5 ways to make your car last longer

03 Jan 2024
Last Modified:
03 Jan 2024

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How to make your car last longer

The typical age of cars when they are scrapped is approximately 14 years, whereas the average age of vehicles currently on the road is closer to eight years. Follow these steps to ensure you maximise your vehicle’s life span.

1. Take care of your car’s battery

If your car remains unused for prolonged periods, the battery may deteriorate and lose its charge.

Consider employing a trickle charger to maintain the battery’s charge when your car is parked in a garage for an extended duration, or use a battery conditioner if it exhibits reduced charging capacity.

Jump-starting a car when the battery is flat can impose additional stress on the battery, potentially causing damage to the engine management system and other sensitive electronics. This presents a dual challenge of heightened wear.

To care for your battery without a trickle charger, aim to drive your car at least once a week, especially during winter.

2. Drive smoothly

Adopting “mechanical sympathy” in your driving should be a constant practice. This involves skillfully utilising your car’s controls while having a comprehensive understanding of its functioning. This approach not only minimizes wear on components but also enhances fuel efficiency.

Ensuring smooth use of the steering wheel, gearbox, and pedals, as well as anticipating the road ahead to minimize abrupt braking, are crucial aspects of this practice.

3. Use your air conditioning

Adhering to the principle of “Use it or lose it” is relevant when it comes to air conditioning.

Over time, air-con systems tend to leak refrigerant gas, particularly if left inactive.

While refraining from using your air conditioning might save fuel, it could lead to expenses for air conditioning re-gassing, a service offered at our garage.

This includes occasionally allowing your vents to blow cold air in winter.

If you believe a re-gas is necessary, drive into our repair centre today.

4. Swap out spark plugs and ignition leads

As cars become increasingly complex, many drivers are understandably less inclined to perform their own maintenance. Nevertheless, replacing spark plugs and high-tension leads is a relatively straightforward task that can enhance your engine’s performance.

Always refer to your vehicle handbook and adhere to the service schedule before attempting this. When inspecting a spark plug, ensure it has a light brown electrode and insulator, shows no signs of melting and has no indications of wear or deposits. A poorly conditioned spark plug may suggest wear and require replacement or provide insights into your engine’s condition.

If a relatively new plug displays a significant gap between the electrode and the insulator, it may indicate engine underperformance, requiring consultation with your local garage.

For leads exhibiting cracks or substantial wear, replacement is recommended. While it’s advisable to use a reputable garage for this task, experienced individuals can undertake it themselves by following the guidelines in the vehicle handbook. Note that this advice does not apply to diesel cars, as they do not use spark plugs.

5. Top up your fluids

Fluids serve as your car’s lifeblood, and neglecting their replenishment can lead to severe consequences.

Inspect your engine oil and car lubricants every two weeks by opening the bonnet (with your car on level ground) and removing the dipstick. Wipe it with a rag and then dip it back in. When withdrawn, the oil level should fall between the minimum and maximum markers and exhibit a light yellowy-brown colour for petrol engines.

Replace dark, dirty oil, but note that diesel engine oil naturally accumulates soot during combustion, so dark-coloured oil is not a cause for concern in diesel cars.

Other biweekly checks should include the coolant reservoir, which you can top up with a mixture of 50% distilled water and 50% antifreeze, and the windscreen washer bottle. For the latter, we recommend using store-bought screenwash, as washing-up liquid may damage paintwork due to its salt and additive content.

If you need to renew or upgrade your membership please call 0207 247 4301.

If you’ve broken down and require assistance call us on 0207 247 4301.

We’re here to help – whenever you need us. Call us 24 hours, 7 days a week.

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