Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity-backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He also has an MBA from the University of South Florid...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP®

UPDATED: Jul 21, 2020

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Upkeep on a vehicle is a big responsibility.

Taking it in to get regularly serviced is definitely part of the job.

There are several other approaches a car owner should take to eliminate safety concerns and retain value.

Different maintenance suggestions may apply as the seasons and temperatures change.

There are several year-round duties that work to get long-lasting life out of your car and enhance its performance.

From lightening your key load to XPEL clear bra for paint protection.

Some of these tips are obvious (yet still go ignored), and others you may be hearing for the first time.

But first, let me explain each briefly.

You can read further for a more detailed explanation.

Overlooked Car Care Tips

1. Having excessive weight hanging from your keychain can cause your ignition to fail prematurely.

2. Tires are one of the most important safety components.

Without proper alignment, you can cause a 60,000 mile tire to last for as little as 25,000 miles.

3. Not changing your brake fluid can cause your brake lines to fail prematurely.

This is from excessive moisture which cause corrosion.

4. Putting a lot of sediment or dirt in your gas tank can cause your fuel pump to fail.

5. Developments in paint protection, such as clear bras, help preserve the value of your vehicle.

And less maintenance.

Below, I have a table and the cost of repair for each item.

ComponentRepair cost
Ignition switch$175 to $275
Tires$400 to $800
Brake lines$150 to $200
Fuel Pump*$150 to $650
Paint$100 to $2,000+
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*Fuel pump – this will depend if you have an access hatch or have to remove the gas tank.

Keep Your Keychain on the Lighter Side

It’s fun to collect keychains and natural to have house keys, car keys, office keys, etc.

All together to lessen the risk of losing one, but that could actually be damaging your ignition.

Keys hanging from an ignition switch in a vehicle. Illustrated above is a perfect example of excessive weight hanging from your ignition switch. This could cause the switch to fail prematurely. It is best to have no more than 2 or 3 keys hanging from your vehicle’s ignition switch.

The heaviness of excessive items hanging from the ignition coupled with the bouncing action that occurs while you’re driving can wear out the ignition switch.

The excessive weight causes the switch to wear out faster than it would if you were operating with only one or two keys.

It is a good idea to have no more than 2 or 3 keys hanging from your ignition. 

Practice Tire Safety

Of course, tires are an essential component to a running vehicle, but their maintenance is still all too often overlooked.

Uneven tread wear, under-inflation or over-inflation, overloading, overheating and unbalanced tires can all lead to hazardous driving conditions and more out-of-pocket expenses for you in the long run.

Keep the pressure in your tires up, examine them consistently for signs of wear or damage.

worn tire from an improper alignment. Illustrated above is an example of tire worn prematurely from an improper alignment. In this situation, the tires need to be replaced. The tires were replaced at 22,000 miles instead of 40,000.

Consult the owner’s manual for instructions on rotation frequency, check for appropriate balance and alignment.

Don’t surpass the maximum load range.

Avoid especially supra-hot road conditions.

And spend the money to replace tires when needed and make sure you’re purchasing suitable ones for your car and its environment.

Below I have table with typical causes of tire wear.

Plus, the approximate amount of miles you would lose off the life of the tires.

CauseReduced mileage
Lack of tire rotation5,000+
Improper Wheel Alignment10,000 to 20,000+
Worn Out Suspension Part10,000+
Improper air pressure20,000+
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Maintain All Fluids

You know your car needs its oil changed, but do you do it often enough?

You are aware that your car is vulnerable to overheating, so do you keep your coolant refreshed and at a good level?

Has your transmission fluid ever been checked?

Is your brake fluid attracting more moisture every day that you just let it sit there?

Brake line rust and corrosion under a vehicle.

Illustrated above is an example of brake line corrosion. It is normal for brake lines to eventually rust. If you don’t change your brake fluid at regular intervals, you can rust out your brake lines prematurely. Old brake fluid collects more moisture. In turn causing brakes line to rust out faster.

All of these fluids are critical for the maintenance of your vehicle.

Without regular checkups and replacement, your car parts become susceptible to corrosion, buildup and eventual failure.

Make sure you keep a regular maintenance schedule for your car that includes checking and replacing essential fluids.

Don’t Gas Up When You See a Tanker

Filling up at a gas station while a tanker is there replenishing the fuel tanks is not a good idea.

The turbulence of this action actually causes sediment to scatter in the underground tanks.

Clogged fuel pump sock from dirty fuel.

Above is an example of a dirty fuel pump sock from dirty fuel. Which decreases the performance of your vehicle. In this case, you wouldn’t have to replace the pump, but only the sock. In many vehicles you have to drop the fuel tank to get to the pump and replace the sock.

Making it easier for them to then end up in your gas tank if you choose that moment to pump your fuel.

Sediments can wreak havoc in fuel filters and injectors.

If you can, hit up another gas station or wait a couple days to return.

Get Paint Protection

The paint job on your vehicle serves as one of the first indications of its value.

As well as points out how you take care of your possessions, so you want it to be sure it leaves a good impression.

Preserving that shiny, scratch-free exterior can be one of the most difficult responsibilities a car owner has.

There are constant perils to contend with (flying rocks, bird poop, harmful UV rays, bug splatters, runaway shopping carts, etc.).

Fortunately, newer developments in paint protection films have made it much easier.

Below is a table with common ways to protect your vehicle’s paint job:

Paint protectionCostLongevity
Paint Protection Film*$50 to $800+5 to 10 years
Ceramic coating$500 to $2,000+2 to 5 years+
Synthetic sealants$40 to $100+6 to 10 months
Wax$40 to $90+3 to 6 months
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*Paint Protection Film also known as PPF or Clear Bra.

3M Clear Bras and XPEL clear bras are two such products that offer defense against these everyday threats.

These car care rules of thumb should keep your vehicle on the road for a longer amount of time.

And allow you to preserve its new car appearance and value for several extra years.

Frequently Asked Questions

What causes tires to wear faster?

The most common cause for tires to wear out faster or prematurely is an improper wheel alignment.

A worn out suspension part or improper air pressure can decrease the life of your tires too. 

How many keys should I have on my keychain?

There is no definite answer. Some experts say no more than 7 to 9 keys.

We recommend no more than 3 keys hanging from your ignition switch. 

How often should you change/flush brake fluid?

Most manufacturers recommend every 3 years or 45,000 miles. Be sure to check your owner’s manual.

What’s the best way to maintain the life of a car’s fuel pump?

The best method is to keep at least a 1/4 tank of fuel in the vehicle.

To protect your engine from fuel contaminants, replace your fuel filter every 30,000 miles.

Is it worth getting paint protection?

Paint protection is known as PPF or Clear Bra.

The best time to get paint protection is when the paint is new.

It is worth the cost, but you don’t want to overpay.

Be sure to shop around. 

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