Most late model vehicles (those manufactured in the last 10 years) will run well for 200,000 plus miles if correctly maintained. This does NOT mean that repairs will not be required.
Minimum Basic Maintenance
- Change oil and filter every 3000 miles. This means every 3000 miles even if the manufacturer recommends 6000 miles or more between oil changes. Oil is cheap compared to replacing the car or financing major repairs.
- I recommend a tune up every 20,000 miles. Many times this require nothing more than changing the spark plugs. Check with your technician and repair shop on this. If you have an honest mechanic he or she will tell you what you need. This is the major reason for finding an honest shop and mechanic and sticking with them.
- Check your air filter with every oil change. It will not need changing every time but under dusty and dirty conditions most owners do not change the air filter often enough.
- Have your brakes inspected at least annually depending upon the amount that you drive and the conditions under which you drive. Insist on high quality brake pads and parts they will pay for the added expense with long wear and greater safety. I recommend Wagner Theroquiet pads.
- Have the wheel alignment checked with every set of tires or anytime that a wear problem, or steering control problem show up.
- Have your battery checked every two years. Low battery voltage can create all kinds of difficult to diagnose problems.
- Add a bottle of fuel injector cleaner with every oil change.
- Change the fuel filter every two years if it is external to the fuel tank. Change it more often if condition or operation of the vehicle indicate the need.
- In general the manufactures' recommended service interval is adequate for transmissions, differentials and wheel bearings. Most owners do not service their transmissions at the recommended intervals and pay the price.
- Timing belts deserve a little special treatment. Do not go over the manufactures' recommended interval for the conditions of your driving. A separate article will address timing belts.
- Treat you car with the love that you would give a cherished possession.
Find a quality shop and technician to perform your repairs and maintenance. This is an important part of getting 200,000 of service from your car. This is the only way that a car ever is a useful and profitable investment.
Every mile that you drive your car is worth $ 0.20 charged against the initial cost and repair cost. This does not include insurance, license, tires and fuel. This translates into about $ 40,000 for 200,000 miles. If it costs you less than this you have beaten the odds.
One customer, at Rattlesnake Mountain Enterprises repeatedly gets over 3000,000 miles from his vehicles. He is not a mechanic and does nothing special with his cars. He does maintain the vehicle and keeps a logbook of all repairs and oil or fuel added. This is one of the most important things that you can do to make your vehicle last.