By taking proper care of your vehicle now, you can put off buying a new vehicle. In years past, hitting 100,000 miles on the odometer was a big deal, but many of today’s vehicles are now expected to have lifetimes upwards of 200,000 miles. Here’s how to extend the life of your high-mileage vehicle, including using only the best oil for high mileage cars.
Your owner’s manual outlines the maintenance schedule for your vehicle and typically contains standard and severe-use schedules. You may think that the standard schedule is right for you, but if you live near the ocean, in a mountainous region, in the city or do a lot of towing, then you should follow the severe-use schedule. The maintenance intervals are shorter for severe-use driving, which also includes extreme temperature environments, dusty conditions and, strangely enough, infrequent driving. Follow the more rigorous schedule and you just may extend the life of your high-mileage vehicle.
Never Skip on Motor Oil and Oil Filter Changes
Engine replacement is one of the most expensive repairs for car owners; a remanufactured engine can cost thousands of dollars. If the engine goes in your high-mileage car, you’ll most likely choose to scrap it. However, if you carefully follow the oil and oil filter change intervals as outlined in your driver’s manual, there’s a good chance that your car’s engine will last.
There is one caveat: You should switch to a high-mileage oil by 75,000 miles to extend the engine’s life. High-mileage oil includes a special seal conditioner, anti-wear additives and a greater concentration of dispersants and detergents. The best oil for high-mileage cars will mitigate harmful friction caused by metal-on-metal wear, which can ruin your engine.
Take Action on Odd Noises
Don’t rely on the instrument panel to tell you when something is wrong with your car. Turn the radio off and pay attention to your car, especially the way it sounds, feels and handles. Anything out of the ordinary can signal an emerging problem that, if ignored, could lead to expensive repairs. Identify when you first noticed the problem and any other relevant details, such as the speed you were driving. Share this information with your mechanic to help him identify and fix the problem.
Use Your Other Senses
Some car problems can be identified by sight and touch. Keep an eye on any fluids that drip from underneath your car. A clear, watery fluid at the front of your car is probably condensation from the air conditioner. Other fluids may not be so innocuous, such as engine oil or transmission fluid. Use your sense of smell when checking fluid levels. A burnt odor when pulling out the engine oil dipstick may indicate that the engine is running lean or not using enough fuel, and a similar burnt smell when checking the transmission can spell trouble. In both cases, you are looking at very expensive repairs if the problems are not addressed immediately.
You should always choose the best oil for your car, take prompt action regarding odd noises and follow your car’s maintenance schedule. Doing so will ensure a long, healthy life for your high-mileage vehicle.
Check out all the chemical products available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on the best oil for high mileage cars, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
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Matt Keegan has maintained his love for cars ever since his father taught him kicking tires can be one way to uncover a problem with a vehicle’s suspension system. He since moved on to learn a few things about coefficient of drag, G-forces, toe-heel shifting, and how to work the crazy infotainment system in some random weekly driver. Matt is a member of the Washington Automotive Press Association and is a contributor to various print and online media sources.