8 Tips to Extend the Life of Your Car

Cars aren't cheap –especially new ones. Knowing that, wouldn't it seem that car owners would spend a little time maximizing the longevity of their car?  Well, most don't for one reason or another. With the help of Patrick BMW of Schaumburg, IL, a full-service BMW dealer, we will explore 12 ways you can add years onto the life of your car with a minimum of effort.

1. Park in the shade

A garage is the ideal place to park your car. But if one isn't available, you can minimize interior damage from UV sunlight and heat by trying to park your car in the shade. If no shade is available, you can purchase a car shade to minimize the sun's impact on your dash.

2. Use good floor mats

Use good floor mats to protect your carpeting. The best type for keeping salt, slush, and under control are the rubber wafflestyle mats with lipped edges. They stay in place, don't allow the water to seep through, and are easy to wash clean.

3. Keep leather from drying out and cracking

Leather cars seats are durable but they require a little maintenance to keep them going. Every year or so, treat your leather seats to a good conditioning. It takes a little elbow grease to apply but leather conditioning will replace the oils that get lost during use.  The result is leather that stays soft and lasts a long time.

4. Maintain proper inflation

Under-inflated tires make tire salesmen happy. Underinflated tires tend to wear on the outside edges quicker that in the center of the tread.  Over a period of time, the wear will be enough that your car won't pass inspection.  The solution is inflate your tires to the proper manufacturers recommendation every month.

5. Rotate your tires

Rotating your tires helps to distribute tire wear more evenly and ensures that you'll get the maximum life out of them. Your owner's manual will specify both rotation period and pattern. If not, rotate your tires every 6,000 to 7,500 miles. Your local tire dealer should know the correct pattern of tire rotation.

6. Lighten up your key chain

Does your car key share a dozen or more other keys or other items?  Believe it or not, over time that can damage the tumblers in the ignition assembly and they are very expensive to replace. Consider having just a few keys on your key chain will avoid this problem.

7. Have wheel alignment checked Have your car's wheel alignment checked every 30,000 miles or right after you purchase a new set of tires. When your wheels are out of alignment, they might wear unevenly and this will shorten their life.

8. Don't forget your timing belt There is no question that your timing belt is the most important maintenance item on your car.  If a timing belt gets too many miles on it, it can break and this cause thousands of dollars worth of damage to your engine.  Make sure you change the timing belt on your car as per the manufacturers recommended schedule.

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