While the lifespan of a car will vary by model and depend on several factors, the average age of a car in 2019 is 11.8 years, according to research from IHS Markit.
That’s the highest average vehicle age, which typically increases slightly each year, on record. This is good news for car shoppers because it means automotive reliability is steadily improving as time passes, especially when you consider the average age was under 10 years in the early 2000s. While advancements in technology and overall vehicle quality have played a major role in this achievement, a car’s longevity isn’t just derived from how well-built it is. It also depends on you, the owner, and how well you take care of it throughout its years.
How Can I Maximize My Car’s Lifespan?
Because they’re such a significant, expensive purchase, most of us want to get as much use out of our cars as possible. So, what can you do to help keep yours on the road for the long haul? Follow these tips:
1. Consider Dependability in Your Research
Current vehicle owners can obviously skip this point, but those of you still researching vehicle options should dig into reliability data to help you identify models with proven longevity. Though you shouldn’t sacrifice the type of vehicle you want or any must-have features that come with it (owning a car should be an enjoyable experience, after all), taking this quality into account could go a long way in keeping your next vehicle on the road for a longer period.
It’s also worth adding as many of the latest driver-assist features as possible. These are designed to heighten safety awareness and help you avoid potential accidents.
2. Learn the Maintenance Intervals
Your owner’s manual lists out a maintenance schedule, so you should know when it requires specific services. These include fluid refills, oil changes, tire rotations, part examinations and, in some cases, major part replacements. Neglecting these could increase the potential for damage that might have been otherwise avoidable.
3. Identify Problems and Make Repairs When Necessary
While your owner’s manual might tell you when to examine or replace certain parts, it’s helpful to inspect your car inside and out on a regular basis to catch problems in their early stages. Look for cracks, wearing and leaks. Listen for noises that sound irregular. Smell for any abnormal odors.
And when you do notice an issue, don’t ignore it. Have it repaired as soon as possible to avoid letting a single problem transform into multiple problems, and use only high-quality replacement parts to prevent any reoccurrences.
4. Drive Carefully
The way you drive has a direct impact on some of your vehicle’s most important components. If you’re prone to over-accelerating or you tend to shift from reverse to drive before coming to a full stop, you may be straining your drivetrain and wearing down its parts more quickly. Additionally, frequent sudden braking as a result of over-accelerating may force you to replace brake pads and rotors sooner than usual.
Find a happy medium with your acceleration and deceleration, exhibit patience when shifting gears and be cautious when navigating through road obstacles like potholes and speed bumps.
Be a Loving, Caring Owner
Cars perform at their best when their owners are giving them the necessary level of attention and care that they need. Negligence will not only shorten your car’s lifespan, but it could also force you to take costly measures to prevent that lifespan from ending before you’re ready and able to buy another car.