Cars do age and wear down. It is as inevitable as the aging on our faces and the lifespan of a computer. Nothing mechanical will endure forever, even with vigilant maintenance. Ok, maybe some things will. The average car has a set lifespan, just as most things do.
Individual components in a car may wear out at different rates, and often, it is not indicative that the entire car needs to be replaced. For example tires, windshield wipers, brakes, axles and even headlights tend to need to be replaced every so often. Whereas something more crucial to the mechanical soundness of a car, the engine or transmission, will probably have a longer lifespan.
Your car service in Fort Collins, as well as any car owner, needs to expect this when you purchase a car: things will get broken or damaged, and items within the car will need replacing. One way to stay on top of these kind of inevitable system degradation is with regular maintenance.
It is amazing how long you can extend the life of any vehicle just by following your users guide, manufacturer recommendations, and auto technicians advice. This involves things like:
- Tire inflation and rotation
- Your car battery and it’s cables
- Air filter changes
- headlight, turn signals, and brake lamps
- Spark plugs and cables
- Engine timing belt
- Windshield wipers
- Regularly replace brakes and brake pads as they begin to degenerate
- Keep all car fluids filled to recommended levels
- Engine oil level and cleanliness, be sure and get regular oil changes
- Antifreeze/coolant level brake and power steering fluid levels
- Belts: if they are cracked or brittle, get them replaced
Every item on this list is easy to address, and should be looked at on a regular schedule. When you bring your car to your Fort Collins automotive shop, they will address all of these maintenance issues. None of these things are a signal that your car is on a mechanical decline, and should be replaced. They are all things that every car needs regular care of.
The time to evaluate when a car may simply not be worth repairing anymore is better evaluated by factors apart from regular maintenance.
What your car is worth?
Before making the decision to go ahead and undergo major mechanical repairs on your old car, find out the actual value of your car. Use sites like Kelley Blue Book, or even ask your Fort Collins auto repair shop. Your auto technician will be a good source of advice in this area. If your car is worth $4000 dollars once repaired, but the repairs will cost $2000, you are right at what is called the “50-percent rule.” When repairs cost 50 percent of what your car is worth, it’s advised to forgo the repair and just replace them. When repair will end up costing more than the car is worth, just trade it in.
Auto accidents and car age
If your vehicle was in an accident, your insurance adjuster will employ this method in evaluating if the insurance company should pay for your auto technician to repair the car, or just offer you a settlement based on the value of the vehicle before the accident. Chances are, if they offer you a settlement, its a good idea to take it. You can always discuss your options in this area with your car service in Fort Collins to come to the best decision. Bear in mind that the more damage a car has experienced, the more likely it will need future repair as a result. Additionally, older cars near the end of their life cycle will go into decline. This means major mechanical systems are nearing the end of their functionality. Once one of them goes into failure, others are usually not very far behind.
Is your car reliable? Damaged or older cars are more prone to break down. And, when cars do break down, its usually not in your driveway. Does your auto technician feel that the car is safe to drive? Do you feel confident it will get you where you need to go without breaking down? Older cars also do not have the benefit of required safety standards that newer cars do. These safety standards include:
- Advanced airbags and side airbags
- Better handling and brakes
- Electronic stability control, this is mandated by the federal government
Safety options in newer cars include items like:
- Rear view cameras.
- blind spot monitoring and lane departure warning systems
- automatic parking
Another thing to consider, is your car a gas hog? The older it gets, the less fuel efficient it will be. As it nears the end of its lifespan, it will continue to go downhill or require increasingly more expensive repairs. Possibly a new engine, transmission, or both.
Whatever your concerns, your ally in making the determination to repair or replace is your Fort Collins Auto repair shop. They can advise if you if you have any doubts or concerns regarding fixing the car, or if just moving on to a newer vehicle is in your best interest.