How To Make Your Car Last 100,000 Miles… Or Longer

100000-miles-by-Muffet.jpgMy current car has been driven about 40,000 miles in the last 3 years.

I never imagined I would keep a car past 50,000 miles.  Normally, I would be looking to buy a new car very soon — especially since I don’t handle breakdowns well.

However, now I want my car to last forever (or at least another 3 years).

While I don’t expect that my car will make it anywhere near the 300,000 miles that can sometimes be achieved with excellent maintenance, I do think that making it to 100,000 miles is a reasonable expectation.

According to Consumer Reports, the average life expectancy of a modern vehicle is about 8 years and 150,000 miles. If a vehicle makes it to 200,000 miles, you are riding on borrowed time and the car is paying you back.  Source

 

Here are the best tips I’ve found to make your car last longer…

 

Oil should be changed every 3,000 miles.

This is true even if the manufacturer’s recommendation states every 6,000 miles. Consider it cheap insurance that goes a long way toward ensuring your car’s long life.

While it’s not uncommon to find people who believe that frequent oil changes are unnecessary, those who have had cars last longer than most would beg to differ.

If you’re interested in doing it yourself, here’s how to change the oil in your car.

 

Your car should have a tune-up every year. 

Some newer cars boast only needing 100,000 mile tune-ups, but it doesn’t hurt to have an overall checkup once a year — especially if you want your car to make it past 100,000 miles.

A tune-up is when the air filter, spark plugs, distributor cap, rotor, fuel filter, PCV valve, and oxygen sensor are checked and/or changed.  All of the car’s systems are also checked for damage and wear.

 

Have your air filter checked (not necessarily replaced) at each oil change. 

A dirty air filter, even after just 5,000 miles after a change, can cost you up to 7% of your gas mileage. While a dirty air filter causes fuel inefficiency, a filthy air filter can cause a lot of unnecessary wear and tear on your vehicle.

If you take your car to a service station to have the oil changed (instead of doing it yourself), you can save a few bucks by simply replacing the air filter yourself instead of letting them do it for you. Just be sure to let them know ahead of time that you want to know the condition of your air filter, but you don’t want to buy a new air filter.

It’s easy enough to look up the make and model of your vehicle in the air filter book found at any auto repair store. And it’s even easier to open the compartment under your car’s hood, remove the old air filter, and put a new air filter in. No tools required!

 

Get your tires rotated every time you get the oil changed.

If you want all of your car’s tires to wear evenly, then you should have your tires rotated (and balanced) every time you get your oil changed.

Depending on the type of tires that are on your vehicle, if you have a spare tire, then you may also want to include the spare tire in the tire rotation sequence each time. If so, then you will have to specially request it, since most service centers won’t do this automatically.

 

Get a wheel alignment whenever you change your tires.

…Or, if you happen to notice that the alignment is off.

Contrary to popular belief, wheel alignment and wheel balancing are not the same thing:

  • If a wheel is out of balance, it will cause a vibration at highway speeds that can be felt in the steering wheel and/or the seat.
  • If the alignment is out, it can cause excessive tirewear and steering or tracking problems.

Driving around with mis-aligned tires and unbalanced tires will cause unnecessary wear and tear on your car.

 

A fuel injector cleaner should be added after every oil change.

Fuel injector cleaners:

Prevent deposits from forming in the gas tank.
Keep the all-important fuel injectors clean.
Remove moisture from the fuel system.

This is not a regular part of an oil change, so you need to specially request it. Or, save a few bucks and add a fuel injector cleaner yourself after each oil change.

 

Find an excellent mechanic that you can trust.

This takes some time, along with some trial and error, but it’s worth it. If you’ve ever had bad car service, then you know how important this is in order to avoid having to go through such an experience again!

Once you find someone who takes care of your car as if it is their own, you will probably stick with them for life!

Here are 5 tips for choosing the right auto repair shop.

 

Keep log of all auto repairs and routine maintenance. 

When it comes time to sell your car, a vehicle repair log will ultimately add to your car’s value — because it shows that you took good care of your car.

Of course, it also helps you to keep track of all repairs and service performed on your car, which makes it easier a lot easier when it comes time to make future auto repair appointments. After all, who can remember all the details of the work that’s already been done? An auto repair log will save the day!

Keeping a strict auto maintenance schedule will also help you prevent car troubles ahead of time instead of having to deal with them as costly repairs after the fact.

 

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More Ways To Make Your Car Last Longer

 

Andrea Hermitt

I have been a certified tightwad since I became pregnant with my first child and decided to find a way to stay home with him. I enjoy sharing my experiences in my journey back to financial health and planning for a future -- which will include sending 2 kids to college and early retirement.

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