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I know about things such as changing the oil regularly and keeping the gas tank at least one quarter full at all times, but what other things can I do to increase my car's longevity? I define longevity as both years running and total mileage.

To be clear, I’m looking for a comprehensive list of best practices to ensure my car lives as long as possible. I found this other question about general maintenance, but it does not fully answer my question about getting as much life out of my car as possible.

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  • Follow the servicing schedule and clean it inside and out. – Solar Mike Jan 12 at 6:22
  • An easy search on here gives this q with a very relevant answer: mechanics.stackexchange.com/a/28483/10976 – Solar Mike Jan 12 at 6:46
  • As the answer linked notes, it's about the driving style too. My penn'orth is to keep on top of any problems: ignore them and soon it's just a pile of junk. – Weather Vane Jan 12 at 15:15
  • Do what little old lady's do, only drive it to church on Sundays. – Alaska Man Jan 12 at 17:42
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Changing oil and filters is good . However , I have driven many cars to very high mileage and by far the most common "end -life" factor has been rust. Avoid driving on streets that have been salted for snow is about the only thing that can extent life .

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Things you could consider for car maintenance are written inside your service log book with the specified mileage and or time interval, but generally we can observe the following.

Change the following consumables at the appropriately defined intervals

  • Engine oil + Engine oil filter (most important!)**
  • Transmission fluid + Transmission filter
  • Coolant
  • Power steering fluid
  • Brake fluid -> equally important (absorbs water, which reduces braking performance/corrosion inhibition)
  • Fuel filter(if any)
  • Engine Intake air filter
  • Passenger pollen filter

**Intervals for engine oil change will depend on your use case for your car, there will be two or more intervals defined for this, standard and severe service .Severe service is considered to be city driving ,since effects of high oil temps , fuel dilution , start/stop acceleration all put excessive demands on oil and thus degrading the quality of the oil, using a quality synthetic oil(API donut certified) will extend oil/engine life.

There are other things the normal car owner should be aware of.

  • Inspect engine intake filter (clean the inside the air box and filter with a vacuum/compressed air , location noted in your owners manual)
  • Check your oil levels once a while (engine/trans oil), using the dip stick , oil will be consumed depending on your engine condition/manufacturers tolerance (normally it shouldn't go down on a new car ,if it does check owners manual for acceptable oil consumption , some brands are worse in this area)
  • Inflate tyres to recommended pressure (written on driver sill sticker or owners manual)
  • Don't use stale gas(Use high octane gas once a while for cleaning effect on injectors)
  • Change wiper blades(you can buy inserts and not the whole wiper arm for cheaper cost)
  • Top up battery acid levels (top up with distilled water if non maintenance free, measure specific gravity of cells using a hydrometer)
  • Take car on highway run once in a while.
  • Lubricate your car door hinges once a while
  • Keep your paint clean/Wash your car (bird shit or any shit for that matter will eat paint!)
  • Park your car indoors , the sun will kill the paint shine and also cause damage to your interior through UV degradation. There is a big difference over the long term when you garage your car vs leaving it on the street.
  • Tint your windows if you don't have them already(Consideration for radiative heat whilst driving).
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  • Depending on the location, "regular" cavity preservation can be a very useful tool. – towe Jan 12 at 12:39
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I don't have time for a comprehensive list, but I can offer what is key. Whatever your car's maintenance manual suggests for motor oil & fluids, spark plugs, filters, etc., cut the number in half (or slightly more). This is the secret used by fleet owners for decades. I have done so over 35 years with various vehicles, with amazing results.

Examples: Motor oil - recommended 6 months or every 7,500 miles. Change instead every 3 months 3,000 miles.

Coolant - every 7 years or 75,000 miles. Change every 3 years instead.

The extra cost of maintenance will be more than offset by the cost of repairs, replacement, and frustrating trips to mechanics!

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  • Ah, the old " 3 months and 3,000 miles oil change" money making racket! Some European small trucks now come with a manufacturer's recommendation of 25,000 miles not 3,000. And some trucks with onboard condition monitoring can recommend up to 50,000 miles between changes in good conditions (e.g. usage on long distance routes with little stop-start driving). – alephzero Jan 12 at 17:30
  • @alephzero - Sure, a Mobil 1 experiment found oil can last perfectly fine up to 100k miles if the engine is run continuously at room temperature. It is the heat cycling of start-stop, however, that does the real damage. Soot rapidly builds-up during cold operation, and moisture vapor turns soot into sludge, which in turn is the leading cause of seal breakdown, valve train wear, and stuck pinston rings. Moreover, water collects in the crankcase, causing rust, sulfuric acid formation, and thus greatly accelerated wear. – Carguy Jan 13 at 7:12

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