However well you treat your vehicle, gradual wear and tear will impact everything from the engine to the upholstery. Reduce the damage that you may be unknowingly causing, and extend your vehicle’s lifespan with these 10 tips.
First, let’s cover the essential checks on your vehicle.
1. Tire inflation
Average lifespan: 3-4 years, if driving 19-25,000km / year
If the tires on your car are not inflated to the levels recommended by the vehicle manufacturer, they can wear down more quickly. This is because underinflated tires have a larger surface area when rolling on the road, creating more resistance. By taking a few minutes to regularly check the pressure, your tires will last longer.
2. Hazy and foggy headlights
Average lifespan: 6 years
These days, most car headlights are made with impact-resistant polycarbonate plastic lenses. Over time, these transparent surfaces oxidize and become hazy, reducing their overall visibility. To slow down this process, avoid parking your car in unsheltered areas with direct sunlight, or add a UV protection coating to your headlights.
3. Replace your air filter
Average lifespan: 3 years, or 8 - 48,000km, depending on driving conditions
Open your hood, locate your air filter box and hold it against a source of light — can you see through it? More light equals a cleaner filter. Even if your car’s air filter looks clean and unclogged at first glance, it may be preventing the engine from breathing properly. This is due to the tiny particles of dirt that build up over time. The good news is that replacing an air filter is easy. Check out your owner's manual to find your vehicle’s ideal maintenance schedule.
4. Brake fluid
Average lifespan: 1.5 years, or 60,000km
Because brake fluid absorbs water from the air, the brake system can eventually become damaged by moisture. This can lower the brake fluid’s boiling point, releasing gas in the brake lines and diminishing braking ability. To minimize the chance of this happening, regularly flush your brake fluids. Remember: if the fluid is cloudy, it’s due for a change.
5. Engine coolant
Average lifespan: 7 years, or 168,000 km
Over time, the chemicals in your engine coolant can become corrosive, potentially damaging or destroying surfaces within the cooling system. Regularly check the condition of your engine coolant to prevent damages to your cooling system, as this can cause engine overheating.
Average lifespan: 12 years, or after an accident
Like any component in your car, seatbelts suffer from daily wear and tear. If the spring mechanism weakens, it’s best to replace the entire seatbelt. To extend the life of your seat belts, try to use less force when buckling up and reduce the stress on the belt.
7. Power windows
Average lifespan: 12 years
Your car’s electric power window system grants you fresh air at the press of a button. However, as power windows are used frequently, their motors wear out over time. To make them last longer, try not to place any pressure on the window pane while it is being lowered or raised.
8. Leather seats
Average lifespan: 8 years
Look after your leather seats, and they will keep your car looking like new. Regularly apply a leather-cleaning spray onto the seats with a clean towel. Once you’ve covered all areas, dry the seats with a microfiber cloth and apply a leather conditioner a couple of hours later. Follow this routine and see your upholstery’s lifespan go up and up.
9. Window tint
Average lifespan: Dyed: < 1 year, Hybrid: 8 years, Ceramic: > 10 years
Your window tint will eventually need replacing due to constant exposure to the sun. To make sure that your window tint doesn’t wear out before its time, select a high-quality ceramic film tint and try to park your car out of direct sunlight. Remember: Check your local restrictions before making a choice.
10. Exterior maintenance
Average lifespan: 13 - 17 years
On a daily basis, your car is exposed to elements that can dull, fade or otherwise damage your once-pristine paint job. Car wax prevents paint peeling and protects your car’s exterior from corrosion that could cause it to be taken off the road years earlier. Keep a respray at bay, and remember to keep your car waxed.
Follow these 10 car care tips to minimize unnecessary wear and tear, and no doubt you’ll be extending the longevity of your vehicle.