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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 March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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