People who own cars for longer terms, say over 7-10 years need to brace for slightly higher maintenance costs as the cars age. Ideally a car will perform without any major issues until about five years or 100,000 km of its life, after which it will need some attention.
CarToq takes you through some of the maintenance checks you need to carry out on cars that are slightly older, over 8-10 years old, to keep them aging gracefully and performing as reliably as you want it to.
As long as you have been maintaining the car well, following its periodic service schedule, you shouldn’t have too many issues with it – as regular change items such as oils, filters and battery would have been taken care of. But as it ages here are some things you need to check. Also read: New car or used car?
As a car ages, one of the first few things that begin to go bad are rubber parts. Over the years, rubber tends to become brittle and can crack. At 100,000 km it is a good idea to inspect all the rubber parts of the car, such as the radiator hoses, turbo or intercooler hoses and vacuum tubes. If possible replace all these hoses, even if they show only mild signs of fraying or aging, as it will give you confidence in your car for long trips.
Another common part that goes bad in cars that are older is the suspension bushes, which are again rubber parts. If the car is not regularly used, the bushes tend to get hard which will result in poor ride quality and suspension noises. At every 50,000 km it is best to check all the suspension bushes and get them replaced if possible.
The wiring harness of the car is a crucial part which begins to play up with age. Early signs of an aging harness will include bulb holders that develop lose contacts, stereo systems that function intermittently and/or fuses beginning to blow often. The wiring harness can be visually inspected in and around the engine bay – and that’s usually where most troublesome parts are. The wiring under the car’s dashboard usually lasts longer. However, if you suspect that a wiring harness is going bad, it may be worth spending a fair bit of money to change it entirely.
Over the years fuel tanks can get corroded. One will need to get the fuel tank removed from the car, inspected and cleaned after the vehicle has done a fair amount of mileage (about 150,000 km) or is reaching about 8-10 years of age. This is more so if you live in the coastal region where rusting and corrosion are an issue.
The headlamps and the tail-lamps of the car will begin to fade with age. The reflector and lens in the headlight won’t be as effective as that of a new car. It is better to change the headlight and tail-lights when you notice yellowing or opacity developing on the lenses and reflectors.
If you have maintained the car well, you shouldn’t really have issues with body panels. However, open the door pads and check inside the doors and under the floor carpet for rusting. If you find rust, it is better to scrape, sand and re-paint affected panels. Also read: How to buy a second-hand SUV
The best thing you can do for your old car is to follow a rigorous and regular maintenance schedule, changing oils, filters, plugs and tyres as needed. Share any more maintenance checks you have for older cars with the CarToq community.