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Maintaining an older vehicle

For some of us, purchasing a newer, modern vehicle is out of the question. New vehicles can be prohibitively expensive and physically larger than we’re used to.

For some of us, we just enjoy an older vehicle, whether it’s a classic or just has a certain nostalgia attached to it.

Maintaining older cars isn’t too difficult, but it does require more effort and diligence than a car that’s less than 5 years old.

Mechanical maintenance for older cars

The key to keeping a vehicle for a long period of time is mechanical reliability. For you to have complete trust that your vehicle will get you from A to B is vital to keeping your car in your fleet.

Sticking to your manufacturers recommended service schedule is a fantastic way to keep on top of regular service items at specific intervals.

Engine oil is the lifeblood of your engine. It both cools and lubricates engine components as well as preventing metal-on-metal wear and tear. As such, it’s absolutely essential to perform regular oil changes and ensure any leaks are taken care of ASAP. If you notice liquid or staining underneath your vehicle on your driveway or garage floor, be sure to note the colour and smell of the liquid. If it’s clear and colourless water, it’s more likely condensation from your air conditioning, otherwise bring your vehicle in for an inspection at Donnellans and we can track down the culprit.

wrenches places in engine bay

High mileage engines that don’t receive regular oil changes can succumb to oil sludge build-up. This slowly chokes off internal oil passages and starves crucial bearing surfaces of oil, leading to excessive wear and potential catastrophic engine failure. Engines with sludge build-ups are typically pulled apart to be deep cleaned.

If you’re driving an older vehicle, you’re likely used to all kinds of rattles, sounds and smells.

Keeping vigilant when it comes to changes in how your vehicle drives, sounds or smells is key to fixing issues before they get worse. It can also be the difference between being a cheap and easy fix to becoming an expensive repair that leaves you wondering whether it’s time to move on and get a newer vehicle.

For a range of mechanical inspections, servicing, repairs or replacement components, bring your vehicle to Donnellans the Tyremen.

Aside from the obvious mechanical love and attention an older car needs, there are some steps you can take to look after the rest of your vehicle too.

Interior care to keep that new car feel

Inside your car, the most obvious step to keeping your vehicle in tip-top shape is to keep it clean. Dashboard plastics and interior trims can suffer damage from UV exposure, as well as spilt food and drink causing staining and discolouration of cup holders, centre consoles, floor mats and carpets.

woman wiping car interior with blue cloth

Cars get dirty, it’s just what happens when they’re used. If you’re vigilant and clean up sand, dirt, mud or food as soon as it’s spilt, you’re well on your way to having a factory fresh interior for years to come.

If the interior of your car is particularly nasty or damp, the use of an Ozone generator at a professional detailer is a great way to remove mould and other organic compounds from your vehicle’s interior, particularly areas that are hard to reach like air conditioning vents or areas susceptible to being damp.

Keeping a tight ship when it comes to the interior of your vehicle is also a safety issue. Loose objects in the cabin can become projectiles in the event of an accident.

Exterior protection for well loved vehicles

Fresh off the showroom floor, your vehicle will have had a wax coating and a proper detailing to keep the paint protected from UV damage.

Within just a few car washes, most wax coatings will wear away from the surface and leave your paint unprotected against the elements. At the very least, keeping a layer of wax or another sealant on your paint will aim to minimise UV damage, peeling clear coat or fading colours.

More technologically advanced ceramic coatings can last 2 to 5 years depending on the product but the result is the same, eventually, your paint is exposed and can suffer damage and scratches.

washing a red car with soapy water and a sponge

The same can be said for exterior rubber and plastics. Using a UV protectant will go a long way to ensuring rubber and plastics stay supple and aims to prevent plastics from becoming fragile and cracked.

Fortunately in Australia, we typically don’t need to salt our roads, even at Mount Hotham or the Snowy Mountains, but if you ever take your vehicle off the road or to visit the beach, be sure to clean under your car as best you can. Caked up mud, dirt, salt and road grime can build up a layer that traps moisture close to your vehicle, increasing the possibility of rust or corrosion that can begin to affect your vehicle as it gets older.

If you’re fortunate enough to be able to store your vehicle in a garage, or at the very least undercover, you’re well on your way to helping the exterior of your vehicle stand the test of time. Australian conditions are some of the harshest on earth when it comes to paint and finishes.

Donnellans are your tyre and mechanical experts

For all your scheduled servicing, logbook servicing, pre-emptive repairs, vehicle inspections and more, be sure that you and your vehicle are in trusted hands at Donnellans The Tyremen. With 5 locations spread across the south east Melbourne region, we have a store near you.

Contact us today!