Dear Car Coach: I love my car and want to keep it forever; all right, as long as I can. What do I have to do to make this happen? – D.R., Buffalo
Dear D.R.: I understand that many people love their cars. (I do, too.) In order to make your car last “forever,” or for over 100,000 miles or more is to treat your vehicle properly.
There’s no reason why almost any late-model car or truck can’t be counted on to last for 10 or more years and run reliably for well beyond 100,000 miles.
Many people think that once the warranty runs out or 50,000 miles shows on the odometer that they have to get rid of the car quickly because the end is near. The durability and reliability of modern cars is remarkable, provided they’re treated properly.
What does proper treatment mean?
When you first start the vehicle, do not race the engine. Accelerate gradually until the engine (and the rest of the drivetrain) has completely warmed up; it takes about 10-15 minutes, depending on the outside temperature. Most engine wear occurs during cold-starts and during the first few minutes of operation afterward. If you rev a cold engine it will greatly accelerate the wear and tear of the engine. Simply get in, start the engine, wait 30 seconds and drive away at a reasonable speed, avoiding full-throttle starts or passing attempts until about 20 minutes have passed.
Check and change the nine fluids in your vehicle. It’s critical to routinely check the engine oil and transmission fluid to assure they’re at the proper level. Have these fluids changed along with the appropriate filters, at least as often as recommended by the factory under “severe/heavy duty” conditions. For most people, day-in, day-out driving conditions.
Check your owner’s manual, the actual time/mileage increments for your specific vehicle can be found there. This small investment will reap large benefits over the life of your vehicle.
Pay attention to what the factory says about maintenance. Engine components wear over time as do any moving component or part. For example – the timing belt or timing chain (this is inside the motor) should be replaced at 50,000 miles (based on what the manual states – of course), this required part should be replaced to keep the motor running. If you fail to do it – this is where expensive motor repair can come into play. The same holds true for the cooling, brake system and every part of your car.
Be kind to your ride in extreme weather, if it’s very hot or very cold outside, life is much harder on your car’s engine and all its mechanical components. Any excessive demands placed on your engine in cold conditions can come back to haunt you down the road. Everything is multiplied during extreme weather – so when that problem seems to be more obvious it’s because it needs to be repaired, replaced or changed immediately.
Use synthetic lubricants when possible. Oil and other synthetic lubricants are more expensive than ordinary motor oil and fluids, but the benefits far outweigh the small initial cash outlay. Synthetics are vastly superior in terms of the protection they provide: their resistance to extremes of temperature, better lubrication, less emissions and a green choice too. You can also extend oil change intervals when using synthetics, which further reduces the actual cost.
The biggest mistake many car owners make is failing to read their owner’s manual cover to cover, especially the chapters dealing with maintenance, and not following these recommendations to the letter. If you don’t have one, the Car Care Council offers one for free at www.carcare.org. You can be one of those stories where your vehicle has 300,000 miles and still going strong.
Dear Car Coach: My son has a 2011 Infiniti GT37 Coupe. At his workplace his car was accidently sprayed with overspray from a contractor painting his building. The company had the car detailed and the paint finish is fine. However, he tried to remove the overspray on the windows and windshield with a soft scrubby and dish wash soap and ended up scratching all the glass. They are shallow scratches but annoying when the sun shines through them. Is there any way to safely remove the scratches? – K.G., Buffalo
Dear K.G.: When overspray gets on a car such as you stated, it’s important to have a body shop or detail shop properly remove it as soon as possible. To get the glass repaired or buffed out, I’d take it to a detail shop where they have the equipment and products to repair it. Visibility is critical so I wouldn’t wait until the snow flies.