If you are still saving up to purchase your next vehicle and have decided to drive your old car until it suffers a fatal breakdown, then there are many things you can proactively do to keep it on the road for as long as possible, including following each of these tips:
Tip: Keep the Radiator Full of Antifreeze
Your car's radiator is tasked with keeping the engine cool. Without the radiator, the engine would get too hot and the metal would crack.
Since older vehicles are more susceptible to damage from heat, it is vital you keep the radiator full of fluid. And, not just water! Even though your car can function just fine in non-freezing temperatures with water in the radiator, an aging vehicle needs the other additives in antifreeze to help keep it from clogging and prematurely rusting.
Tip: Regularly Change the Oil
All of the moving parts of your vehicle's engine require oil to lubricate them. As the oil continually circulates in the engine, it becomes contaminated with small metal filings. If the oil gets too gunked up with filings, then it will cause serious mechanical problems.
To keep an aging car on the road, one of the most important things you must do is to change the oil on a regular schedule. Most car manufacturers recommend an oil change every few thousand miles, and waiting too long could be fatal for your old car's engine.
Tip: Avoid Changing the Transmission's Fluid Unless It Needs a Repair
Contrary to what most people believe, changing the transmission fluid in an aging vehicle is just never a great idea. Often, when new fluid is put into an old transmission it starts having problems it wouldn't have otherwise had. So, unless your old car's transmission is being rebuilt or repaired in such a way the existing fluid must be drained out, you should avoid changing it. Simply monitor the level and add fluid as it becomes necessary.
Tip: Visit a Local Tire Shop at Least Once Each Year
Since older vehicles have more problems with their alignments, wheel bearings, and suspension systems, it is important you take yours into a local tire shop at least once each year. While you are there, have the tires rotated and balanced and have the brakes and suspension system inspected. Regular inspections help to head off smaller issues before they become fatal breakdowns for your aging car.