With car prices on the rise in Canada, many drivers are trying to hold on to their current vehicles for as long as they can, and some auto experts are sharing their insights on how to do so.
In July, AutoTrader revealed the average price of a new car in Canada has topped $66,000 – a roughly 21 per cent jump compared to prices in June 2022. Meanwhile, used vehicles go for nearly an average of $40,000 on the market.
Many makes and models have vastly improved over the years, and if you take good care of your vehicle, it may be able to last 300,000 kilometres or more.
In May 2022, Mark Intihar, of Claremont, Ont., shared how he managed to get his 2000 Toyota Sienna to hit the 930,000 kilometre mark. Just recently, Intihar told CTV News Toronto his van is still going strong with 950,000 kilometres on the odometer.
The van still has the original engine and transmission – something Intihar credits to frequent oil changes and following a maintenance schedule.
“If it gets to one million, we are going to keep going,” said Intihar.
Mike Quincy, a Consumer Reports automotive expert, said the best way to make a vehicle last is to follow the recommendations laid out in the owner’s manual.
“Absolutely follow whatever your user’s manual is telling you about proper maintenance,” said Quincy.
If your car is making strange noises, don’t ignore it, Quincy notes.
“When something is not correct, get it looked at right away. If you don’t, it will likely get worse and get a lot more expensive to repair.”
Even if your car is newer and under warranty, you still need to follow the maintenance guidelines, according to Alan Gelman, an automotive expert in Toronto who had his own repair shop and 45 years of automotive experience.
“If you car does blow up because you didn’t do an oil change in a year and a half and the manufacturer can prove you didn’t maintain it, you will have to eat that bill yourself,” said Gelman.
Like many things in the current economy, auto repair prices have increased dramatically, according to Gelman.
“Everybody’s expenses have gone up, replacement parts, mechanics salaries have gone up. It’s just the way it is these days,” he said.
To make a vehicle last, experts recommend driving often and not sitting idly for extended periods.
“Even if you are retired or if you don’t drive that much, try to get out there and drive the car around the block, drive it, drive it, drive it,” said Quincy.
When buying a new or used vehicle, do your research to see which ones have a reputation for reliability, as the longer you can keep your car on the road, it can save you money.
Outside of oil changes, older cars may also need transmission service, timing chain or other belts and hoses. Spending money before a breakdown could also prevent you from being stranded and keep your car running longer.