Consumerwatch: Extending vehicle lifespan
Published Monday, November 5, 2012 11:14AM CST
Last Updated Sunday, November 24, 2013 5:05PM CST
The average age of vehicles in Manitoba is between eight and 12 years old, but some experts in the city say it's possible to extend that life - with a few inexpensive tips and tricks.
The biggest one, according to Glenn Edmonds, a licensed technician at Dynamic Auto, is regular maintenance.
"New vehicles have a lot of warning systems, like a check engine light, and a lot of people will ignore that," said Edmonds.
St. Vital resident Ron Koskie said he maintains a 1995 Buick Roadmaster under that principle. It has more than 200,000 kilometres on it, but Koskie said he's dedicated to keeping it in tip-top shape by regularly getting it checked.
"People see it around the St. Vital area, and they know who's driving it and they wave because there's not that many station wagons around anymore," said Koskie.
Edmonds said there's even more that can be done, and it's as simple as reading a book.
"It's probably the least read book in the world," said Edmonds. But the trick, according to him, is reading your owner's manual.
"In that manual, it includes a maintenance schedule of what needs to be done to that care at certain mileages," said Edmonds.
Most vehicles require an oil change every 5,000 kilometres, but things like changing the transmission fluid are often overlooked. Brake pads, coolant and tires all need to be regularly checked as well and will prolong the life of a vehicle if taken care of, according to Edmonds.
Another money-saving solution is changing the car's air filter. For about $20, it could mean saving a major engine overhaul down the road.
At Koskie's latest checkup, he found his Buick needed a new air filter, a transmission fluid change and two new exhaust pipes. It all rang up to about $400.
But that cost means the car could live to a ripe old age.
"If Ron keeps up on his maintenance on the car, and we keep checking then absolutely, 300,000 km is totally achievable," said Edmonds.
Others looking for licensed mechanics can visit CAA Manitoba's list of 90 approved auto repair shops in the province.
Regular maintenance is the biggest factor for preserving the lifespan of a vehicle, say experts.