10 Ways Car Owners Can Extend the Life of a Vehicle

10 Ways Car Owners Can Extend the Life of a Vehicle

Whether you drive an old Buick or a new Camry, you want to keep your ride going as long as possible, but it’s easier said than done. While in the middle of life’s daily hustle, you might be letting proper car care slide. Over the years, that will add extra wear and ultimately shorten the life of the vehicle.

Getting the most out of your car is easier than you might think. Once the warranty runs out or your service package expires, simple maintenance procedures (at small investments) are the key to avoiding expensive vehicle repairs. Reader’s Digest was good enough to point out a robust 74 tips to keep your car humming longer. That’s one tall, if instructive, order. Here are 10 tips for a more manageable assignment when trying to extend the life of your vehicle.

1. Rotate your tires

You ought to have your car’s tires rotated when it goes in for servicing, but if you are off the warranty, you are on your own. Goodyear recommends having the job done every 3,000 to 6,000 miles. Check your owner’s manual for the figure the manufacturer suggests for your vehicle, but once every six months is a good standard to follow. Some tire companies offer free rotations every 6,000 miles for the life of the tires when you buy their products.

2. Run your air conditioner in winter

With the temperature below freezing, the idea of running your car’s air conditioner in the winter might sound terrifying, but it helps your keep your cooling system working for the next time you actually need it (i.e., next summer). Otherwise, the moving parts can seize up and cause malfunctions come summertime. Pick a day when the weather is manageable, and you are fully bundled up to get the AC going.

3. Engine cleaning

Washing your car’s exterior is taken for granted, but opening the hood and washing the engine every few years is a way to prolong the life of the vehicle. Removing the sludge that accumulates on an engine’s exterior helps keep the parts from overheating, which will allow you to stay away from the mechanic. Electrical parts and the air intake should be protected when you perform this task, so ask for advice at the auto parts store before you get into engine cleaning.

4. How to protect a car in storage

If you aren’t going to use your car for several weeks, there are steps you should take to protect its operation. Reader’s Digest suggests filling up the gas tank to avoid condensation and adding a fuel stabilizer to keep parts in working order while it sits idle. In addition, removing the battery from your car will protect it from damage and potential drain. Finally, wash and wax your car so the exterior remains protected in your absence. It will be much better off when you return.

5. Antifreeze maintenance

Over the years, coolant-antifreeze breaks down and becomes susceptible to contamination, which will shorten the life of your vehicle. Follow your owner’s manual to get old antifreeze out of your car’s cooling system. Three years will be the breaking point for most antifreeze products, but it could happen sooner with cheap products. This bit of maintenance protects your radiator, keeps your heater from failing, and helps keep the car’s thermostat in working order.

6. Wash your car in winter

Washing your car in winter can feel like Lucille Ball in her skit at the chocolate factory. As soon as you have it clean, some car comes splashing through a frozen slush puddle and ruins it. That evening, a snowfall might hit and ensure your car looks hideous for the coming weeks.

Rather than a cosmetic solution, washing in winter is about protecting your car from rust and corrosion. The salt and dirt from the road presents a big danger to your car’s undercarriage during the winter months. Routine washings will help you minimize this threat.

7. Transmission maintenance

Cars need fluid replaced in the automatic transmission every few years or 25,000 miles, depending on your make and model. Vehicles you use to tow need the fluid replaced more frequently. If you drive stick, manual transmissions need lubricant changes every 50,000 miles. Synthetic motor oil is the most recommended option for maintaining your vehicle longer, but your owner’s manual will have details for the particular model.

8. Filter changes

Everyone knows the filters in HVAC systems and cars need changing on a regular schedule, but life often stops you from getting it done. Clogged fuel and oil filters make automobile engines work harder to perform standard functions, so keep an eye out for issues and observe the recommended maintenance in your owner’s manual. Air filters and transmission filters also need changing on a regular basis. Even when your might not see obviously clogged filters, this bit of preventive maintenance is one of the easiest things for an owner to do to prolong the life of your car.

9. Protect vehicles from the sun

Sunlight will eat away paint and leave your car vulnerable to rust. If you can’t keep it in a garage, at least try to keep it out of the sun. Reader’s Digest suggests getting a car cover to give your car protection against moisture, bird droppings, and other debris. Covers also give you a line of defense against random damage that can occur to a car sitting on a residential street or in a parking lot.

10. Change oil more often than recommended

What do you get by avoiding frequent oil changes? Other than saving a few dollars, there is little advantage for car owners who wait the maximum time (or longer) to replace motor oil. A higher frequency of oil changes keeps corrosive materials out of the engine and helps you keep your car on the road longer. Drivers who are often caught in city traffic should especially follow this advice. As with fuel economy, city driving can put a hurt on your automobile’s engine. Oil changes help minimize the long-term impact.


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5 Reasons to Stay Away from Damaging Car Washes

It’s not safe for your vehicle

Have you heard the horror stories of someone having their 2015 Volkswagen Touareg scratched after going through a gas station car wash? Those stories are out there and here’s why; car regulation.  A major example of this is rusty cars. When a rusty car goes through a car wash, the rust flakes off then attaches to the cloth wraps, which clean the car more aggressively than foam wraps and are used at most gas station washes. Then you go through with your new car hoping to get a fast, cheap wash and those cloth wraps, with small rust particles stuck to them, scratch your car. Drive & Shine uses foam wraps and regulates the vehicles that enter the tunnel and turns away vehicles that have excessive rust so your car is safe from scratches.

It’s not safe for the environment

Washing your car at home can be causing unnecessary pollution. Between 100-120 gallons of fresh water is used to wash your vehicle and the runoff can contain grease, gasoline, oil, exhaust residue, bits of rubber, and road tar from your car. This material eventually flows into rivers and is very unsafe for wildlife that lives in and drinks the water. Turning to a short tunnel car wash to do the job not only harms the environment, it also harms your car! Some washes use Hydrofluoric acid because it is cheaper and removes road grime in a short amount of time but destroys rubber seals, damages paint, etches windshields and is terrible for the environment. Drive & Shine is a member of the Water Savers Program and only uses about 30 to 50 gallons of water per car which then is recycled.  There is also a longer tunnel giving the biodegradable soap more time to sit on the vehicle making it shinier while also being eco friendly.

It saves you money

Having a dirty car can become expensive. Let’s say you wash your car around 5 times a month and pay $8 every time. That’s $40 a month just on car washes! Now let’s say you pay the cost of 3 $8 car washes but wash your car as often as you want? That’s a pretty good deal, right? Drive & Shine actually offers this! It’s a VIP Unlimited Wash program where instead of constantly paying for car wash after car wash, you only pay $25 a month for about 7x more washes. Even if you don’t wash your car THAT frequently you can still save your money on car washes with the buy 5 washes get one free coupon book which never expires. EVER. See, you can still get the most for your money, even with a dirty car.

It saves you time

Washing all the rims, tires, and getting the bugs and bird poo off isn’t the most exciting way to spend your day off and could take hours. Scrubbing all the marker off your vinyl from those darn kids along with washing the food stains of out the carpets could be a whole day process which you COULD be spending by the pool or beach. Luckily there is Drive & Shine to take the burden of a messy, dirty car off your hands and put it in the hands of speedy professionals. You can get the full exterior of your car cleaned while a 2 week wax is applied and turn 3 hours into 3 minutes. As for the inside, the only thing you need to worry about is saying bye bye to those stains on your seats. Not only do you not have to get your hands dirty, but you don’t have to spend your whole day cleaning and more time enjoying the summer! 

Is it a name you can trust

Cars are not cheap and putting that big of an investment in the hands of just anyone can be nerve racking. You can be confident in bringing your vehicle to the #1 trusted car wash in Michiana. Drive & Shine wasn’t rated #1 in Michiana for 17 years in a row for nothing!  Pride and ownership is taken in every vehicle received and no job is finished until you are happy. Clean, shiny, dry and most importantly safe!

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Protect the Environment; Use a Car Wash

Surveys suggest that more than half of Americans wash their cars at home at least once a month. The result is unnecessary pollution. The soapy, dirty water flows down driveways, into streets and into storm water sewers that lead directly to creeks, streams and rivers.

Using a carwash is a more environmentally friendly way of caring for your vehicle, many experts say.

The run-off from washing your car at home contains grease, gasoline, oil, exhaust residue, bits of rubber, and road tar. Oil products that flow unfiltered into streams and lakes can harm fish and wildlife that drink the water.

Even the detergent you use might be harmful, especially if it contains phosphates. Phosphates, a chemical that also is used in fertilizer, affects rivers and lakes because it encourages the growth of algae, a process that robs the water of oxygen needed by other wildlife.

Detergents can poison all types of aquatic life if they are present in sufficient quantities, and this includes the biodegradable detergents, according to Lenntech, a Dutch water treatment solutions company. All detergents destroy the external mucus layers that protect fish from bacteria and parasites. Detergents can also damage gills.

 In addition to polluting the environment, home car washing is wasteful and uses more clean water than necessary, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

 Somebody who washes a car at home uses an average of 116 gallons of water to wash a car. Most commercial car washes use 60 percent less water for the entire process than a homeowner uses just to rinse the car.

 If you must wash your car at home, the EPA recommends:

·         Use biodegradable, phosphate-free, water-based cleaners

·         Use a spray gun with flow restriction to minimize water use.

·         Wash in an area that absorbs water, such as grass or gravel.

·         Always empty wash buckets into sinks or toilets.

“The best way to minimize the effect washing your car has on the environment is to use a commercial car wash. Most (carwash) locations reuse wash water several times before sending it to a treatment plant,” an article on the EPA website says.

The International Carwash Association (ICA) encourages its members to participate in its WaterSavers program, which requires that a carwash discharge all of its used water to local water treatment or to a permitted leech or septic field. The certification also requires regular maintenance of equipment.

Haji Tehrani, president and CEO of Drive & Shine car care centers, is a on the board of directors of the ICA. He said he has been encouraging even higher standards, including the use of biodegradable soaps.

 Tehrani would like the use of hydrofluoric acid (HF) banned from carwashes. Although the chemical is poisonous, a diluted solution is used in many carwashes because it is cheap and effective at removing road grime. He says that HF destroys rubber seals, damages paint, etches windshields and is terrible for the environment.  Tehrani refuses to use it in his carwashes.  

Instead, Drive & Shine operations have 200-foot tunnels that negate the need for such nasty acids. The longer tunnels allow his carwashes to use safe soaps, Tehrani says.

“We use biodegradable soap,” Tehrani said. “Most carwashes with short tunnels use hydrofluoric acid for cleaning.”

The longer tunnels provide more time for soap to be effective. The effect is similar to taking extra time to wash your hands. The longer you scrub, the soapier your hands get while the soap becomes more effective.

Even with such long tunnels, Drive & Shine uses just 30 to 50 gallons of fresh water for each car.

Several of the Drive & Shine locations recycle the used water. They also have baffled filtration systems to remove sediment from the water. The sediment removal eases the strain on sewage treatment systems and allows for either disposal or use of the sediment in other products.

Taking care of the environment is part of being a good citizen and neighbor, Tehrani said. “We live in the communities we serve. We’d better be nice to their environment. We need to be good citizens to our current and future generations.”

This article was originally published in the Elkhart Truth on June 5th.

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Professional Car Washes and Lube Centers Better for the Environment

Cars are an indispensable fact of life for most of us. What we do with the used water, oil, and detergents makes a huge difference in balancing clean and convenient transportation with a clean and healthy environment today and for future generations.

Car Washing

You will waste less water and cause less pollution if you take your car to a professional car wash rather than wash it at home.

From a study released by the International Carwash Association®:

  • Washing your car at home in the driveway with a garden hose uses about 7 gallons of fresh water every minute. In as little as 15 minutes, washing with a hose can use nearly 100 gallons of water.
  • Carwashes enrolled in the WaterSavers program (like Drive and Shine) meet stringent environmental standards for water use and treatment. WaterSavers car washes use a maximum of 40 gallons of water per car in conveyor.
  • “It’s important to note,” says Eric Wulf, CEO of the Chicago-based International Carwash Association, “that washing vehicles on paved surfaces sends runoff containing soap and other harmful chemicals into storm sewers that empty into our streams, rivers and lakesIn contrast, professional car washes collect, treat and recycle waste water, discharging any remaining water into the local water treatment system, where it is processed before being released into waterways.”
  • Research shows that runoff from driveway or pavement washing can harm wildlife. A Washington state environmental firm collected actual runoff from a car wash fundraiser held in a parking lot. Rainbow trout were exposed to the runoff, and all the fish died within 24 hours. A second test, of water that contained the same concentration of detergent a car owner might use to wash a vehicle at home, produced similar results.

Drive and Shine is a proud member of the International Carwash Association's WaterSavers® Program.

Oil Change

You can make a difference by making sure the Lube Center you visit recycles used engine oil and filters.


Did you know used oil can be re-refined into base stock for lubricating oil?


If you recycle just two gallons of used oil it can generate enough electricity to run the average household for almost 24 hours.


We are all familiar with recycling newspapers, aluminum cans, glass and plastic bottles, but you may not be aware of the efforts of the petroleum industry and other groups to promote used motor oil recycling: providing convenient collection sites for the purpose of keeping used motor oil out of our waterways and ground water supplies and getting used oil into the recycling system.


Motor oil has value even after it has been drained from an engine. The oil you take to a collection center to be recycled saves energy. It can be reprocessed and used in furnaces for heat or in power plants to generate electricity for homes, schools, and businesses. It can also be sent to a refinery that specializes in processing used oil and re-refined into lubricating base oils that can be used to formulate engine oils meeting API specifications.


Recycling motor oil helps prevent pollution and conserve energy for a safer and healthier tomorrow.


At Drive and Shine, we recycle 100% of used engine oil and oil filters.  We are also a drop off location for used motor oil.


Drive & Shine Car Wash, Oil Change and Auto Detailing website- we are a one stop shop for all your routine car care needs. Our Elkhart, Mishawaka, South Bend and Schererville Indiana facilities combine Express Carwashes, Full Service Carwashes, Detailing Services, and Quick Lube/Oil Services all under one roof. We are known for being the most premium customer and employee focused car care centers in the communities we serve.

Our customers have voted us #1 in what we do for as long as we have been in business- an accomplishment we are very proud of and work very hard at retaining every day.

If you are a current customer, we thank you for your business. If you have not tried our services, we invite you to try us- we promise not to disappoint you.

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