11 Ways To Maintain Old & Used Cars

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March 26th, 2021   |   Updated on January 25th, 2023

Everyone on the internet nowadays is well aware of Boomers and their shenanigans. But you might not be aware of “beaters”. Beaters are basically boomers of the car world.

Old and used cars, hand-me-down cars, the junky vehicle lying in the shed that has not received an ounce of attention the past few years are the vehicles that have been beaten on.

However, beater has become an umbrella term for any used car in the market. In this article, we will offer suggestions and tips to keep your used or old car (especially 2021 Toyota RAV4)running safely and smoothly for as long as possible.

If you own a beater and you want to continue using it, chances are that you don’t have a ton of cash lying around for expensive fixes. So, to fulfill the necessary maintenance you have to prioritize what needs to be fixed and when.

Your main goal should be keeping the car running and ensuring it is safe to run. We have outlined few levels of priorities that you will need to operate on to ensure your old car is running safe and sound.

Components With The Highest Priority

You should pay special attention to components that can cause your old car to lose control and possibly result in an accident. These components include the following.

1. Maintaining Your Brakes

It is not rocket science that brakes are one of the most important components in a car. Many owners often neglect their brakes until there is a squeaking or even a grinding sound coming from their brakes.

The brakes on your car are not designed to last an eternity. Friction does its job and wears the brake pads out.

Firstly, you need to know how much is the functional life of your brake pads. Usually, it’s a few thousand kilometers, depending on the car.

Like, for the 2021 Toyota Corolla the brake pads usually last from 30,000 to 70,000 miles. So, even if your car isn’t making any grinding or squeaking sound when braking, it is your responsibility to get the brake pads replaced after the functional life has expired. Also, check for leaking brake fluids and consult your car’s owner’s manual for more details.

2. Don’t Neglect The Rubber

Along with brakes, tires are the components that wear out the quickest. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), old cars with poor and neglected tires are more than three times as likely to be involved in a collision.

Use the rotating tires technique to keep the costs down and periodically change tires that have been degraded. Also, keep track of your tire pressure regularly and maintain the advised tire pressure for your old car. Check the owner’s manual or consult a local mechanic.

3. Steering And Suspension Systems

Steering and suspension systems are next in line to keep an eye out for. Check for any unusual steering feel.

The first signs to notice here are the slight variations or vibrations that might creep up into your steering wheel.

The most common of these signs is when you have to put in the effort to keep the car going straight. Along with the steering, also get your shocks inspected by a professional to keep your car running safely.

Steering and Suspension issues not only cause maneuvering issues but also accelerate the wear and tear of your tires and braking system.

Components With Medium Priority

These ones will include components that can leave you stranded or cause other more integral components to malfunction and fail such as the engine. These include the following:

4. Radiator Hoses

Old and used cars are often plagued with radiator issues. And when left unchecked they can cause your engine to overheat and even catch fire in extreme situations. Make sure the radiator hoses are changed periodically along with regular top-up of the radiator fluid.

5. Fuel Lines

Old fuel lines often crack and start leaking fuel. This fuel can easily come in contact with heat and thus runs the risk of causing a fire.

Fixing a fuel line should be a routine procedure and can easily be done at any local auto repair shop. You should also get your fuel filter replaced every 10,000 miles or so.

6. CV Joints

If your old beater is a front-wheel-drive car, you might start to hear a rattling sound during sharp turns. This is a clear indicator that your constant velocity (CV) joints need replacing.

Also, ask your mechanic to keep an eye out for the boots of the CV joint that contain grease, keep an eye out for possible leaks here.

7. Engine Timing Belt

Many old cars boast an interference engine that has Timing Belts. These timing belts synchronize the rotation of the crankshaft and the camshafts.

Keep an eye out for knocking sounds or issues with starting the engine. Unusual revs are also an indicator for worn-out timing belts.

Most of these belts have a life of about 60,000 to 100,000 miles. You should get it replaced as soon as the belt hits its end of working life. Waiting for the belt to completely wear out can cause bigger problems and bigger expenses.

8. Battery Care

The number one reason why people in their old beaters get stranded would be the batteries. Get your car battery inspected every once in a while to make sure it has not degraded. Look out for possible signs of corrosions near the battery terminals.

Components With The Lowest Priority

This priority level is meant for the components that will simply keep the car alive and well. Neglecting these components might not cause an issue at first, but over a significant amount of time, larger issues might arise.

9. Oil and Filter

Oil is what keeps your engine lubricated and running smoothly. Check your oil levels regularly and top it up whenever the oil level drops down.

Running the engine on low oil, no oil or dirty clogged up oil can cause serious damage to the engine. Another costly repair that could be avoided by just getting your oil and filter changed every 3,000 to 5,000 miles.

10. Transmission Fluid

Similarly, the transmission also runs smoothly because of oil acting as a lubricant. Have your transmission fluid and filter replaced every 10,000 miles or so.

11. Coolants

Coolants also include antifreeze which in summers keeps your engine cool and in winters prevents it from freezing.

Regular top-ups of coolants also help prevent corrosion, foam, and deposit formation which can hamper the performance of an already aging car.

By just following few key procedures you can give your aging car plenty of love and attention that will help it keep running smoothly and in turn, it will keep you safe and sound.

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