Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!
Tom asks: I have a 2007 Buick LaCrosse CX that I bought used two years ago. It’s a good-looking car with about 75,000 miles and runs great. I want to keep it for another 20 years (the rest of my life; and assuming cars will still be legal to own and drive) because of all the nonsense the government is engineering into new cars (see Eric’s past columns on this). My car has the advances that make it really good. What parts should I stockpile to keep it running that long? Headlights would be one, but I suspect there’s a long list of things good to have.
My reply: Rather than stockpile parts, I’d do all I could to make it last. With only 75,000 miles on the clock, your LaCrosse should have at least another 100,000 miles of reliable service left. To extend its life, I would adhere to the “severe/heavy duty” service schedule for things like fluid and filter changes and try to keep it in a garage when not in use. Obviously, drive it gently – especially at first. Give it a ten minutes after initial start-up in the morning before you give it more than half pedal. Try to avoid hard cornering and abrupt stopping.
Keep the exterior clean – and waxed – to maintain not just the appearance but also to retard the formation of rust. If you live in an area where road salt is used in winter, try to wash the car as soon as possible, including the underside. Car washes are great for this when it’s cold out.
And – most of all – maintain situational awareness. In order to avoid being hit by someone who doesn’t maintain it – and causes enough damage to your car such that the insurance company totals it and leaves you with a puny check that won’t cover the cost to get an equivalent replacement.
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