Keepin' the ol' crate goin'!
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Cars and trucks are very expensive. Way too expensive. But as long as people keep buying new ones, they'll keep selling them for the big bucks!

I've heard that Ford and GM make about $15,000 PROFIT on EACH of their more expensive vehicles. That's how much money they make AFTER paying for all the materials, and the labor to put it all together. And the cars roll off the assembly line minutes apart, let's see, that's $15,000...$30,000...$45,000...all going in the pockets of the big-wigs and investors!

Of course if your money grows on a tree in your back yard, you probably don't care. But if you actually have to work for it, read on...

To put it simply, for $15,000, I can buy several used vehicles, and get at least 3 to 5 years use out of EACH one. That's a lot of years of use, for less than HALF the cost of ONE new vehicle!

Here's my simple tricks to get 200,000 miles or more out of your jalopy!

1. When you first start the engine, DON'T rev it! Let it idle for 15 seconds or so, longer if it is extremely cold. This is necessary to allow the oil to reach all of the moving parts. Each time you rev a cold engine, you take THOUSANDS of miles of life away from it!

2. Speaking of revving, a TACHOMETER is a useful thing to have, much more so than a power cup holder! The tachometer, or "Tach", tells how fast the engine is running, in Revolutions Per Minute, or RPM's. Running any factory-built engine in excess of 4000 RPM's for any amount of time, will seriously shorten it's life! I recommend not going over 3000 RPM's continuously, or 4000 RPM's for quick acceleration.

3. Don't run the engine without sufficient oil in it. If the "OIL" light or gauge on the dash is indicating no oil pressure, stop the engine immediately! Driving even ONE MILE will cause serious and EXPENSIVE engine damage. Just having enough oil in the engine is much more important than how often you change it. The oil change shops recommend oil changes every 3000 miles, because that's how they make their money. I change mine every 10-12,000 miles, use the cheapest oil available, and it costs about $12.00 for the oil and filter. I do believe an occasional Slick 50 oil treatment is a worthwhile investment.

4. Engine coolant (anti-freeze, water) is almost as important as the oil. Continuing to operate an overheated engine is basically driving your car to the graveyard! You may be able to drive short distances at a time, stopping the engine to let it cool down to normal temperatures in between. If the heater still blows hot air, running it on high speed can help keep the engine cooler. Of course in freezing weather, there must be enough anti-freeze in the cooling system, even if the vehicle is not in use. Water freezing will result in DEATH (expensive) of the engine, radiator, and heater!

5. I prefer a manual transmission. They are MUCH more reliable than automatics, give BETTER gas mileage, are less likely to leave you stranded, and don't cost THOUSANDS of dollars to fix! The trick is to learn how to use a clutch properly. Here's how: Your foot should ONLY be on the clutch pedal when you are starting out from a stop, or shifting gears, period. When starting out from a stop, accelerate the engine only enough to avoid snubbing it out, as you gently release the clutch pedal. This should take no more than two seconds. Then take yor foot off the pedal until it's time to shift gears. Never use the clutch to hold the vehicle from rolling backwards while stopped on a hill! That's what the brake pedal is for! Don't bother with the downshifting either, unless it's needed to get more power.  REMEMBER THIS: If your foot is NOT on the pedal, the clutch is doing NOTHING, and therefore it is NOT WEARING OUT!  It should go for at least 200,000 miles.

6. If you insist on an automatic transmission, one trick to longer life is to avoid heavy acceleration. Most wear occurs as the transmission is shifting from one gear to the next. Heavy acceleration causes the clutches inside the transmission to slip, wearing them out, and creating a lot of heat which 'burns' the fluid. And you didn't think automatics had clutches, did you? Try TWO of them for each speed the tranny has!

BOTTOM LINE: Pay CASH for a good USED car. Expect to stick a few hundred bucks in it every now and then. (Usually less than 1 car payment!) Laugh at the big shots as you drive it in excess of 200,000 miles! I PREFER TO BE NICKEL AND DIMED, OVER BEING $35,000D!  See also
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