Being a car owner is a privilege that not everyone can have. It comes with more comfortable travel experiences in your life, but of course, it’s a costly addition to your life. Luckily, you can reduce your expenses by opting to get a used car instead of buying a new one.
Whether you’re planning on buying a used car or already own one, you might be interested in knowing more about the steps you need to take to ensure that your used car lasts longer. If it’s your first time owning a car, it would be even more important for you to know this information since buying a new car can be quite expensive.
Before we cover the essential things you need to know to maintain your used car, let’s first briefly talk about why you might be interested in getting a used car over a new one.
Why You Should Maintain a Used Car vs. Buying a New Car
Many people would prefer to get a new car than buy a used one for obvious reasons. However, there are also significant perks to buying a used car and maintaining it vs. a new car.
Firstly, the biggest reason someone would prefer to get a used car is that it would save costs. Used cars are much cheaper than new cars, for obvious reasons. Therefore, someone buying their first car ever would benefit from buying a used one instead of a new one, especially if they have budget constraints.
Aside from that, a used car won’t decrease in value as much as a new car would. The moment your new car leaves the car dealership, its market value of it has already decreased a lot.
Another benefit to buying a used car vs. a new car is that it is more eco-friendly to opt to use a used car than to get a new one. If you keep an old car and maintain it, it’s going to be more sustainable.
What to Do Before Buying a Used Vehicle
Given all of the benefits of getting a used vehicle, you might be interested in buying one for yourself. If this is the case, then here are a few things you need to consider or know before you take the plunge and buy a used vehicle.
Check the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule
One of the most important things to consider when buying a used car is the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule. If you buy a used car and it doesn’t have a maintenance schedule, you’ll have to figure out what kind of maintenance it needs on your own.
The manufacturer’s maintenance schedule will tell you exactly how often the car should be serviced and what parts need to be replaced. It will also tell you if there are any warning signs that show up before something goes wrong with the car.
A lot of people don’t take this into account when they’re buying a used car and they end up regretting it later because they didn’t know that something was broken until it was too late.
Prepare yourself for the maintenance differences and difficulties
Buying a used car can be a difficult task for some people. They may have to prepare themselves for the maintenance differences and difficulties before making the purchase.
A used car is a great way to save money on your next vehicle purchase, but it does come with its own set of challenges. You’ll need to do your research before you buy a used car as they are not all created equal.
Used Car Maintenance Checklist: How to Make It Last Longer
Now that you know what to do before buying a used car as well as why it would be better than buying new vehicles, here are tips and tricks for used car maintenance.
The Car Engine
Since it’s the most important part of your vehicle, the car engine is one of the first things that you should worry about when it comes to used car maintenance. Here are tasks you need to check off when maintaining your used car’s engine:
- Consider an engine flush: Talk to your trusted car maintenance provider about an engine flush. If your car is really old, then it might end up dissolving sludge in your engine that is actually helping cover the cracked seals in your engine, leading to leaks. However, if there are no leaks in your engine, then it can simply ensure better performance of the engine.
- Change the fluids and oils: Make sure to replace or change the fluids in your old vehicle, such as the engine oil, coolant, refrigerant, etc.
- Replace the filters: Check if you need to replace the fuel, air, and oil filters in your engine.
- Check the rubber belts: These rubber belts can get run down over the years and it’s dangerous to leave them thin, ragged, or broken, so check them.
- Replace spark plugs: If you don’t replace worn-down spark plugs, they can end up misfiring whenever you start your car. Therefore, you should replace them if you have an old car.
- Consider a valve clearance adjustment: If you hear clattering noises in your car engine, it might be time to consider a valve clearance adjustment. You can check your used car’s manual to find when they recommend getting valve clearance adjustments for your car.
Your brake system is crucial for your safety as well as the safety of others while you’re on the road. Here are the essential tasks you need to finish when maintaining your used car:
- Replace the brake fluid: If you get moisture in your brake fluid, it can cause various parts of your braking system to corrode, so you should replace your brake fluids every two years or so.
- Check your brake pads, rotors, and calipers: You want to make sure that all of these work together and don’t have significant wear and tear, or else it will affect your braking.
- Bleed your brake lines: Make sure that you bleed your brake lines to get rid of excess air that can affect the pressure balance when you use your car’s brakes.
- Check or replace your handbrake or footbrake cables: If your car doesn’t use hydraulic or electronic handbrakes or footbrake, then you should check your cables to ensure that you still feel the brakes biting when you hit them.
Steering and Suspension System
When it comes to the steering and suspension system, what you should be looking out for are loose or worn parts, which can affect your car’s performance. If your car’s steering and suspension system are worn down, you might feel the steering wheel shaking or your car veering left and right, especially after a hump.
Wheels and Tires
Aside from replacing thin or old tires on your car, you should also consider a wheel balancing service. A wheel balancing service can help with uneven wear for your car’s wheels. You also should remember to check for cracks on the wheels of your car and not just replace the tires without checking for those.
Replacing old car batteries is one thing. However, you should also make sure that the terminals that flow the electricity from the battery to the rest of your car are clean and clear so that they can smoothly send out the electric current to your car.
For your car’s transmission, here are a couple of tasks you need to do:
- Replace the fluids: You have to check and replace your transmission fluid, gear oil, or CVT fluid.
- Check the clutch assembly parts: For a car with a manual transmission, you need to make sure that all the moving parts of your clutch assembly haven’t worn down to a concerning level.
Car Interior and Exterior
There are different parts of your car’s interior and exterior that you need to pay special attention to for a used car.
For the car exterior, it’s a good idea to look at the car paint and make sure that there are no scratches. With older cars, a scratch can get rusted faster.
The windshield wipers can also get thin if they haven’t had a replacement for a long time, so make sure to check them to ensure that they don’t scratch the windshield.
Check the headlights to make sure that they work correctly and that water doesn’t get into them which can cause issues like fogging.
For the car interior, make sure that the car’s upholstery doesn’t have hard-to-remove stains or tears on them. Also, you should check the carpeting for tears.
You should also get your air conditioning system checked so that it still is able to keep your car cool. You might need to clean or replace the air conditioner’s filter at some point.
You might also have to update the software within the electronic console of your car if it has any.
Other Frequently Asked Questions About Used Car Maintenance
Here are answers to other questions you may have about maintaining your used car that we haven’t covered yet.
How often should you get your used car checked?
Different parts of your car have different schedules for maintenance so it all depends on the part of your car you’re talking about. However, if you’re talking about checking your car overall, you can base it on the mileage of your vehicle instead.
Of course, if you notice major issues in performance for your vehicle, then you don’t and shouldn’t have to wait until you hit the mileage before getting it checked.
Where should you get your used car checked?
Any reliable car repair service provider is a good place to have your car checked.
How much will it cost to get a used car maintained?
In a year, if you’re thorough and make sure that you maintain your car every time, you can spend around PHP 100,000 a year for its maintenance. Of course, if you encounter issues in your car or you don’t get your car serviced at all, then the price can be much higher or lower than PHP 100,000 a year.
Other Tips for Maintaining a Used Car
If you want to know some handy tips for when you have to maintain your used car, here are a few that you can keep in mind.
Don’t forget to clean your car inside and out
No amount of maintenance can help you if you don’t even take the time to clean your car inside and out. The debris, dust, and other dirt that can enter your car inside can affect its performance, which is why it might be a good idea to do a flush of some fluids in your car, especially for a really old vehicle.
As for the dirt of your car from the outside, it can cause small scratches around the paint of your vehicle as well. With older cars, you want to avoid scratches because they can rust up and they will be difficult to manage by that point.
Adapt your driving style
With an older car, you need to be more careful with how you drive because it can really wear down the various parts of your car if you’re not careful.
For example, if you make sharp turns and sudden breaks, it can affect your suspension and your braking system.
Also, it’s a good idea to turn off the engine when not in use for an old car. You also want to make sure that you get to the fastest or simplest route possible to your destination with an old car so that you don’t increase the mileage on your vehicle.
Know which maintenance tasks you can do yourself
If you are knowledgeable about car maintenance, then you might have a lot of tasks related to the upkeep of your vehicle that you can do yourself. For example, you can replace many of the car fluids yourself instead of going to a car service to do it for you. Taking the time to do this can help you save money.
However, you should also know which maintenance tasks you can’t do. Otherwise, you might end up damaging your car even more if you’re not careful.
Actually drive the car
If you don’t drive your car, then it can fall into a state of disrepair, fluids might end up as sludge, and your maintenance tasks can increase. Therefore, you shouldn’t leave your cars forever locked away if you want them to last long, ironically enough. Otherwise, it would be a waste of your money and effort to keep them in your garage.
Don’t hesitate to check the car’s manual
The best resource for you to find out things related to your used car’s maintenance would be its car manual. Make sure that when you buy a used car you ask the previous owner of the car manual as it can hold the answer to many maintenance questions that you may have about your vehicle in particular.
A used car should be a viable option for you or for people who want to own a vehicle but don’t want to break the bank. By keeping up with the maintenance of your used car, you can get the most out of your vehicle and make sure that it lasts for a long time.
If you are a current owner of a used vehicle or plan on buying one, make sure that you go through this article so that you know how to care for your vehicle and make it last for years to come.