With the cost of a new vehicle on the rise, the non-profit Car Care Council reminds drivers that maintaining their current vehicle makes more economic sense than purchasing a new one.
The average price of a new passenger vehicle is nearly $34,000, according to Kelley Blue Book, while IHS Markit reports that average vehicle age has risen to 11.5 years.
“In the early 1970s, the average new vehicle cost only about $3,900,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “While the price of a new vehicle has skyrocketed over the years, the good news is that today’s cars are lasting longer than ever before. Keeping your current vehicle, and maintaining it at recommended intervals, protects its trade-in value and postpones the sting of new-car prices.”
Regular Maintenance is Key. The best way to ensure a vehicle’s longevity is to observe a regular service schedule. Keep up with fluid and filter changes, tire checks and other routine maintenance. Over time, some car parts and components wear out or become damaged, so the smart investment is to replace these typical wear items before long-term damage ensues.
Heed the Warning Signs. Vehicles have ways of communicating that trouble may be on the horizon. Illuminated dashboard warning lights, such as the check engine light, indicate that key vehicle systems need inspection as soon as possible. Pay attention to any new or unusual vehicle sounds, such as squealing, thumping, hissing or grinding as they can indicate a problem. Unusual smells, such as burnt rubber, hot oil, gasoline, rotten eggs, burning carpet or the sweet smell of syrup can also indicate a serious problem.
Keep It Clean. Washing and waxing a vehicle on a regular basis protects its value. A thorough cleaning inside and out prevents the buildup of dirt and damaging chemicals that can harm the finish, reduces the potential for rust from road salt, and ensures proper visibility needed for safe driving.
“If you see, hear or smell anything unusual, be sure to have your vehicle inspected so you can address minor repairs before they become more complicated, expensive repairs,” concluded White.