The average car has the potential to go over 200,000 miles. The real trick is to get it there. Carmakers have been doing their part by making vehicles more resilient and easier to maintain. So, it comes down to the owner. If you make an effort, you can have your car for a lifetime or 200,000 miles, whichever comes first.
1. Choose Wisely.
If you are shopping, research reliability as much or more as you research features and technologies. There are vast surveys that demonstrate the dependability of brands and models. Check the internet chatter to find out if your favourite models are causing problems for their owners.
2. Drive Carefully.
No one wants to be told to slow down, but the truth is the truth. Putting aside the chances of a wreck, speeding and reckless driving will stress out the tyres, suspension, brakes, steering, transmission, and engine, just to name the big stuff. Sensible safety precautions, such as staying several car lengths behind the leader vehicle, prevent you from wearing out the brakes. Gunning it may be fun, but it will harm your engine and possibly your transmission.
3. Pay Attention to Maintenance.
Fortunately, scheduled maintenance is less frequent these days. Newer vehicles let you go longer between oil changes, and spark plug replacement is often at the 100,000 mile mark. Still, follow your maintenance plan to the letter. Do everything it tells you and do it on time. Small maintenance items, if missed, turn into major trouble down the road. You can keep car service costs in check by getting quotes from different mechanics.
4. Remember to Monitor Your Tyres and Brakes.
Make sure to keep your tyres rotated and have your alignment checked. This prevents damage to your steering, suspension and transmission. Keep an eye on your tread. Report strange wear patterns to your mechanic. It’s always worth it to replace ageing tires before you can have a costly blow out. Brake pads should be replaced on schedule. In addition to accident avoidance, those pads are protecting costly metal rotors. You may change your mind about a lifetime with your car if you get stuck paying for new rotors.
5. Watch Your Fluids.
In our hot climate, coolant levels should be a top priority. Replacing coolant with water just won’t cut it. So, on a regular basis, check your fluids. You can use your manual to learn how, and once you get into the habit, it will become second nature. While you are at it, learn to check your air filter. You can replace it yourself when it gets too dirty.
6. Don’t Ignore the Obvious.
When you drive off the lot, start learning how the car behaves when it is feeling well. If a light comes on or your gauges show something is different, pay attention. Take it to your mechanic and have them evaluate it. If you get out in front of the problem, it will cost you less to fix it.
7. Use Approved Replacement Parts.
You shouldn’t skimp on replacements for your hoses and other parts. There’s a good chance that saving a few bucks could mean that your car doesn’t make it to the magic 200,000 mark.
8. Keep Your Car Clean.
This is a matter of pride, yes. It’s also the way to find minor problems and fix them. You may discover an exterior or interior trim piece is loose. Then you can have it reattached immediately. A good cleaning will prevent road grime and bird poop from ruining your car’s beautiful shine. A proper wax will protect your exterior and keep it looking good longer.
9. Cover Up.
If possible, park your car in a garage. If you can’t, try to keep it in the shade. Throw a tarp over it when possible. As for the interior, you may want to invest in seat covers to protect upholstery or better floor mats to protect carpeting. It may be tempting to wait and cover up damage, but it’s best to prevent it.
10. Maximise Your Rights.
Under the new car warranty, you should make sure you are getting every possible benefit. After the warranty runs out, you may have warranties on service and parts. Also, never ignore a recall notice. In fact, you should stay alert to any negative news about your model if you want it to go 200,000 miles. Finally, keep your receipts and maintain good records. You never know when they will come in handy.
When you get tempted to slack off, remember that your constant efforts will be rewarded. If you can keep a car for 200,000 miles, you will have saved yourself the cost of new car. Considering those price tags, that’s a very worthy goal.