Auto Maintenance Oil Change

5 Ways To Help Extend The Life Of Your Vehicle

As our population has continued to grow and people are increasingly relocating to suburbia, average commute times have sky-rocketed. A recent national study revealed that commuters in large metropolitan areas like New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago spend nearly an entire work week each year sitting in traffic to and from their jobs. In 2019, the average American spent 27.6 minutes a day—each way—driving to and from work. It’s safe to say the days of the 10-minute work commute are virtually gone.

So how many miles can a car last? Depends on how well you maintain it and how you drive it. If you’re one of these unlucky commuters for whom telecommuting, carpooling and/or public transportation aren’t realistic options, here are a few tips that may extend the life of your car and help you spend less on gas by making your vehicle more fuel-efficient.

1. Drive GentlyA speedometer registering 50 miles per hour, or 80 km/h.

Avoid sudden starts and stops and observe the speed limit. Erratic acceleration and quick braking uses more fuel than driving in a smoother fashion. Plus, the wind resistance caused by driving fast costs you money. For every 5-mph you drive over the 60 mph mark, you add a dime to the price of every gallon of gas you buy.

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2. Get Regular Tune-Ups

Keep the car as well-tuned as you possibly can. A poorly tuned engine can increase fuel consumption by up to 50 percent! Getting regular tune-ups, maintenance, and having clean air filters will help you burn less gas, pollute less, and prevent car trouble down the line. Using the right grade of oil for your car can also help ensure it runs smoothly in all types of weather.

3. Keep Your Tires Properly Inflated

A phenomenal 36% of cars are driven with tires below the recommended psi (pounds per square inch). Check your tire pressure regularly with a tire gauge to make sure they’re in line with what your manufacturer recommends. If you drive on wheels that are under-inflated your car’s fuel efficiency will be reduced by up to 2 percent for each pound that the tires are under-inflated.

4. Cut Back On The A/C Use

Stop using the A/C so much! Your vehicle’s air conditioner uses power generated by the engine, so only use it when necessary for short periods. Parking in the shade and using a reflective windshield shade will help keep your car cool on hot days. If your car is too hot to drive, simply roll down the windows and let it air-out before hitting the road. On the other hand, driving with your windows down reduces the aerodynamics of your car and increases fuel consumption, so on summer road trips try to strike a happy medium.

5. Get The Junk Out Of Your TrunkClothes in a car trunk, Old San Juan, San Juan, Puerto Rico

Avoid carrying extra weight in your car. Extra weight saps your fuel economy, so unless you’re planning on playing that day, leave those golf clubs at home.

Got a new car with less than 15,000 miles on it? Be sure to add Mechanical Breakdown Insurance (MBI) to your auto insurance policy to help cover mechanical problems when your new car warranty runs out.

Continue reading: How to Survive a Really Long Commute

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    Leave a comment

  1. Febe Angello says,

    Thank you for the insight. This information helped me to be aware of what’s right or wrong with my car and keep it running properly!

  2. Bill Dore says,

    If you live in Florida check your tires for degrading signs our heat humpty can degrade your tires / and you, should replace them.

  3. FRAN HIRSCH says,

    I just wanted to let you know that I appreciate the helpful tips that you provide through email to your policyholders. At my age of 70+ years and living alone, I look forward to your money-saving advice.

  4. R.Askew says,

    Greetings GEICO On-Line Staff

    Thank You Very Much For Those Auto Tips, I’ve practiced all of them since “The 1973 Gas Crisis”.

    All of the tips seem minor,however when I noticed the difference with the gas gauge back then it was very apparent that it made “A Big Difference In The Mileage I Was Getting, Which Was About 15 to 20% Better”.

    So, Thanks Again, and Have A Good One!!!

  5. Jackie Arnold says,

    Bought my 2006 Mits Outlander SUV in Dec 2005, making it 10 years old this year. It has 35,684 miles on iy.
    Perfect inside.. New paint/tinted windows. 1 minor accicent on home proprty.. Can’t get a good trade
    value..too old..
    No one believes it’s in such good shape.. Should I keep it or take a hit & trade it

    • Kay says,

      You have more than 2 choices…
      Just sell it to someone (like me) who needs it, will appreciate it, and pay you a reasonable price for it!

    • Karen says,

      I know where you are coming from. I have a 2004 Dodge stratus RT Coupe. When I got it from my 65 yr old aunt it had 34K on it. Now 52K in good shape also. I suggest you try Craig’s list or EBay maybe you will have better luck. There are other sites online you can list it with. I’m going to keep my car because it’s a V6 and is running well when I got it to FL from MA I listed it on car and was offered 6K sight unseen. GL if you can keep it do so.

  6. hjs3 says,

    Recently had topside engine rebuilt in ’88 Benz 300E at the 244K mark along with Tranny. It was also suggested that I remain true to the “Premium Only” fuel warning. While I have for the most part, also sneak in a 90-Octane SHELL Non-Ethanol tankful too. Now that’s been interesting…..Mileage about 5% better than on the E-10 fuel. Of course I admit to liking the fact that fewer deposits on key engine parts will also be the result of real gas usage down the road too…For those of you using E-85, well that’s an entirely more horrible conversation all together….Simple fact remains true and that is that pure gas delivers more free energy.

    • Karen says,

      Can I put a higher octain in my tank on a 2004 Dodge Stratus RT Coupe? Will I get better gas mileage? And more pep in the car?

  7. R. Vazquez says,

    If you see street red light 1-2 block away from you car ,move you foot away from the accelerator, let the car run with less gas.

    • Karen says,

      I’ve always done that trick too but here in FL people beep at you if they can’t get buy u. I will continue to do it LOL

  8. Melinda Sullivan says,

    Just bought a 7 yr. old car but is in great shape. My engine light came on and I freaked. I planned a trip to the mechanic but lo and behold, a customer told me to check the gas cap. Sure enough, that was the problem. Light went right out.

    • Urline McLaughlin says,

      Thank you GEICO! These are great tips, I am rushing to the mechanic to keep my Lexus rocking and rolling for a long time.

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