Improve Older, High Mileage Vehicles With These Preventative Maintenance Tips

A simple guide on how to get through the teenage years of your vehicle

By Ford McAlexander, Sales Programs Manager, Lucas Oil Products, INC.

It may be surprising to hear after the many new car commercials and advertisements we see everyday, but in truth, vehicles are growing older. With that being said, it is probably time for everyone to have a heart-to- heart with their vehicle to ensure it receives the best protections available to them. I may joke about talking to a vehicle regarding its well-being, but this is important not only for reliability and performance, but for the owner’s wallet as well.

According to multiple sources and the Bureau of Transportation studies, the average vehicle in operation on the road today is at least 11 years old! That’s almost a teenager! As one can expect from teenagers, they eat through a lot of the products as they grow. This will bring about growing pains, and I’m not talking about joint pain, I’m talking about seals becoming loose, poor combustion due to carbon buildup, and transmission slipping due to wear. That’s where responsible owners can see real benefits from using proper lubrication and performance additives.

In regards to seal issues, particularly in the crankcase, age, and repeated use do cause seals to weaken. Even with the best synthetic motor oils available today (and right now is truly the best motor oils have ever been), seals do leak and crankcases will lose oil. This is a great time for an owner to look into oil additives. All motor oil manufacturers need to meet API standards to ensure confidence, but oil additives can be that extra helping that teenage vehicles want, making them feel young again. There are many oil additives to choose from and they all provide benefits that plain motor oils can’t provide. As an added bonus, the oil additives do all the work for you as most of them simply involve adding the additive during your normal oil change or in situations where you are experiencing increased consumption in your crankcase.

“All motor oil manufacturers need to meet API standards to ensure confidence, but oil additives can be that extra helping that teenage vehicles want, making them feel young again.” —Ford McAlexander, sales programs manager, Lucas Oil Products

Combustion chambers within your adolescent vehicles are even more important to take care of with proper fuel additives and fuel treatments. Over the years, gasoline and diesel fuels have changed in effort to help the environment, but this has also created issues for a vehicle’s long-term well-being. When you add fuel additives and treatments to a car’s fuel tank, you can provide the missing additives that will improve fuel economy, acceleration, and performance. Conveniently, most premium fuel treatments are designed to fit both capless and traditional style fuel tank receivers for easy application. In addition, with some of the mild detergents in fuel additives, you can remove some of the unwanted carbon buildup and turn back the hands of time for the vehicle’s performance.

Finally, let’s talk about a teenage vehicle not knowing what gear you want it to be in so it “slips” into its inconvenient bad behavior. This is another usage based problem that comes up when vehicles get older. Fortunately, there are a variety of transmission additives that can help fix these slipping issues and ensure your transmissions hit the gear you want it to when you need it. The various transmission additives on the market can be used as easy as adding it to the current transmission fluid without draining or replacing the reservoir. As an example, the additives can solve the common problem where you press the gas pedal trying to get in front of a big rig on the interstate and the car hesitates trying to find the right gear.

Now, I’m not saying all performance chemicals are created equal, or that they will solve every vehicle’s problems. I’m simply suggesting that there are many lower cost opportunities for you as an owner to maximize the functionality and life of vehicles well into the future. The benefits an owner of these “matured” vehicles will be realized through increased miles per gallon and minimization of maintenance costs or shop related down-time when true maintenance is required. The average price of a new vehicle has continued to increase, which is part of the reason why older vehicles are so appealing to keep and maintain today. With that sort of time investment, it only makes sense to provide the right lubrication products to older vehicles that will hopefully see it graduate with a diploma of amazing service to an owner.

Ford McAlexander, sales programs manager at Lucas Oil Products. Lucas Oil was founded in 1989 with the simple philosophy of producing only the best line of lubricants and additives available anywhere. Lucas Oil offers a premium line of motor oils, greases, fuel treatments, industrial lubricants, and problem solving additives to help firmly establish Lucas Oil as a prominent figure in the marketplace. Visit lucasoil.com for more information.