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  • Writer's pictureCorrie Enyart

Tips to Extend the Life of Your Car in Cedar Rapids

When you purchase a car, you are committing to more than just a one-time payment. Cars are an investment and over the years, one of your many goals is to keep it in the best condition possible. You can do this by following some simple tips that will not only keep your car running smoothly around the streets of Cedar Rapids, but will extend the life of it as well.

1. Read the manual

Most of the time, a car’s manual typically goes unread until it is needed to identify an emergency light. But you can also find maintenance info for your car’s specific make and model. Information like what your car needs and how often, and it will even tell you particular things to look for in your specific car.

2. Change your oil regularly

Oil protects your engine and keeps it running smoothly. A general rule is that your oil should be changed every 3,000-5,000 miles or so. When in doubt, refer to the owner’s manual to see how often oil should be checked or changed. A helpful tip is to write down the date and your car’s mileage at the time of each oil change, so you can track how long it’s been/how many miles you drove since your last oil change. Types of oil differ by make and model, so make sure you're familiar with your unique vehicle's oil routine. Poor oil quality can effect both the life and performance of your car.

3. Routinely check and change your fluids

There are many fluids in your car aside from oil; there’s also transmission fluid, radiator fluid, brake fluid, power steering fluid, and others. These fluids should be checked at least once a month, and definitely checked with regular car maintenance. If they need to be topped off or changed, do this promptly.

4. Check your tires often

Tires are very important for not only your car, but also for your personal safety. In Iowa, we experience seasons that can fluctuate your tire pressure when the weather turns. The cold weather in Cedar Rapids will cause air to contract leading to a lower tire pressure and warmer weather will cause air to expand which increases your tire pressure. It is important to be aware of this because tires that have too much pressure can pop while you’re driving, and too low pressure can damage your vehicle as well. Tire pressure can be checked at most gas stations, with air stations available if needed. Be sure to also keep tabs on the condition of your tires and have them rotated regularly, usually about every six months.

5. Keep your car clean – inside and out

Much like your home or clothes, your car needs to regularly be cleaned. Keeping your car clean isn’t just about appearances – vehicle cleanliness plays a role in protecting the auto body’s paint job, preventing rust and more. Going through a carwash will keep the exterior protected, and getting the undercarriage cleaned before and after winter will protect it from salt build up from the roads. It’s easy for trash to accumulate in your car, so take advantage of the nice weather to empty out any trash or vacuum up any crumbs to help keep the interior materials in good condition.

6. Avoid “cold starts” if possible

We’ve all been there, we you are running late for an errand or work, you hop in your car, start it and immediately take off. That is a “cold start” and what you should try to avoid. Ideally, you should turn your car on and wait about 30 seconds before you start driving, no matter the weather. In cold temperatures, engines collect condensation that can contaminate the oil and corrode the system. Although giving your vehicle a few minutes to warm up before you hit the road may be a bit of an inconvenience, it can help condensation evaporate and avoid damage to the engine.

7. Fix windshield & window chips

Windshield and window chips may seem minor, but if not fixed, as little as one slight bump in the road while driving can quickly turn them into cracks. It is much cheaper to repair a minor chip than it is to replace a whole windshield later. Let us diagnose and repair windshield and window chips for you before they grow into larger issues.

8. Stay on top of repairs (internal & external)

If an indicator light comes on in your dashboard or you know something needs to be done. If your car needs a repair, it’s best to not neglect it to keep your vehicle in top-notch condition and avoid accidents that incur more damage.


Following these tips will help keep your car on the road, but it doesn’t mean accidents cannot still occur. Whether you were in an accident or just happened to notice a new chip on your windshield, a professional technician at a local collision repair shop like Golden Hammer Collision Center in Cedar Rapids will be able to get your vehicle’s issues fixed quickly and correctly the first time. Get a free quote from us - we'll even provide a shuttle and tow your vehicle if necessary. Find out why we're The Shop with the Golden Touch!

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