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Tips to Keep Your Car Running Longer

According to DesRosiers Automotive Consultants, Canadians keep their vehicles for up to nine years and finance their purchases for 70-month loan terms on average. With something as important as a car, most drivers want theirs to keep running as long as possible. You can start by following these tips to keep your car running longer.

Tips to Help Keep Your Car Running Longer

According to Brian Turner of, some of the top reasons consumers trade in their vehicles for a newer one include: engine or transmission failures, severe structural corrosion, and the desire for improvements in styling, function, technology and/or safety found in newer models.

Speaking to the first two reasons, Turner has some tips for drivers who want to keep their car running longer.

  • Regular engine oil and filter changes
    keep your car running longerThe key to extending the life of the engine is regular fluid changes. The change interval number will vary by make and model. You can find what your carmaker recommends in your owner's manual. However, because Canadian winter temperatures can be so harsh, Turner suggests that it may be better to change it a little more frequently than your manual indicates. Remember to use the engine oil recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Don't forget transmission fluid services
    Your vehicle's transmission fluid needs servicing now and again regardless of whether you drive a standard, automatic, or continuously variable transmission. You should be able to find what the automaker recommends in your owner's manual. With a regular automatic transmission, Turner says that changing it won't cut it. Instead, you want to do a full flush with an external pump device. Manuals won't require a power flushing, but they may need servicing every 100,000 kilometres or so.
  • Keep it clean
    Salt, sand, slush, and weather can take their toll on a vehicle's exterior. Canada's harsh winters - and the resulting road salt - don't help matters much. Giving your vehicle a proper wash, including wheel wells and the undercarriage, on a regular basis can help remove these corrosion-causing materials and extend the life of your vehicle.
  • Have the right set of hands and eyes on your vehicle
    Routine maintenance is important to vehicles. Having the right mechanic performing those services is equally important. Having a mechanic you can trust performing the services puts you at peace, and a great one can even spot problems before they take place. A trustworthy mechanic can be the difference between a reliable, long-lasting vehicle and another trip to the dealership sales department.

How You Can Help

The operator of a vehicle can play a key part in keeping it running longer as well. Here's what you can do to help your engine and transmission out:

  • No need to floor it
    At times, it's good for your engine to be wound up and pushed. But if you are consistently driving in the tachometer's red line, you won't have a long-lasting affair with your engine and/or transmission.
  • Don't change gears until you have come to a complete stop
    Throwing your car into a different gear while it is still in motion is the best recipe for an early transmission failure. Doing so means the transmission takes the brunt of the momentum while shifting, which will cause undue damage over time.
  • A little warm-up time can do you good
    Giving your car some time to idle on a cold winter day can do wonders. Doing so will let the engine get up to proper operating temperature and ensure the oil has made its way to where it needs to be. There is no need to let it idle for too long, and it also may be a good idea to take it easy during the first few kilometres while the engine gets up to temperature.

When It's Time for a Car

There's not much of a secret to trying to keep your car running longer. Routine maintenance is the key. For most services, you can consult the owner's manual to get the recommended intervals for your particular make and model. You can set yourself up for long-term success if you stick to the timeline.

Of course, you need a car to care for if you want your vehicle to stay on the road longer. But if you have bad credit, getting approved for auto financing can be a challenge. Luckily, Canada Auto Loan can help people with bad, thin or no credit find a dealership in their area that can help. Our service is free and easy, and you can get the process started by completing our secure online application.