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Double your car's life expectancy


Good car maintenance returns 6:1

By J. C. Carroll

Good maintenance can double a car's life expectancy. Photo: News CanadaFor every dollar spent on maintaining your vehicle, you stand to keep six dollars in your pocket, claims a study of the automotive industry.

“The report, released at the 2000 Canadian Fleet Maintenance Seminar, showed that for the 8,000 vehicles studied, $1.2 million was spent and $7.5 million was saved,” says Freeman Young, president of Krown Rust Control. “This is welcome news for car owners in the face of higher and higher gas prices, repair bills, and insurance costs.”

The reported savings factored in the cost of car payments, interest, and insurance. “Most importantly,” said Young, “the key to lowering overall costs lies in avid maintenance to extend the life cycle of the automobile.”

Here's a handy checklist aimed at doubling your car's life expectancy:

Maintenance musts:

• Tune-up. A regular tune-up is recommended, even with the high-tech performance of today's vehicles. At least once per year, test ignition wires, spark plugs, the fuel and air injector, pcv valves, plus the vital sensors that govern most engines.

• Corrosion treatment. Essential in the Canadian climate, an annual corrosion body treatment helps to reduce rust and deterioration in the electrical system and every moving part of the body is lubricated. A treatment for example, keeps the sensors, computer, and battery working longer and it helps to lengthen the life cycle of your brakes, gas line, and even the sending unit of your gas tank. The corrosion is reduced in the seams and from the inside body panels to help lengthen the paint life.

• Change engine oil and air filters. The oil and air filters prevent dirt and harmful particles from damaging the engine and they should be changed at twice a year or every 5,000 kilometres.

• Check spark plugs. Clean or change spark plugs if they are badly fowled or if the gap shows serious erosion.

• System check. Assess brakes, the tires, and the shock absorbers at least twice per year.

• Wash and polish. Remove the weather and road elements regularly, and protect the paint with polish at least once per season.

• Interior care. Dust and clean the dashboard with every car wash. Vacuum the interior at least once per season. Shampoo upholstery whenever needed.

Source: News Canada. Posted July 15, 2009.

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