Nearly two years ago, in August 2016, my beloved Kia Sportage failed its MOT. The garage told me that basically, it was a lost cause. I was devastated because not only did I love my car but I also couldn’t really afford to replace it. Luckily, the fiance managed to find a second car that was within our price range and wasn’t an old banger. Yes, it was an older car – a 2007 Vauxhall Corsa to be exact – but it only had 26,000 miles on the clock as it belonged to an elderly gentleman who only used it to pop to the shops once a week.
When I saw how beautifully well kept this little car had been – it legit looked like new inside and out – I realised that if I wanted my cars to last for longer, I needed to take better care of them. So I made a vow to take better care of my “new” car, and since then I am proud to say my car has passed two consecutive MOTs with only a couple of minor advisories. (Clearly, I must have mastered the art of car care…or maybe it’s just luck?!)
Anyhow, I now take the best possible care of my car because A) I love my little car and B) I really cannot afford to buy another one. Wondering what I do to keep my little car in tip-top shape when it’s 11 years old? Below are some tips and tricks that I swear by when it comes to caring for your older car.
Change your oil and filter
To extend the life of your car engine, changing your oil and oil filter regularly is key. Over time, failing to keep your car’s oil clean can lead to all sorts of problems, which is why it’s so important that you take this tip seriously. It’s best to have your oil and filter changed by the professionals – I usually drop my car into my local Vauxhall garage.
Now, in terms of how often you should change your car’s oil, that depends on how many miles you do. As a rule of thumb, the experts say that every three months or every 3000 miles is an ideal amount. I only need to change my car’s oil once every six months because I only do 6000 miles a year – one of the perks of working from home (my car insurance is cheaper too).
Take care of your wipers
Did you know that having damaged windscreen wipers can be dangerous? As, if your wipers don’t work properly they can impact your ability to clear your windscreen of dirt, rain or debris while driving. Did you know that any tears or holes in the rubber of your wipers can be an instant MOT fail?
Taking care of your wiper blades before an MOT by checking them over for any holes or tears. Of course, if you choose to have your car’s MOT performed by a reputable garage – you could get an MOT in Wakefield from Ossett Tyre House, a reputable MOT service – then you may be able to ask them to take a look at your wipers beforehand.
Top up that coolant
Every once in a while – the exact time frame will depend on what your vehicle’s manual says – it’s a good idea to change or top up your vehicle’s coolant. As a rule of thumb, for older cars, coolant should be replaced after every 30,000 miles, of course for a car to need its first coolant change it needs to reach 60,000 miles – my car is yet to reach that milestone.
Change your brake fluid
Did you know that over time your brakes can become rusty and corroded due to moisture? This can be expensive to fix, which is why it is worthwhile changing your brake fluid regularly as this helps prevent this problem from occurring.
In terms of how often this should be changed, it once again depends on the car make and model. However, as a rule of thumb, most experts say every two years or every 20,000 miles, depending on which comes first.
Keep the exterior spick and span
Keeping the exterior of your car clean isn’t about vanity, it’s about preventing rust and corrosion. Ideally, you need to be washing and waxing your car at least four times a year at a minimum, to ensure that it’s getting the TLC it needs. Not a fan of washing your car by hand? Pay to have it professionally washed and valeted then, or head for a drive-thru carwash.
So there you have it, my guide to giving your older car the TLC that it needs to remain on the road for many years to come.