5 Tips to Conserve Your Beater Car

Beater-1There’s a variety of reasons why someone would drive a beater car. They could be trying to preserve their nicer vehicle, and commuting with the beater will prevent the favored car from getting worn down. Perhaps the car’s been in the family for a while, or it holds special, sentimental importance to the owner. Maybe they just can’t afford a replacement, and the beater is the only reasonable way to get from point A to B. 

Regardless of the reason, it should be a priority to preserve this beater vehicle. Of course, that’s easier said than done. Whether it’s altering how you drive, committing the tender loving care the car deserves, or just forcing yourself to embrace that an oil change in Cincinnati, a handful of small steps could keep your oldie on the road for a considerably longer time. Let’s see what you should keep in mind as you try to preserve that beater…

Be Aware of Oil Changes

Remember the days when a light would flash on the dashboard of your new car, and you decided to postpone the investigation until you had more time on your hands? Well those days are in the past, as the car now requires immediate action whenever anything seems off.

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This is particularly important when it comes to changing your oil. Make sure you keep track of all your oil changes, and rely on your car’s manual for how often your fuel should be changed. If you stick with that trusty number (give or take a mile or two above or below), it’ll go a long way in preserving your ride.

Or, if you’re paranoid (or a bit neurotic) about your car’s oil, consult an expert. A lab can easily check your oil, and they could potentially identify some underlying maintenance issues.

“They’ll check to see if there are any metals floating around in the oil that indicate the car will break down soon,” said Edmunds.com’s senior consumer advice editor Phil Reed, “and they’ll pick up if any coolant mixed with the oil.”

Prevent Rust

This is important if you live in an area where snow or rain is common, and it’s especially important if you don’t have a garage for your beater to hide in.

In regards to your body, salt can do a lot of damage. Make sure to wash your car regularly during the winter, although if the temperature drops below freezing, the salt won’t hurt your vehicle. 

Make sure you’re checking other parts of the car for corrosion, especially the battery. A wire brush will certainly help get the gunk off, but if you notice considerable wear, it may be time to get that battery replaced.

Find a Mechanic You Trust

Portrait of a happy young car mechanic holding wrench with car on hoist in background. Horizontal shot.

 

If you do need to get that battery taken out (or if you need any other part of the car repaired), make sure you find a mechanic that you trust. There’s nothing worse than a sketchy mechanic, especially when they’re in charge of handling your baby.

Whether it’s a private mechanic or a dealership, make sure you’re interacting with someone you’ve had a previous working relationship with. While a private business would mean not having to deal with a service advisor, a dealership could provide you with discount replacement parts. 

Watch How You Drive

This could be a double-sided sword, so it’s important to understand what variables allow your car to flourish.

Speed, driving over potholes, constantly starting and stopping… none of that is good for a car, regardless of whether it has 100 miles or 100,000 miles. Reversely, there’s no reason to drive your car 20 below the speed limit.

There’s clearly a happy medium here, and you should recognize when your car performances at it’s peak and when it performs it’s worst. If your beater seems to be working fine, don’t push it… or let it off the hook. Find that middle ground and you’ll be fine. 

Stay on Top of Everything Else

Beater-2There’s no such thing as being too careful when it comes to caring for your older car. It’s essential that everything is working in tip-top shape, or you could potentially compromise your vehicle’s livelihood.

When I say everything, I mean everything. Cooling system maintenance is key, as without it, you could find yourself stranded on the side of the road. Coolant hoses and heater hoses are both essentials, and you’d do yourself a favor by replacing them every couple of years. While you’re replacing those parts, you might as well throw in a new water pump. Similar to many things in life, it’s better to replace something before it’s broken.

If your brakes start squeaking, that’s probably an indication that they need to be replaced. Constantly replacing your brake pads may sound like a pain in the butt, but this could help prevent you from one day having to replace the entire system. If you’re feeling ambitious, bleeding the brakes is a smart thing to do, as the brake fluid will indicate how well the system is operating.

You’d be surprised how many people neglect to check their tires out. While they may not directly lead to your car’s demise, they could certainly have a major contribution. Dishing out a couple extra bucks for a better quality tire could help prevent an accident, and it’s a good idea to keep rotating those tires every 6,000 miles or so. This will assure that they’re being worn evenly.

Finally, if you car seems to be bouncing constantly, it’s an indication that you need new shock absorbers. Worn out shocks could do a number on your car. Besides effecting the comfort and easiness of your drive, it also effects the braking efficiency, the ABS system, the car’s control… some pretty important stuff!

 

Follow the steps above, and you’ll be well on your way to preserving your beater. Of course, there’s plenty of other things to keep in mind, like using high-quality replacement parts, keeping the body clean, and being knowledgeable about how your car works. If you take into account all these things, you could be pushing 200,000 miles!

If you do come across any issues, make sure you bring the beater to your local mechanic or dealership, including McCluskey Chevrolet. They’ll do everything in their power to make sure your beat-up car is running good as new.