversary is to do something new and different together as a couple. Stretch yourselves a bit.

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While boredom can silently kill a relationship, new experiences reinforce the shared bond you already have and create strong new memories. Just think back to the most significant memories you have right now with your spouse and imagine what new ones you can create!

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While you enjoy your chosen anniversary activity, be sure to keep a positive attitude and make your partner happy too on that day. Leave all arguments and day to day detail behind. Just celebrate your relationship. Whether you’re going to spend the day together at home, getting away, or having a wild and crazy new experience together, you can have your best anniversary yet!

If You’re Staying In

  1. Spend an evening with no technology, just the two of you and maybe a board game. It’s hard to keep ourselves away from our computers and smartphones long enough to have a meaningful conversation. Make a rule not to use your tech and you’ll rekindle your relationship!
  2. Make wine or beer together. If you enjoy drinking together, this is a fun activity to try together. Just remember to buy the necessary equipment ahead of time.
  3. Learn something new about each other. With an open mind, try asking some of the New York Times’ 36 questions that lead to love. They’ll help spark intimacy and will lead to some really honest moments.
  4. Have a lazy day. Breakfasts in bed, spend all day in bed talking and napping. Follow breakfast with champagne and dessert! If you feel like getting more active, cook together or play some games. Here’re some simple breakfast ideas for you.
    • Learn to dance at home. This is best for those active couples who work out together and also enjoy learning something new together. Just go on Youtube to find any music with dance tutorials and learn together.
    • Visit model homes or open houses and plan your dream home.
    • Have a special dessert – champagne and chocolate covered strawberries. Having an unusual treat makes a day feel extra special. If you want to make the dessert really special, try these tasty dessert recipes.
    • Create a playlist of your favorite songs as a couple. Choose songs that tell your story, and songs that you bonded over throughout your relationships. Here’re some love songs ideas for your inspirations.
      • Write your love story. Write it together or ave each of you write your own and then bring them together in an interesting, both sides of the story format.
      • Get a fondue pot. Fondue is a fun way to enjoy melted cheeses (for savory items) and melted chocolate (for sweeter treats).
      • Decorate! Turn your home into a dressed-up french cottage, a sophisticated restaurant, or simply with flowers. The different ambience will immediately change the feel of your home and make it feel like a staycation.
        • Talk about the future together. It might sound simple and everyday, but imagining how you want to spend your retirement together, or planning future trips can be exciting and romantic.

        If You Want to Get Away

        1. Take a day trip together to your favorite spot. If you live in a city, it can be incredibly refreshing to get away for an afternoon and drink in the outdoors.
        2. Go on a scenic drive and stop at a wine and cheese bar. Or, if you’re lucky enough to have lots of options where you live, try a brewpub. There are tons of small craft breweries with fantastic food options too.
        3. Go camping. Relatively affordable and, if the weather’s right, beautiful and romantic.
          • Take an overnight backpacking trip. For the more adventurous couples, backpacking is an even more intense way to challenge yourself physically while becoming one with nature.
          • Take a wine tasting tour. If you live on the West Coast or in the Northeast, take a drive to the nearest winery. Many offer relatively inexpensive tastings and deals if you purchase a certain amount.
          • Take a scenic train trip. Taking the train means less stress traveling: nobody has to drive, you don’t have to stop for breaks every few hours, and you can sleep if you need to!
          • Save up for a destination vacation. What better time than your anniversary to enjoy the beach at a beautiful resort?
          • Explore a new city. Whether you’re on a budget or have a lot saved up, you can have a great time just exploring an unfamiliar town.
          • Rent a cabin for a weekend away, in the woods or next to a lake or ocean. If you like the outdoors but can only take so much nature, try glamping.
            • Go on a retreat. Yoga retreats, meditation retreats, beautiful natural surroundings … they’re all the rage. Search for centeredness and calm with your partner.
            • Spend a day at a food festival. Many cities have fun and affordable food festivals, occasionally based on a theme. Check out your town’s (or a nearby city) calendar for inspiration!

            New & Exciting Experiences

            1. Go spelunking. Dark, damp, and utterly exciting!
            2. Go on a hot air balloon ride. Because the basket is relatively small, this can be a romantic and deeply personal – and yet thrilling –
              experience.
              • Try sky diving. If you and you S.O. are real thrill-seekers, sky diving can really push you to the edge!
              • Explore the underwater world by snorkeling or scuba diving. This may take you far away from where you normally live and work, which is an added bonus.
              • Experience white water rafting.
              • Drive or hike to the highest spot nearby for a new view of the world. America has tons of beautiful mountains where challenging hikes (or drives) can deliver breathtaking views.
              • Take a craft or cooking class. Up your craft skills or food  making skills, and enjoy something new!
                • Take a wine and painting class today. These classes are easily found these days and even a beginning painter can create a nice painting. Challenging but relaxing, fun, and you get to go home with some artwork!
                • Learn to salsa dance. Dancing is a fantastic way to actively get closer and coordinate physically with one another.
                  • Visit a nearby festival you’ve always wanted to go to. Have fun and let go with fellow audience-members!
                  • Spend the day at an amusement park together. Laugh and carry on like teenagers.
                  • Meet new people! At a restaurant, concert, or class, make it a point to meet new friends. Striking up conversation with someone you don’t know – but with whom you have shared interests – can be an adventurous and rewarding experience.

                  Whether your budget is big or small, and whether you have a little or a ton of time together, focus on each other. There are tons of options, in terms of location, level of physical activity, and cost. You can make the day special in a way that’s right for you!

                  Featured photo credit: Photo by Taylor L. Spurgeon on Unsplash via unsplash.com

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