If you want your car to last as long as possible – if you want it to deteriorate as slowly as possible – there is one “secret” that will make it so.
Keep it garaged.
Keep it out of the weather.
This latter is as least as important as the former. In part, because so much of your car – of it’s a newer car – is made of plastic – and all cars have lots of rubber parts and both of these wear out faster when they are subjected to regular cycling between very hot – when the car is in use – and then very cold, when it is left sitting outside all night in the winter. Plastic and rubber become brittle, sooner. When they do, they tend to shrink and crack.
Many people do not know it but it’s not just trim – and headlight assemblies – that are lately made out of plastic. Engine parts – such as intake manifolds – are commonly made of plastic, too. And that plastic isn’t inexpensive.
Things made out of rubber – such as hoses (and tires) also wear out faster when left outside like a stray cat. Tires are expensive. Prematurely aged – and prone to burst – hoses are a hassle.
And if you have or are thinking of buying an electric car, you might want to think about the effect – on the battery – of leaving it outside in the cold.
Batteries lose capacity in the cold – all batteries. It is why it is harder to start a non-electric car on a very cold day (that plus the cold’s effect on the oil, which thickens when it gets very cold, increasing the effort required to spin the engine to get it running). But electric car batteries lose range in the cold, too – as well as the heat of summer – because their temperature must be maintained within a certain fixed range, to prevent them from “bricking” or being rendered incapable of receiving a charge.
This takes electricity – which taken from the battery, to maintain itself. Which means you’ll have less charge (and so, range) assuming you’re not plugged in.
It’s a long way from the curb to an outlet, too.
This is something mot advertised – for reasons that ought to be obvious – yet it is something you should be aware of.
If you haven’t got a garage.
Being outside also accelerates rust. Especially the rusting out of steel brake and fuel lines, power steering fittings and all the fasteners under the hood and underneath your car, such as the ones securing shocks/struts and brake calipers and so on – which may prove impossible to remove when you need to or will snap off when you try to.
People don’t think much about fuel and brake line rust – but they should.
A car can be mechanically sound in its essentials – its engine and transmission, etc. – but a serial repair hassle when its brake/fuel lines rot away. It is a huge pain-in-the-you-know-where to replace these lines, which are bent to fit, with curves and angles that are hard for the non-expert to replicate and hard to install, regardless.
Most car companies do not use stainless steel lines, either. Which leaves rust-vulnerable steel to rust sooner, when left outdoors – where condensation forms faster, where humidity is more of a factor and sometimes, it just rains – for hours and days.
Speaking of condensation.
When you leave a car outside, in the weather, the extremes of temperature enhance the tendency of water to accumulate within the fuel system (an issue made worse by the presence of alcohol in almost all “gas”) which helps to rust the lines from inside. The good news is that most modern cars have plastic fuel tanks.
But then, they are plastic….
If you park indoors, condensation will be less of an issue. It will also keep your car dry – and allow it to dry off.
And it will keep it out of the sun.
Heat – and UV radiation – are murder on cars. Imagine just sitting outside – out of the shade – on a really hot, really bright day. All day. What would that do to your “finish”? Imagine what it does to your car’s.
Modern clear-coat finishes are super tough and have been a boon, in terms of protecting the underlying color coat from the effects of bird poop, bug juice and tree sap. But the catch is that the translucent clear-coat layer that gives all modern car finishes their shine is very thin. And once it’s gone, so is the shine.
In the past, when cars were painted without clear coat topcoats, you could buff out a dulled finish. The only way to return the shine to a damaged clearcoated finish is to repaint the car. If you’ve priced the cost of doing that lately, it will give you a sense of the value of parking indoors.
Even if it means building a new garage.
. . .
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