How To Keep A Used Old Car Running And Looking Good?

I’m 16, getting my license in a couple months, and in probably either getting a Ford Mustang or Ranger. I want to keep it in good condition and running good so when I resell it I can get a good amount for it. Plus I just like to know that I’m riding around in a good-running car.
I know you have to keep things checked, like oil and the water in it, but what else? I’ll do whatever it takes to keep it running for a good 3 years or more, until I graduate HS and join the Marines. Also customizations may be in place, but not too flashy. So what should I keep in check and how much would it be to keep a used vehicle running for a long time? Thanks

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2 Responses to “How To Keep A Used Old Car Running And Looking Good?”

  1. Judy says:

    There are alot of good answers in this thread. It comes down to a few points:
    Maintenance:
    1. Change your oil everything 3000 +/- miles. Don’t worry about expensive synthetics (unless you want to go longer intervals.) For most cars the added cost doesn’t justify any negligible power gains that may come from a full synthetic.
    2. Change your air filter. Just check on it every 15-20k miles and make sure it looks clean. A K&N is a wise investment because you can clean and reuse them. Buy one only for this reason. Any power gains will be negligible from a Seat Of The Pants standpoint. Be careful not to oil them up too much as this oil may cause your Mass Airflow Sensor to throw a code or under perform.
    3. Rotate your tires. Not only does this help them wear evenly, but it often allows your mechanic to spot problems early (worn struts, brake issues, etc.) Many oil change/tire change places offer free or discounted tire rotations to regular customers.
    4. Deal with problems as they come up. Prolonging repairs usually leads to more expenses and collateral damage. If you plan on keeping the car, put the money into it when it needs it. It’s really that simple.
    Efficiency:
    1. Keep your tires inflated to proper factory specs. This will ensure that you’re getting proper gas mileage. Your tires will also wear properly.
    2. Don’t accelerate too hard from lights. It is the easiest way to waste gas. Also, learn a little bit about the physics of momentum and inertia. You don’t need to be a physicist to do this, just feel the car out. I’m appalled at the people who stand on their brakes up a hill and then accelerate downhill. If you know the lay of the land, use it to your advantage. Truckers will often move to the left lanes of highways so that they can accelerate briskly downhill, only to shift over to the right lanes as their momentum dies as they climb the hill on the other side. Whenever safe and possible, use momentum to help you climb hills and save gas.
    Also, consider inertia. Your car will want to continue straight into turns. Properly anticipating this will allow you to brake in advance and then accelerate THROUGH the turn. Most people accelerate INTO the turn, stand on their brakes, and then have to accelerate OUT OF the turn. This is inefficient, unsafe, and harsh on your brakes, suspension, tires, and wallet.
    If you’ve got a manual transmission, downshift to shave speed. There are the people who say “brakes are cheaper than clutches.” These people don’t understand cars. As long as you’re downshifting at the proper speed for that particular gear, your clutch and transmission will be fine. You’ll replace brakes 3x over if you rely solely on your brakes to bring you to a halt. As auto transmissions get more and more sophisticated they’re getting better and better at learning when to downshift.
    Finally, don’t get suckered into buying fuel additives, octane boosters, Tornados, etc. None of that stuff works. If you need high octane, buy race gas. If you want efficiency, follow the tried and true steps. I’ve seen the “Tornado” actually cost hp on a dyno, and offer no efficiency gains to boot. People can say “Well I have it and I think it works.” Blah blah blah. I’ve see the data and on more than one occasion I’ve seen power losses with these devices. At best it will be a wash and you’ll be out $xx.xx. The dyno never lies.
    Good luck and thanks for making a point to drive the best you can!

  2. Steve says:

    they have a wide range of nice-looking accessories and quality performance parts:

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