How to Make Your Car Last Longer

Cars tend to last a varying number of years and miles.  Back in the day–in the 1960’s and 70’s–the odometers on most cars turned back to zero before hitting 100,000 miles. These days, six digit miles are nothing.  In 2011, the average car on the road was over 11 years old. As you may know, most insurers and government agencies estimate that the average car is driven 15,000 miles annually. At that rate, we can safely estimate that, on average, cars on American roads have more than 165,000 miles!

While a small portion of how long a car will last can be attributed to the automaker, the biggest factor is the owner. Factors like how well a vehicle is maintained, how it is driven, and weather conditions affect a vehicles longevity the most.

Never Neglect Maintenance

Regular maintenance of your vehicle is probably the biggest factor in how long it will last. Oil changes are just the tip of the iceberg. Changing your air filter and maintaining your cooling system are essential. Keeping your tires in good repair and at the right pressure is very helpful. Even if you do all of this, you cannot neglect a regular tune-up and all of the scheduled maintenance listed in your owner’s manual. Lastly, be sure to pop the hood from time to time so you can check the hoses and serpentine belt for cracks or splits.

Lighten Your Lead Foot

Cars tend to last longer when the mileage is put on them thoughtfully. Yes, highway miles tend to be less stressful on a vehicle, but only if you keep your speed in check and avoid constant lane changes. If you tend to stay in urban areas while driving, you have to avoid sudden acceleration and deceleration. This causes undue wear and tear, and it just isn’t necessary. As my father told me: ”There is no reason to go from 0-60 between stop signs.” So keep that “lead foot” in check.

Garage Your Baby

If at all possible, garage your car as often as possible. A car port is nearly as good, if you don’t have a garage. Garaged vehicles are subjected to less fluctuation in temperature, which means less wear-and-tear from parts expanding and contracting. If a vehicle is under cover, you don’t have to worry about the two things that can fall out of the sky and ruin your paint:  tree sap and bird poop. If you cannot keep your car covered, at least invest in a sun visor that can keep the interior of the car from heating up so much in summer.

Watch Your Salt

There is a reason that classic car collectors covet cars from places like the Southwest–it’s dry, and there isn’t ever salt on the roads!  Sure, road-salt makes roads safer, but it accelerates the rusting process–big time! Some experts have gone so far as to say that it will kill your car, and environmental groups decry it for damaging the environment. What can you do? Moving is obviously out of the question, so your next best option is to find an automatic car wash that uses low pH (acidic) detergent–or buy some yourself. An older-school method is, after cleaning your car, to spray a solution of water and vinegar on it.

If well maintained, there is no reason that a modern vehicle will not last at least 150,000 miles. Many can be daily drivers after 200,000 miles.

Ohio Ranks 11th in Auto Insurance Discounts: Learn to Save!

In today’s challenging economy, it is good to find ways to save money. One way to do that is to take a closer look at your auto insurance policy. Though auto insurance prices are at an all-time high, there are still plenty of good deals and discounts to be found…especially in Ohio!  According to a new report from, the Buckeye State is 11th in auto insurance discounts. 

Common Insurance Discounts in Ohio

We spend a lot of time harping on your interest rate, but the right insurance plan could save you hundreds of dollars — the key is to do your homework. Here are some common discounts to look out for:

  • Students (16% average discount)
  • Being married (14% average discount)
  • Low-mileage drivers (11% average discount)
  • Infrequent use of automobile (10% average discount)
  • Bundled home policy (9% average discount)
  • Payment type (9% average discount)
  • Residence type/occupancy (6% average discount)
  • Bundled life insurance policy (4% average discount)
  • Electronic funds transfer (4% average discount)
  • Education level (4% average discount)
  • Vehicle ownership (4% average discount)
  • Commute distance (4% average discount)
  • Days driven per week (4% average discount)

Factors You Control:  Type of Vehicle and Deductible

You may even be able to save money when buying a car. Certain makes and models typically get lower premiums. As you may have guessed, a new sports car usually comes with a higher premium than a sedan or minivan. Another area to pay attention to is your deductible. If you are willing to be out-of-pocket in the event of an accident, then your premium will likely be lower.

Insurer Loyalty

One factor which is commonly overlooked is the amount of time you have been with your insurer. Many insurance companies will reward longstanding customers in the interest of keeping that customer so be on the lookout for customer loyalty discounts and rewards. Also, be sure to keep in mind that, while some insurance companies may charge you a little more in the beginning, your premium reductions over time may make switching companies worth the price. Last but not least, be sure to check out companies that offer usage-based insurance products. If you are diligent about it, your driving habits can pay off.

When it comes to picking an insurance plan, just remember it is the little things that matter. If you spend the time to review all of your options, chances are you can find ways to save money.

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Tesla Motors–Taking Risks with Panasonic?

Electric vehicles (EVs) manufacturers have recently shown their confidence in Panasonic batteries, as Tesla Motors opted to increase the amount of batteries they order from Panasonic to power their vehicles. Tesla Motors have previously done business with Panasonic – but the drastic increase was shocking. Tesla Motors had been ordering about 200 million a year up until now with this recent drastic increase being up to 2 billion a year. The two companies plan to stay in business with each other for a while, and are looking forward to seeing the success of their union if this deal goes through.

Now, while at first it seemed Tesla Motors had placed an enormous amount of confidence in Panasonic, they also decided to keep their options open. They will keep their deals with LG and Samsung to continue supplying cell shipments, while also keeping their new contracted 2 billion cells from Panasonic.

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