|Image courtesy of General Motors|
Keep your tires properly inflated. Too many car owners don't even think to check their tire pressure, or they think the tires need to be inflated to the pressure listed on the tires' sidewall. The vehicle manufacturer specifies how much air pressure should be in the tires and places the information on a sticker located in the driver's door jamb. Keeping your tires properly inflated will help the tread last longer. Also, underinflated tires make the engine and transmission on a car work harder, which places more strain on them and will cause them to fail sooner.
Maintain your car's battery and the ignition system by parking in your garage as much as possible in the winter. If you cannot park in a garage, install a battery insulation kit to keep your battery warm enough at all times. Hook the battery up to a tender regularly to ensure it keeps a full charge, which will take some strain off the rest of the ignition system. If you do have a garage, absolutely do not heat it since it will cause your car to rust.
You can make your brakes last longer by using them sparingly. Some drivers like to speed up quickly from a stop, then practically slam on their brakes when they reach a red light. Instead, coast toward red lights and touch your brakes as little as possible. You can even shift to a lower gear to slow your car down instead of riding the brakes.
Most people completely forget about their windshield wiper blades since they are small and relatively inexpensive. You can extend their life significantly just by cleaning them once a month with denatured alcohol. The cleanings not only remove debris buildup, they also keep the rubber more flexible so it holds closer to the glass, eliminating streaking that otherwise would appear.
Use synthetic oil. While synthetic oil isn't exactly cheap, it lasts significantly longer and provides better protection for your engine's internal parts. Synthetic oils are even designed to not break down in extreme temperatures, making them excellent for driving in hot weather or on long road trips.
Washing your car regularly is about more than just looks. As you wash your car, you remove corrosive agents from the paint, keeping it in better condition. Waxing your car then places a protective coating over the paint. A well-maintained paint job will prevent corrosion like rust from taking hold on a car, which if left unchecked can lead to its ultimate death. You can also protect the paint by keeping the car covered or in a garage as much as possible.