• Tips for Cars over 10years

    Posted on: February 21st, 2014 by admin No Comments

    More than 90% of passenger vehicles on Nigerian roads are imported used vehicles with at least 5-figure odometer readings; unlike wine, cars don’t get better with age as their maintenance requirements changes as the mileage clock spins. The frequency of these necessary maintenance procedures varies depending on how and where vehicles are driven. A typical example would be comparing two similar vehicles with the same mileage but with different driving attributes, one of which plies mostly inter-city routes and the other used for movement mostly within the city.

    Vehicle manufacturers state clearly in vehicle manuals all you need to keep your car on the road and optimize the unique features of your vehicle, but in reality you need more. Asides the peculiarities of Nigerian/African road conditions, other factors come into play in determining how long your vehicle would last regardless of your odometer reading or number of years spent. With that said, what are the main considerations when mapping out a maintenance plan for your 10years+ vehicle?


    tips for cars over 10years

    1)       Mileage Analysis: this might seem gruesomely technical, but this simply procedure is about trying to find out key attributes of your 10yrs+ car. You might own a vehicle manufactured in 2009 with even 5digit mileage figures; in this case the vehicle might even be roughly 10years at heart not the actual 5years as it seems. The estimated annual mileage for intercity vehicles is pinned at 15,000km; hence you have to bear this in mind so as to know the real make up of your vehicle.

    2)      Key engine checks: this is more like a rule of thumb for old cars, as one of the main components of your car is the engine. Major checks most tend to ignore ought to be carried out on components like; timing belts/chains, engine sitting, belt tensioners, valves clearances, fuel pumps, oil pumps, radiator effectiveness, coolant/water tubing, battery leads/sitting condition, engine lower-pan, etc. On the other hand, the commonest problem that plagues cars this old is overheating which is a direct consequence of an underperforming engine sub-system. The four main causes of overheating are inefficient cooling system (bad radiators, tubing, using ordinary water as coolant and leakages), ignition problems (incorrect ignition timing, bad spark plugs, worn out electrical components), bad engine oil (neglecting oil, not checking level/state, sludge formation) and mechanical component wear (worn out piston rings, worn out pistons, weak engine blocks, warped top-cylinders, bad gaskets).

    3)      Engine oil switch: as the properties of your engine’s internal components change over time, the oil requirements also change. Old high mileage vehicle owners are mostly advised to use SAE 20w50 grade of engine oil which come with additives and properties like ; viscosity improver, detergents, dispersants, anti-wear, anti-burn-off, corrosion inhibitors and improved oxidation, all of which best suit older engines. So if you ever wondered why most local Nigerian mechanics recommend this type of oil, this explains why. Nonetheless, stick with manufacturer’s specified oil unless there are clear signs to back up the need for a switch.

    4)      Transmission box servicing: just like in the case of your engine, the gear box is equally crucial; ensure you check the level and state of gearbox oil at least once a month to avoid any unpleasant surprise.

    5)      Suspension and steering: the hidden cause of that poor steering and harshly felt under-steer may be as a result of your weak springs or strut assembly for the front tyres. You need to pay attention to key components like ball-joints, control arms, shock absorbers, tie-rods and other attachments like torsion bars etc.

    6)      Wiring concerns: relays in cars are simply transformers that aid transmission of electric voltage via low resistance wires which can easily get damaged or breached. This is why these wires are carefully wrapped together to forestall any breakage; but overtime, or maybe due to mechanics doing an untidy work or age taking a toll on your car, the undesirable happens often. The good thing here is that you get warning signals on your dashboard if such happens, but you mustn’t hesitate to try and get it fixed before anything worse happens.

    7)      Lightening: driving a car with dim bulbs is literally a dim-witted money saving plan in motion; don’t risk your life because these major lightening which inform other road users and equally helps you drive more conveniently under any condition are very important.

    8)      Final drives/bearings: differential oil leakages are very difficult to spot because you have to go under the car to check this out. Most differentials are ‘lubed for life’ but that’s hardly any guarantee where a 10year old (or even more) vehicle is concerned. Other key final drive components are CV joints which are attached to drive shafts both in front wheel, rear wheel and all-wheel drives. For 4WDs you also have the transfer case and/or viscous coupling to bother about.

    9)      Key fluids: it’s very okay to always feel tempted to check your brake fluids every day, because they are crucial for survival and controlled driving. You can’t be too conscious about these checks as abnormal brake fluid levels noted early could indicate worn out brakes, bad callipers, bad brake master cylinder, leaking hydraulic lines or maybe even rotors due for change; this is why you have to monitor levels of major fluids having in mind how the counter act with their adjoining components. Other necessary fluids include power steering fluid, radiator coolant, wiper fluid etc.

    10)   Be budget ready: like it was earlier stated, older cars require relatively higher maintenance budgets. Hence don’t shy away from relatively higher cash spending if you plan to keep your old car.


    In conclusion, keep your car’s appearance appealing and its vitals in good shape to facilitate a profitable re-sale. Contrary to what most financial eggheads would say; a car isn’t always a liability!

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