9 ways to get your car to 200K miles (or more)
MORE AT KIPLINGER.COM
And with the average car adding more than 10,000 miles to the odometer each year, it’s practically a given that you’ll hit the once-notable milestone of 100,000 miles. In fact, you might even triple that without needing a big-dollar repair, such as a new engine or transmission.
But reaching those loftier targets requires some input from you, the owner. Squeezing maximum life out of your ride at minimum cost means being attentive to your car in a variety of ways. We’ve outlined nine here. Take a look.
Regular Maintenance Is Crucial
There’s no getting around this one: A car that’s not regularly serviced won’t last as long as one that is. It might not even make it to 100,000 miles.
Regular maintenance is “the key to the automotive fountain of youth,” says Tom Torbjornsen, author of "How to Make Your Car Last Forever."
What is regular maintenance? It’s what it says right there in the maintenance schedule of your owner’s manual, says Torbjornsen. Follow the “severe duty” schedule of more frequent servicing if your manufacturer specifies one.
But at a certain point, the manufacturer’s schedule may fail a high-mileage driver — as it sometimes lacks specifics beyond, say, 150,000 miles, other than to start over as if the car were at mile zero. “Can [manufacturers] truly believe that an engine with more than 50,000 moving parts – with 150,000 miles – is going to replicate an engine straight off the assembly line?” wonders Pam Oakes, a certified technician and author of “Car Care for the Clueless.” “What about a 180,000-mile engine? Would that have the same wear as an engine with 30,000 miles? I don’t think so.”
Like other experts we spoke with, Oakes recommends building your own maintenance schedule with a trusted, certified mechanic who knows you’re interested in going the distance.
Use Your Senses: Sight
If your routine is to plop into the driver’s seat in a darkened garage at one end of your trip and slam the door behind you in a darkened garage at the other end, it’s time to shake things up a little. “Do a ‘preflight’ at least once a week,” says Tony Molla, vice-president of communications for the National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence (and a certified technician with years of experience). “Walk around your car. Have your kid step on the brake and see if the lights come on. By spotting a problem now, when it’s small, you might save yourself more than just a ticket.”