Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Care for Old Cars

My parents are buying a new car and discovering the sticker shock of what new cars cost. They spent thousands of dollars to keep their 10+ year-old-car in good shape but it was recently totalled in a fatal car accident while driven by a friend who was house sitting while my parents were on vacation.

The car I drive every day is ten years-old and given the economy it's not unusually for families to keep their cars running longer and longer. PopularMechanics offers advice for maintaining old cars:
  1. Love Thy Cooling System:
    one sure way to kill a car is overheat the engine and run it without coolant. Hoses get old and need to be replaced  - check your service manual. My car just passed the 100K mile mark and got new hoses and a new water pump
  2. Brake Time:
    "Flush (completely replace) the brake fluid every two years. [...] check on the smaller pieces while you're in there. If your car is more than seven years old, replace the rubber brake lines when major brake work is required. If the rotors or brake drums must be removed, check the wheel bearings.
  3. Black Gold:
    Your oil should be a "not-too-dark amber fluid. If the fluid that flows from your crankcase is jet black and contains bits of silvery flakes, you've got problems."
  4. Don't Do Everything Yourself:
    "Periodically have an independent repair shop check critical steering and suspension components"

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