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You might have the nicest car on the block, but unless you can take care of it, it’s not going to be of much use.  Even if everything on TV was true, then maintaining your car and keeping it running great and looking good would be awfully easy, but in reality, it’s a lot more complicated than that.  Various people will give you their secrets as to how they got their car to run for 500,000 miles over 15 years, but the sad truth is that there’s no “great trick” to getting a vehicle to last for a long time.  In reality, it’s a lot simpler.  The trick is constant maintenance.  You need regular fluid checks and an almost fanatical dedication to scheduled lubrication.  Even if you have the best engine oil and brake fluid in the market, unless you regularly change it, then it doesn’t mean anything.  Cleaning and protecting the finishes of a car will help keep the vehicle looking good, as the various materials in the car need help surviving the elements.  I recently came across an article with 10 great tips for effective car maintenance.

Jeremy Bednarsh beat up car

Even the finest of cars suffer from poor care.

Make sure that you check and change the oil.  No one step will help an engine last more than regular oil and filter changes, and nothing will destroy an engine more quickly than neglecting oil-level checks or fresh-oil changes.

Once a year, make sure that you flush the cooling system and change coolant.  A 50/50 mix of coolant and distilled water will help keep the cooling system in good shape and prevent corrosion and deposits from building up inside the cooling system.

Cahnge out transmission and differential oils.  While not requiring frequent service, these fluids still need to be changed according to service intervals.  Make sure that you always use transmission fluid or gear oil of the recommended type and viscosity.

It’s no surprise that keeping your car clean is always an important part of the general maintenance.  You obviously need to wash the outside of the vehicle, but most everything your car runs over can also get stuck to the underside.  It’s a good idea to hose off winter salt and road grime.

Any part of a car with moving parts needs grease to stay working.  Often times, perfectly god parts of a car will stop working due to poor lubrication.  Driveline components such as u-joints also need regular lubrication.  To access the zerk grease fitting, you might also have to remove the driveline.

Quality wax is a great way to keep paint looking good and protected.  Every six months, you should apply wax to your car.

To protect the interior plastic of your car, try such techniques as parking it in the shade, using a window deflector screen and applying a UV protectant to prevent the plastic and vinyl of the car from drying out.

Follow service intervals and inspect, clean and repack wheel bearing with wheel bearing grease as instructed.  Wheel bearings and grease aren’t that expensive compared to spindle and hub replacement, or wheels falling off the car and rolling down the road ahead of you.

Break fluid is hygroscopic, meaning that it’s adept at attracting moisture, which in turn causes parts of the car to corrode and fail.  Once a year, replace the fluid and bleed system.  Remember: while brake fluid is cheap, calipers, hoses and sensors are very expensive.