Mechanic Tips

The Mechanic’s Secret: Little-Known Tips for Car Longevity

Why does your car age prematurely, and what can you do to extend its life? Cars, much like humans, need proper care and maintenance to stay healthy and functional. Yet, many drivers overlook simple practices that can significantly extend the life of their vehicles. Understanding these little-known secrets can not only save you money but also ensure your car remains a reliable companion for years to come.

1. Shield from the Elements

  • Wheel-Well Splash Guards: Protect your engine from water and slush. Regular checks are essential as they can tear off unexpectedly.
  • Mud Flaps: Add an extra layer of protection and style, especially useful in wintry conditions.

2. Brake System Maintenance

  • Brake Fluid Checks: Monthly checks and topping off with the right type of brake fluid are crucial. Old containers should not be reused due to moisture absorption.
  • Anti-Lock Brake Care: Regularly ‘bleed’ the brakes every three years to prevent moisture from damaging the ABS pump.

3. Filter Management

  • Regular Replacement: Change oil, fuel, transmission, and air filters as per the schedule to maintain engine efficiency.
  • Air Filter Care: Clean every two months and use bursts of compressed air for longevity.

4. Transmission Health

  • Fluid and Filter Change: For automatic transmissions, change fluid and filter after the first 5,000 miles and every 25,000 thereafter.
  • Manual Transmission: Use synthetic motor or gear lube to prolong the transmission’s life.

5. Overheating Prevention

  • Oil and Transmission Coolers: Essential for heavy-duty vehicle use, helping to dissipate heat and prevent breakdowns.

6. Spark Plug Maintenance

  • Regular Changes: Replace every 30,000 miles or upgrade to long-life plugs.
  • Wire Replacement: Change every 50,000 miles to maintain optimal engine performance.

7. Hose Inspection

  • Regular Checks: Replace hoses that are hard, crunchy, soft, sticky, or show signs of bulges and collapse.

8. Coolant Management

  • Proper Dilution: Use a 50/50 mix of coolant-antifreese and water for optimal performance.
  • Regular Top-Ups: Keep an eye on the antifreese level and top up as needed.
  • Radiator Leak Solution: Use a sealant like Alumaseal for minor leaks.
  • Old Coolant Flushing: Replace coolant every two years or five if using newer formulations.
  • Consistent Coolant Use: Stick to one color and brand of coolant as specified in the owner’s manual.

9. Timing Belt Replacement

  • Adhere to Schedule: Follow the manufacturer’s recommendation for timing belt changes to prevent costly engine damage.

10. Drive Belt Management

  • Monthly Checks: Ensure correct tension and look for damage. Replace if necessary.

11. Engine Cleaning

  • Regular Cleaning: Use soap, water, and elbow grease or opt for professional steam cleaning.

12. Battery Care

  • Water Level Checks: For batteries with vent caps, maintain the proper electrolyte level.
  • Seasonal Running: Operate the AC occasionally in winter to keep parts flexible and prevent seizing.

13. Power Steering Maintenance

  • Fluid Level Checks: Regularly inspect for leaks and maintain the correct fluid level.

14. Weight Management

  • Avoid Overloading: Adhere to roof load specifications and use appropriate equipment for transporting goods.

15. Winter Storage Care

  • Fuel Stabilizer Use: Prevent condensation in the fuel tank during prolonged storage.
  • Brake Release: Ensure parking brake is released to prevent corrosion.
  • Battery Disconnect: Use a trickle charger or periodically drain and recharge the battery.

16. Routine Maintenance

  • Car Care Month: Engage in regular check-ups and maintenance activities as a part of routine vehicle care.

Additional Tips from RAC Drive:

  1. Battery Maintenance: Use a trickle charger for extended periods of non-use.
  2. Smooth Driving: Practice mechanical sympathy to reduce component wear.
  3. Air Conditioning: Regular use prevents refrigerant gas leakage.
  4. Tyre Care: Regular checks and maintaining recommended pressures are crucial.
  5. Service Schedule Adherence: Stick to the recommended service intervals for both minor and major services.
  6. Car Storage: Utilize a garage or high-quality car cover to protect against external elements.
  7. Avoid Unnecessary Modifications: They can reduce reliability and longevity.
  8. Avoid Potholes: They can cause significant damage to your vehicle’s suspension and tyres.
  9. Use Brakes Over Engine Braking: To reduce drivetrain damage.
  10. Keep It Clean: Regular cleaning can prevent wear and corrosion.
  11. Avoid Resting on Clutch and Gearstick: Prevents unnecessary wear.
  12. Avoid Running Low on Fuel: Prevents clogging and corrosion of the fuel system.
  13. Use Original Parts: Ensures reliability and preserves future value.
  14. Immediate Warning Light Response: Addressing issues early can prevent major problems.
  15. Regular Simple Checks: Routine inspections for various car components.


Regular care and maintenance are key to prolonging the life of your vehicle. By incorporating these lesser-known tips into your routine, you can ensure that your car remains a dependable and efficient mode of transport for many years.

For expert assistance and top-notch services, remember to visit SNC Automotive, a leading car mechanic shop in Brendale. Whether you’re looking for a Brendale mechanic near you or seeking specialised car care advice, SNC Automotive is your go-to source for all things automotive.

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