If you’ve had your car long enough to give it a name, then you have been doing a good job taking care of it. Your friends brag about the mileage on their buggies. We’re here to help you exceed your peers with tips on how to make your car last 200,000 miles.
Choose a Long-Lasting Make and Model
Many sites online rate cars by longevity. New or used, brands that have a reputation for durability are worth serious consideration. Be very careful about a used car’s history, but a reliable make with a verifiable history of timely maintenance and no collisions is worth investing a few dollars more.
Believe in the Lights and the Noise
The warning lights on the dash aren’t there just for decoration. They mean something important. It’s normal to have a sinking feeling when you see the check engine light come on because you can already feel the money coming out of your slim savings. The dollar damage will be much worse if you try to wish it away. Get warning lights checked out by a trustworthy mechanic right away. It could be as simple as not screwing the gas cap back on tightly enough.
You also shouldn’t regard foreboding noises as part of the charm of an older vehicle. Grinding, whirring, squealing, and banging are distress signals. Heed them and head off to the repair shop immediately.
Maintain Proper Tire Pressure
You’ll have to replace tires several times over 200,000 miles. Keeping the tires at a proper pressure is more about preserving other parts of the car. Steering, braking, and suspension work together with wheels, so keeping the right inflation and rotating them at the proper intervals will save wear on the car overall. Proper tire maintenance can reduce the risk of collisions, too.
Deal with the Dings
Dents and dings turn to rust and cracks if you don’t repair them quickly. Running over a curb can damage wheels to the point where you’ll have to replace them to keep the car running safely. If it comes to that, make sure you shop for genuine OEM (original equipment manufacturer) replacement wheels.
If you were lucky enough to find the Big Bow in the driveway on your 16th birthday and you still have the car, keep following the maintenance schedule. Oil changes and belt replacements will save you money over time as you drive the long road toward making your car last 200,000 miles.