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Maintaining Your Older Vehicle

Are you driving a car or truck with 75,000 miles or more on the odometer? This can be a smart move financially—if you invest the time and money to properly maintain your vehicle. Your local Mr. Tire can help, starting with these tips from our ASE-certified technicians:

Keep on Schedule

Most new car owners follow the maintenance schedule in their owner’s manual. But at 36 months or 60,000 miles—whenever the warranty expires—they begin to let things slide. That’s a big mistake. This is precisely the time to have us carefully check your vehicle for potential problems.

Taking care of your car doesn't have to be expensive. Save up to 50% on schedule maintenance at Mr. Tire.* You can even use coupons from your dealer and other auto service chains. We will beat competitor coupons. In the long run, you save money by avoiding expensive repairs.

Maintaining your car doesn't have to be difficult, either. We make it easy. Every time you visit, one of our experienced technicians gives your vehicle a courtesy maintenance inspection. We notify you of any work that needs to be done now and work that you should anticipate for future visits. We keep a computer record of your vehicle’s service schedule, maintenance, and repairs. We even send you oil change and other service reminders.

Oil Changes

We recommend regular oil changes. Follow the maintenance schedule and instructions in your owner’s manual. Or, ask the store manager at your Mr. Tire for a free service schedule print out.

As your car or truck ages, rubber seals deteriorate and piston rings wear. Combustion by-products, dirt, and other contaminants collect in the engine oil at a faster rate. Excessive engine wear and damage can result. You might want to consider a specially-formulated lubricant, such as Valvoline’s MaxLife® Motor Oil, to prevent premature aging, condition seals throughout, prevent leaks, and remove harmful dirt and deposits from your engine.

Safety First

In today’s economy, many owners hang onto their old cars because they can’t afford a new one. Eventually, the priorities become:

  • Safety
  • Preventing breakdowns
  • Avoiding major repairs

The longer you own a car, the more attuned you become to its signature sounds and even smells. Don’t hesitate to bring in your vehicle if you detect clicks, rattles, scrapes, unusual odors, blue exhaust, etc.

Take a proactive, systematic approach to safety and cost control:

Tires – Inflate your tires to the correct pressure and rotate them every other oil change for safety, even tread wear, and maximum tire life. If your $500 set of tires wears out at 30,000 miles instead of 65,000 miles, it’s like throwing away $250. Proper inflation can also improve your gas mileage by as much as 3 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Alignment – Keep your wheels in alignment to get the most out of the investment you have in your tires. When your wheels are not in perfect alignment they fight each other and the road, significantly reduce your gas mileage, and chew up your tires. Periodic alignment checks and adjustment when necessary can save you hundreds of dollars over the life of your vehicle – Save on a wheel alignment. Your car will also handle better and give you a more comfortable ride.

Brakes – Brakes are one of your vehicle’s most important safety features. A good time for a complete brake inspection is during a tire change or rotation, when the wheels are off. Replace the pads or shoes when they wear out. Resurface or replace the rotors as recommended. Rotors are the discs in “disc” brakes. Your car wheels are bolted to the rotors. When you depress the brake pedal, the calipers squeeze the brake pads against the rotors and stop the car. Uneven rotor wear reduces braking power and can cause your brakes to shudder when you press the brake pedal. The rotors can sometimes be “turned” or “cut” on a lathe to make the braking surface true again.

Belts and Hoses – Rubber deteriorates over time. A broken timing belt or burst cooling system hose can leave you stranded. Better to replace these parts before they fail.

Automotive Fluids – Coolant and automotive lubricants collect dirt, specks of metal, and other contaminants, causing parts to wear, hoses and lines to deteriorate, and radiators to clog. Check levels periodically and replace according to your service schedule. A radiator “flush and fill,” for example is cheaper than a new radiator. Transmission fluid is a lot cheaper than a new transmission.

Steering – Replacing a leaky or worn ball joint is not a repair to postpone. Ball joints are like your car’s ankle joints. They essentially connect your wheels to your steering system. Grease oozing from the rubber “boot” around the ball joint is an early sign of trouble. Terminal symptoms include squeaking, rattling, and knocking. When ball joints go, it’s like a snapped ankle. The wheel collapses and can cause extensive damage—dangerous and expensive.

Power Train – CV joints often wear out on older front-wheel and all-wheel drive cars. It’s crucial that you replace them before they fail because they connect the drive shaft to the wheel axles. CV stands for “constant velocity,” an important requirement for transferring power from the engine to the wheels.

Suspension – Shocks, struts, and springs compress and release hundreds of thousands of time before they begin to weaken. These parts are essential for road holding, cornering, and cushioning you from bumps, jolts, and vibration. Your suspension can literally prevent your car from rolling over, so it’s important to monitor their condition. Because your shocks are unprotected and so close to the road, they are vulnerable to damage. Replace them when they become bent or leak.

Request an appointment online or stop by your local Mr. Tire store. Same day appointments are available. We're also open evenings, Saturdays, Sundays and most holidays.

For even more great information, visit our Frequently Asked Questions section!