Buying a car is a considerable investment. If you've got money to spare, you might be happy to replace your daily driver every few years. For the majority of us, however, the cost-effective solution is keeping our rides running as long as possible.

How can you keep your car running practically forever?

1. Pay Attention to Sounds

It might not speak English, but your car can tell you plenty if you take the time to listen. Pay attention to the sounds and what they're trying to say. Under ideal conditions, it will purr. As soon as something goes wrong, though, you'll hear it.

Sometimes you can diagnose the problem by figuring out where the strange sounds are originating from. If you hear a high-pitched squeal under the hood, for example, the likely culprit is the serpentine belt. Luckily, you can fix this issue on your own.

2. Drive Fewer Miles

As simple as it sounds, you can make your car run forever by driving it less and keeping mileage low. Reducing your driving time and mileage saves money and prevents wear and tear on your vehicle, in turn making it last longer. Limit your joy rides and use alternative forms of transportation when possible. You don't need to abandon your car completely. Simply consider each use and if you can avoid it.

3. Check Your Fluids

Liquids like oil, coolant, transmission and brake fluid are your vehicle's lifeblood. If you don't check and change those fluids, you're going to shorten its lifespan dramatically.

Checking and changing these items is something you can do at home. You need to replace your coolant every five years or 30,000 miles, for instance. Choose from six varieties, including organic acid technology (OAT), which is for newer vehicles, and inorganic additive technology (IAT), which is primarily for older cars.

4. Perform Regular Maintenance

Your vehicle comes with a maintenance schedule you can typically find in the owner's manual. Try to stick to this arrangement, which focuses on mileage, as closely as possible. If you're not car-savvy, look for a mechanic you can trust. Read reviews online to read about other drivers' first-hand experiences.

5. Empty the Trunk

Are you the kind of person that keeps a ton of stuff in your trunk? Ditch the junk to reduce the weight your vehicle must pull, easing strain. While you should remove the binder of CDs and box of old clothes, always keep items like jumper cables, a spare tire and a first aid kit on-hand. If it's icy out, kitty litter can help you gain traction if you get stuck.

Take Care of Your Car and It Will Take Care of You

It doesn't matter if your car is brand new or twenty years old. As long as you take care of it, it will take care of you.

Luckily, it doesn't take much to keep your car running. Pay attention to odd sounds and drive as little as possible. Check your fluids and visit a trusted mechanic regularly. You can also reduce the weight your vehicle carries by going through the trunk and removing non-essentials.

Scott Huntington is a writer from central Pennsylvania. He enjoys working on his home and garden with his wife and 2 kids. Follow him on Twitter @SMHuntington