High mileage truck

4 Tips to Keep High Mileage Cars on the Road

Can high mileage cars make it from 100,000 miles on the odometer to 200,000 miles? It’s not an impossible dream: modern automobiles are far more reliable, and better built, than they were in the era when seeing 50,000 miles roll over meant it was time to buy a new vehicle.

With these four basic maintenance tips, you, too, can see your car cruise into the 200,000 mile club.

1. Change Your Oil on Time, Every Time
Engine oil

Each vehicle has its own oil change interval, which is usually described in the owner’s manual. One of the keys to keeping high mileage cars on the road is making sure you don’t push past your next oil change. You should aim to hit the garage within a hundred miles or so of the expected interval, or if you haven’t been driving all that much, then get the oil changed every six months. This helps keep your engine lubed up and also removes contaminants that collect in the oil over time as the additive pack wears out. Finally, always use the manufacturer recommended grade of oil.

2. Check Your Fluids

Oil changes are important, but you also need to regularly verify the fluids in your engine are still doing their job. Every two weeks you should check your oil level, and if it’s low, add some to the engine (from the oil canister you should be carrying in your trunk). Once a month, it’s also worth checking the coolant level in your radiator, along with verifying the amount of air in your tires and refilling your windshield fluid reservoir.

3. Yearly Inspections Are a Must

Usually, the list of items that need to be replaced on high mileage cars includes suspension bushings, radiator hoses, engine belts, brake calipers, mufflers (depending on your climate) and sometimes water pumps. Researching what parts of your specific car are known to fail over time can keep you prepared for the inevitable — and a yearly inspection where a mechanic checks out the wear points on your vehicle will make sure it’s never a surprise when it does need some preventative maintenance.

4. Don’t Ignore Seemingly Small Problems

Front tires starting to vibrate? Car pulling to one side or the other? Strange noise emanating from underneath the vehicle? A little puddle of fluid in your driveway every morning? Don’t ignore it — get it examined by a mechanic you trust as soon as possible. Small problems can blossom into bigger issues as you continue to drive, especially with an older car where components aren’t in showroom condition anymore.

For more information on high mileage cars, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photo courtesy of Freeimages

about author

Benjamin Hunting

Having been bitten by the car bug at a young age, I spent my formative years surrounded by Studebakers at car shows across Quebec and the northeastern United States. Over ten years of racing, restoring, and obsessing over automobiles lead me to balance science writing and automotive journalism full time.  I currently contribute as an editor to several online and print automotive publications, and I also write and consult for the pharmaceutical and medical device industry.

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2 Comments

  • R Weigel

    August 10, 2016 at 7:56 PM

    Reply

    When you mention oil changes you should include Transmission fluid changes done at the very least per manufactures recommend. Transmissions are generally the most expensive fix fluid changes are cheap insurance.

    When you mention fluid also should be included is grease many parts still need grease whether it’s a tie-rod or a door hinge.

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