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How to make your old car last forever.

This will be a post about your ‘old’ car to make it go lots and lots of miles before it breaks. Or to make sure your new car will break the record of miles for that model. This way we can proof to you that you don’t need a freaking car payment .

My current daily driver.

Currently I drive a BMW E46 build in 2004. powered by a 2.0 liter diesel engine. It has around 165.000 Miles or 264.000 Kilometers on the dash. I’m doing my best to make it last forever, until they ban Diesel or when it costs too much in repairs. The car is currently worth around $1.000 – $2.000 or so, so driving it into the ground is the next best idea. Maintenance is not bad at the moment, I will be recording what the costs are to keep the car running.

I bought the car last year on July 2017 and driven it now for more than 1,5 year. We’ve been to Hungary and back. Next month we’ll be going to Luxembourg and back. Probably next year to Croatia and back through Italy. We will see how the car holds up and what the maintenance costs will be.

The things I changed on the car because it needed it:

  • One new coil spring because 1 was broken the moment I bought it. (So I knew this).
  • Serpentine belt, Got it changed because it was making ‘slippery’ noises, Didnt need to but I didn’t want to risk breaking it.
  • I changed the oil now 2 times in 40.000km. I plan to change it every 20.000km full synthetic.
  • Tires just got changed in December 2017. Got them at a good price, €70 each. So €280 for 4 new ones. All season, no changing tires until they are finished.
  • I’ll keep it updated how the maintenance will continue. Next year in March there will be the yearly check we have in the Netherlands: the APK. We’ll see how the car will hold up.

So what is the beamer doing on diesel consumption? It aint eating fuel as much as I thought, but I also drive as an old guy.

My average is around 1 liter on 19 KM. Factory consumption is 1 liter on 17 km, so I get a win there.

Average 44.7 Mpgs.

I probably can get it even better to 1 on 20 kms. But no highway and city driving then, only 80 – 100 km roads.

So you are going to ask when am I gonna cut to the chase and tell you how to keep your car lasting forever.

We’ll this is one of the biggest ways to keep your car in good condition. Driving it ‘easily’. Don’t go hard on it.

Especially when you cold start it and aint driving it warm. Depending on the car’s engine size, your car will at least need around 10 miles to warm up your oil. For most people in the Netherlands that will most likely be 15 to 30 minutes drive. Be sure to wait 1 minute before driving away. Once you start your car, all the oil will be inside the oil container and before it is at all the right places to smear, you need to have some patience. Don’t start the engine and directly put your pedal on the metal like all other 99% of the people complaining about oil leaking out of their car.

The oil system is the most important thing in your idea for letting the car run forever. Always let your oil get warm! Don’t drive your car for like 2 miles and stop it. It will get sloughed up and your metal bearings wont get the accurate oil smearing.

If your job aint that far away go on a bicycle or get a car with a small engine. The smaller the engine, the less time it needs to warm.

I use to drive a Volkswagen polo 1.2 liter diesel for more than 1 year. It took around 5 – 10 minutes to get warm, my 2 liter  BMW really needs 20 to 30 minutes to warm up. Depending on weather conditions. These minutes are driving minutes at around 2.000 rpms, idling for more then 5 minutes is only wasting fuel. 

Keep in mind that in the winter, once the temperature goes under 0 celsius, you will need to drive more to warm up the engine. When I drive to work in winter my car doesn’t even warm up to normal operating temperatures.

Anyway, lets talk about some key systems we have in our cars.

How about the oil system?

You can say the oil system is one of the key factors in keeping your car in mint condition. It’s the heart of your engine, pumping the blood through the engine parts.

Lubrita_HowTheLubricationSystemWorksInAnEngine

picture by Lubrita.com.

Changing your oil is an important key to keep it running well. Experts used to change it every 5.000 – 10.000 km. But with the new synthetic oil, I would suggest 10.000 to 20.000 km. Also depends on weather and driving conditions. If you always drive your engine warm and don’t drive in Siberian like weather conditions then 20.000 km will do fine. If you live in cold weather conditions and you don’t drive long to work/groceries then I suggest changing it every 10.000 km.

Do you drive even lower than that? Then I wouldn’t really focus on the kilometers/miles that you drive, but change it just every year. Oil contains ‘shitty’ chemicals that decompose in time, so the time length is very important too.

Be sure to keep a check on the oil level, it may be that your car uses oil. If your car isn’t using oil then be happy, you got yourself a great engine! Does it burn or use oil? Then be sure to keep a checklist on how much oil it uses.

Keep a journal with the date, how much miles and how much you filled the engine up. And check if you are within the responsible limits of oil use for your car.

I check my engine oil level every 2.500 kms to make sure the engine doesn’t use oil.

Oil consumption depends highly on the age and wear of the car. The older the car, the more its ‘normal’ that a car can use some oil. If you just got yourself a brand new car and it uses about the same as your old one, then the car has an issue that can take a lot of work to repair.

If your ‘old’ car burns oil, say around 1 liter in 2.500 – 4.000 km that would be normal. If your ‘new’ car burns the same kind of oil, you will be pissed of because of such a shitty ass car.

When your old car begins to use more than 1 liter in 1.000 km the car will begin to show some serious issues. If you don’t get it repaired or checked then the chance will be that you’ll get a serieus repair bill underway. My suggestion will be to check how much the repair will costs. If it’s over the value of your car then I would suggest trading it in for a different car.

My own car has around 165.000 miles on it and doesn’t use any oil whatsoever. So I’m Lucky I have a very good engine and i’m planning on keeping it that way.

What happens if you forget or save on oil changes?

We’ll the engine will clog up on oil sludge, the oil will become thicker and stick to engine parts. Meaning the smearing it suppose to do, wont happen and circulation will get harder. Lack of oil pressure and flow will appear. meaning oil circulation will stop and the parts will continue moving metal on metal. The metal will get very hot and melt itself stuck, melting the engine like the terminator did in terminator 2.

So get your oil and filter changed on time.

The filter is there to filter out the ‘shit’ from your oil, so get the filter changed too. Don’t save on it, it’s not worth the money.

How about the cooling system?

The cooling systems that cars have are : Liquid cooled engine or air cooled engine. 

We will be talking about a liquid cooled engine, because that’s what most of the engines use today.

how-the-coolant-circulates

Picture by howacarworks.com.

The cooling system is also a very important key in your car’s engine. The cooling system is responsible for keeping the engine ‘cool’ enough to prevent severe engine damage. So it’s highly important to keep the cooling system in mint condition.

Meaning that you keep your eyes open on your cooling liquid. All cars have a reservoir that you can open, it contains an indicator on how much is in the reservoir and how much is min/max. If the indicator is low, then you will need to fill it up until the indicator in around mid/max. Be sure to check your cars manual what kind of coolant is required in your car, there are different ones. my car uses a blue one.

Be sure your engine is cool enough before you open the reservoir! the water is very hot after driving and steam will blow out if you open it when it’s too hot. The best time to check it is before you start your ‘driving’ day when the engine is cold.

Also be sure the liquid is clean, no ‘bubbles’, fatty or oily look. If the liquid is dirty or bubbly. There is definitely something wrong.

Bubbling means there is false air going in the cooling system. The reason there is false air going into the coolant is that a leakage is present in the system. If the liquid is dirty then the most common reason is that an other liquid is leaking into the coolant. What is on the other side of the coolant? Well that most likely is your great black gold called oil.

Believe me you don’t want that beautiful oil into your coolant. Once you have that issue, you better of just trading in that car for a different (better) one. Because the repair will be very expensive and there is a chance that it doesn’t even fix the problem.

Other systems that are important are :

  • Cleaning system for your windows.
  • Brake system and the fluid it uses.
  • The Gas that you pump into your tank.
  • Other miscellaneous

These systems are part of the normal maintenance that you do every year or every 15.000 miles or so. You check them or let them get checked by a mechanic and then your good to go. A different part is of course the gas you put in the car.

You should find out which gas pump gives you high quality gas or diesel. This is very important. The cheap one may save you 10 cents a liter but if its dirty as fuck, it will create extra carbon build up inside the engine.

Unless you drive like a gazillion miles a day, it won’t save you that much money. So find out if there is a gas pump that has good quality: Shell, Exxon or total can most likely bring you some good quality fuel to pump into your car.

You should see it as a long term investment.

If you keep eating pizza and hamburgers your health will fail over the duration of your life. But eating healthy can give you a lot of benefits along the way.

You ain’t gonna be dumping pizza’s in your car everyday and expect it to last forever.

One of the key factors in driving a car very long is also of course, choosing a good car. The reviews I have read about my Bmw where very good. It’s also a diesel, so I’m sure the engine can achieve a lot of miles. I believe one of the best cars are Toyota Camry’s, Honda accords or Mitsubishis. You should check out everything about the car you want to drive and buy. Check out what the common issues are with that car and how much these repairs can cost. If there are little repairs that are caused by wear then you should not worry about it too much unless you are searching for a new car.

If the car has real issues, like oil dripping, engine failure, electrical failure, over heating, things that just keep failing inside the car. Then I would suggest looking at a different one.

Even if you get the best car and go to check it out. If the car runs like shit and the engine under the hood looks like shit, the owner probably sucked the life out of that car and you don’t want to be the one fixing that bullshit. I would suggest bring somebody with you that has some knowledge about car engines. so he can give you some advise on how the car has been taking care of.

If there are some hefty issues it will most probably come up in a test run. Be sure to take that before you buy!

If what you want is reliability and good gas mileage I would still suggest taking a diesel over a gasoline car.

You can say whatever you want that diesel sucks and hybrid/electric is gonna take over the world. But they havent found a car that can achieve as many miles, that is as reliable, not having to charge your batteries and not having a lot of problems as a diesel engine. Why do you think the diesel engine is considerd the ‘work’ engine. Its the engine that drives the load. That puts the power for work. Not speed. But loads and loads of heavy stuff.

Until there is a reliable replacement for that kind of utility in the world, I will never replace diesel if you drive a lot and need a ‘good’ car. But it varies in what kind of country you live in. America doesn’t have a big eye for diesels and after the Volkswagen group fucked up the entire ‘good’ idea. I don’t think it will be making a come back in the states.

Lets say you don’t drive a lot or diesel costs way to much in your country, then I can understand you will get a gasoline engine. There are certain advantages in having a gasoline engine. Small engines today have likely the same gas consumption as modern diesel engine.

But where I live it’s still a good idea to own diesel, so ill be enjoying it for a while as long as it drives good and its cheap.

Anyway,

Keep on driving your car clean and mean.

Let it run forever by driving in a slow pace, saving some money on car repairs and speeding tickets.

Until later,

Uuldriks Financial.

 

 

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