By Julie Murphree and Peggy Jo Goodfellow, Arizona Farm Bureau: Since Farm Bureau is in the business of protecting livelihoods and valuables, it makes sense that we should provide you with valuable tips to help extend the life of your vehicle.

Regularly scheduled maintenance and lubrication using the manufacturer’s recommended type and formulation of oil, grease and liquids is key to keeping your truck or car in shape. Replacing normal wear-and-tear parts is also a good path to follow on the road to long vehicle life.

Road Warriors (and Arizona Farm Bureau Field Managers) Christy Davis and Liz Foster easily put on anywhere from 35,000 to 40,000 miles a year per Farm Bureau truck. So maintenance must be an obvious priority. If you see them on the road, honk ... but don't text!

The Secret of a long-lasting Vehicle
The secret is that there is no real secret to getting a vehicle to last a long time. The difference is maintenance. Regular fluid checks and an almost religious dedication to scheduled vehicle lubrication will keep your vehicle going strong.

Plus, follow the accompanying 11 handy tips for keeping your vehicle in top shape and you’ll give your vehicle a long life.

Tip 1

Review the vehicle’s manual. While this tip may seem obvious, it serves as a valuable way to get to know your car or truck and proactively begin your maintenance management of the vehicle. After all, most vehicles have different required maintenance schedules. It happens to be one of the first things I do after purchasing a new car.

Tip 2
Regularly change the oil. No single step will help an engine last more than regular oil and filter changes.

Tip 3

Keep your vehicle clean. Granted, this is next to impossible on the farm or ranch. So, valiant attempts in cleaning the farm and ranch vehicles means you earn a gold star since dirt and grime can influence corrosion over time. If you live off the farm, you’ll be a bit luckier at battling the elements that like sticking to our vehicles.

When I was growing up on the farm, I recall dad having us always blow the farm equipment off after use and making sure all equipment was on a regular maintenance schedule.

Tip 4
Give your vehicle a wax job. Besides a good wash, nothing keeps paint looking good and protected like a coat of quality wax. Apply wax at least every six months.

Again, on the farm this may not be as practical, but regular maintenance for equipment and vehicles counts.

Tip 5
Flush the cooling system and change coolant once a year. A 50/50 mix of coolant and distilled water will keep the cooling system in good shape and prevent corrosion and deposits from building up inside the cooling system.

Tip 6
Keep moving parts well lubricated. Everything with moving parts needs grease to survive.

Tip 7
Change out transmission and differential oils. While not requiring frequent service, these fluids must be changed according to service intervals. Always use transmission fluid or gear oil of the recommended type and viscosity.

Tip 8
Keep Driveline components lubricated. Driveline components such as u-joints also require regular lubrication.

Tip 9
Keep your vehicle in the shade. Your vehicle was made for the shade. Protect the interior by parking the vehicle in the shade, using a window deflector screen, and applying a UV protectant to prevent the plastic and vinyl from drying out.

Tip 10
Inspect, clean, and repack wheel bearings with wheel bearing grease according to service intervals. Again, practical maintenance for helping your car run well, especially tires.

Tip 11
Replace brake fluid and bleed system once a year. Brake fluid is hygroscopic, meaning it attracts moisture. Moisture causes components to corrode and fail.

Sources: Kelly Blue Book, Arizona Ford Dealers Association,

Editor's Note: Remember if you are an Arizona Farm Bureau member that you are eligible for a $500 rebate on Ford and Lincoln vehicles

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