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How to keep your high-mileage car running smoother for longer

With the soaring prices of new cars, many motorists today are opting to keep their vehicles for longer than they usually would have.

While many cars on the road can last a lifetime and then some, they need proper care and maintenance in order to perform at their best for many years and not leave you stranded on the side of the road.

Third-party car warranty expert MotorHappy therefore provides the following tips and tricks that every motorist can do on a regular basis to keep their high-mileage wheels running smoothly for the foreseeable future.

Running dry

Regularly check and change the engine the engine oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, power steering fluid, and coolant.

The vehicle owner’s manual usually has recommended intervals for fluid changes and the right liquids to use. For older cars, you can also consider using high-mileage synthetic oils to condition seals and reduce oil consumption.

“Fluids are the lifeblood of your vehicle and keeping them clean and at the proper levels is crucial,” said MotorHappy.

Keeping cool

The cooling system plays a vital role in preventing engine overheating, so it’s wise to inspect the radiator, hoses, and coolant levels every few weeks to ensure they are still intact.

You should also clean the radiator fins and flush the cooling system according to your vehicle’s maintenance schedule.

Hit the brakes

On South Africa’s dangerous roads where hazards come in all shapes and sizes, functional brakes are equally as important as a well-kept engine.

As such, keeping an eye on the brake pads and rotors, and replacing them when they start showing too much wear, will go a long way in ensuring your safety on the road.

Additionally, regularly inspect the brake lines and fluid for any signs of leakage.

Toasted tyres

Tyres play a vital role in a car’s road-holding abilities and are essential for both safety and fuel efficiency.

With this in mind, it’s recommended to habitually check tyre pressure, rotate them, and align the wheels.

Additionally, keep an eye on tread wear and replace tyres when they become excessively worn. The grooves generally have an indicator that shows when they are too shallow.

Clean fuel

Using fuel system cleaners periodically and replacing the fuel filter as recommended by your vehicle’s manufacturer will ensure no harmful sediment or grime is sucked into the engine.

“A clean and efficient fuel system contributes to better performance and fuel economy,” said MotorHappy.

Warning lights

High-mileage cars may experience issues with the engine and transmission, which in most will be shown by an appropriate warning light on the dash. You can also listen for unusual noises, vibrations, or changes in performance.

Addressing these issues promptly can prevent more significant problems down the road.

Bumpy rides

If you start experiencing a bumpy ride and less control, it could be due to worn-out suspension and steering components that must be replaced as soon as possible, such as shocks, struts, bushings, and ball joints.

“Proper alignment also helps preserve tyre life and handling,” according to the experts.

Irritating electronics

Faulty electronics are the first sign of a failing battery, alternator, or starter.

If your car has electrical gremlins, you should first clean corrosion from battery terminals and replace the battery if it’s showing signs of weakness.

You can also get it inspected by a mechanic to ensure that the electrical system is in good condition to prevent unexpected breakdowns.

Professional advice

While DIY maintenance is essential for all car owners, professional inspections can catch potential issues early.

Schedule regular check-ups with a trusted mechanic who can assess the overall condition of your high-mileage car and provide expert advice on necessary repairs or replacements.

Extended warranty

For motorists who want to avoid a massive and unexpected repair bill on their ageing wheels, an extended car warranty can be their saving grace.

“An extended warranty is a game-changer for high-mileage cars, acting as a safety net for unexpected repairs that often come with ageing vehicles,” said MotorHappy.

“A car warranty gives you peace of mind, knowing that all major replacements are covered to a certain limit.”

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