Auto repair costs can really put a damper on your budget. However, there are simple ways to keep your car running smoothly so you can stay out of the body shop. Changing your fluids frequently, keeping up with routine maintenance, and driving safely can extend the life of your vehicle. There are also some unexpected things you can do that will help keep your car rolling into old age. Here are three tips you’ve never heard of that will help you keep your car performing.

Do not drive

Bet you didn’t see it coming, huh? It’s pretty simple: the more you wear something, the more wear and tear it will receive. The same goes for your car. Unless you’re a car collector, you probably won’t be able to avoid using your car entirely. But it’s still good to give it an occasional break by using alternative modes of transportation, such as biking, walking, or using public transportation. This will keep the car in the garage and reduce your trips to the auto repair shop.

Keep that garage cool

Garages and carports are a great way to keep your car safe from the weather, as well as unexpected debris or kids playing baseball in the street. However, if you live in an area that receives snow or ice, it is important to maintain the proper temperature for your garage. If you opt for a heated garage, driving in it with snow or ice in your car will cause it to melt. Snow and ice melt into water, the water in your car leads to rust, and rust can lead to a number of problems, ranging from engine damage to structurally weakened bodywork. It turns out that what may be comfortable for you on a cold winter morning is not so good for your car.

Drive long, drive happy

So now we know that water produces rust and rust kills cars. But you’re not going to impress your local auto repair shop mechanic with that advice. So here’s another one: In addition to melting ice and snow, using your car for short trips, say less than 10 minutes, can also lead to water and rust. Your engine takes time to reach its optimum operating temperature. When it is operating at its optimum temperature, the water by-product of engine combustion is heated to steam and is expelled from the engine through the exhaust pipe. However, on shorter trips (i.e. less than 10 minutes), the engine never reaches operating temperature and water condenses on the engine, eventually leading to rust damage. Condensed water can also get into engine oil, thinning it and making it less effective at lubricating the engine. So next time you’re thinking of driving down the block for a late-night snack, remember that a brisk walk isn’t just good for your heart; it’s good for your engine too.

Of course, when you have problems with the car, the best thing for you is to find the most qualified and reliable mechanics. Solid car repair and maintenance can also go a long way in extending the life of your car.

Happy driving!

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