North American drivers are holding onto their cars and light trucks longer than ever, according to a 2013 study conducted by Polk, a leading automotive data and marketing intelligence firm.
Make friends Establish a continuing relationship with a local auto service provider. Once a relationship is established, the service provider is likely to remind you on a regular basis when it's time to bring the car in for its next checkup. If you jump around to different providers each time the car needs attention, you're nobody's customer and less likely to get service reminders. A vehicle that is not regularly maintained and serviced isn't likely to set any longevity records.
Drive sensibly Quick starts and sudden stops take a toll on your vehicle. If you want to keep the car in service for a lengthier period of time, treat it gently.
Check tire pressure regularly Sadly, most drivers don't pay adequate attention to tire pressure, which contributes to accelerated wear. Check tires with a tire pressure gauge - available at any automotive supply store - at least once a month and before any extended trips. Find the manufacturer's recommendation for optimal tire pressure in your vehicle's user manual, on a sticker placed on the jamb of the driver's door or in the glove compartment.
Monitor dashboard gauges Whether it's a blinking temp gauge light, check engine warning or an alert that oil pressure is low, have it checked out as soon as possible. Driving a vehicle with low oil pressure or a cooling system problem can only lead to problems.
Watch cargo strain Asking your vehicle to haul unnecessary cargo puts a strain on the engine and accelerate the aging process. If you've got things stowed in the trunk or cargo area that don't need to be there, take them out and store them in the garage or elsewhere until they're really needed.
Cosmetic care Leave your vehicle in a carport or garage if possible. Leaving your car out in the sun can cause its paint to fade and crack, and protects it from tree sap and bird droppings. Squeezing your car into a tight parking spot may save you steps on the way to the mall, but it risks dings and other damage that will detract from the vehicle's value.
About the Author: Jay Fremont is a freelance author who writes about small business, corporate strategy, social media and personal finance.