6 tips to help keep your car on the road

Keeping your car out of the shop can save you time and money

Buying a car is a major financial commitment, so you'll probably want your vehicle to last as long as possible. If you want to keep your car on the road and out of the shop, consider the following five tips:

1 – Change your air filter regularly
There are many small things that people tend to avoid in their vehicles, such as air filters. If you go too long without changing this, you could do some damage to your car

"If your air filter is clogged, your engine is not performing properly," Jack Nerad, editorial director and executive market analyst for Kelley Blue Book, told MSN Autos. "It also hurts your fuel economy, and it can harm the engine over the long term."

So, whenever you take your car in for an oil change, it would be smart to ask them to check your air filter so you can get it changed if need be. 

2 – Drive safely
A sure fire way to reduce the life of your vehicle is to get into an accident. Just because you have car insurance, doesn't mean you want to have to use it, especially to cover repairs after a crash. That said, you should try to avoid speeding and any other dangerous habits that could increase the risk of an accident. However, if you do get into a crash, and find that your premium is too high, it may be a good idea to compare car insurance quotes to help find a cheaper policy. This won't help your car last longer, but you could save money if an accident occurs. 

3 – Don't drive as much
Part of the reason some cars die before others is because people drive too much, according to Cars.com. If you want your car to stay on the road longer, you might consider eliminating some of your trips. For example, instead of taking a drive to the local store, you may take a walk so you can enjoy some fresh air. Not only are you reducing the wear and tear put on your vehicle, more daily walks such as these could have a positive impact on your health.  

4 – Complete regular maintenance
Just like you, your car needs an annual physical. Even if it seems as though there is nothing wrong, a mechanic may find something small that could create a bigger issue if ignored. Of course, you'll want to find a trusted mechanic in your area, so you aren't taken advantage of with unnecessary repairs. MSN Autos recommends that you take your car to the same shop every time, as a good mechanic will get to know your car and learn what to look for to prevent larger repairs.

5 – Limit short trips
Believe it or not, taking a trip to the McDonalds down the street in your car can do damage. According to Cars.com, short trips of 10 minutes or less can result in excessive wear and tear because your car never has a chance to reach its full operating temperature. So, instead of taking multiple short trips, you may want to consider waiting until you have a lot of errands to run to extend your shopping trip and limit the damage done to your car. 

6 – Choose a good car
The vehicle you buy can have a lot to do with how long it will remain on the road. So, if you want your car to last 20-plus years, you may want to do some research before you begin to shop. The Internet is a perfect place to find this information, as there are numerous sources that rank vehicles, such as JD Power and Consumer Reports.