How to Squeeze at Least 200,000 Miles From Your Car

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Want the first digit on your odometer to move more than once? Use many of the same techniques you use to make your body last.

It used to be that 100,000 was a major mileage milestone. Not so much anymore.

It’s still sort of culturally embedded in how we set used car prices, but cars today are built to last longer than that. The average age of cars still in use is a record-high 11 years, research firm Polk says. We hold on to a car for an average of six years.

“It’s practically a given that you’ll hit the once-notable milestone of 100,000 miles,” Kiplinger says. “In fact, you might even triple that without needing a big-dollar repair, such as a new engine or transmission.”

One obvious way to keep your car running well is to befriend a reliable mechanic. Learn how in the video below:

Here are some of Kiplinger’s tips on extending the life of your vehicle:

  •  Do it by the book. If your owner’s manual says you need maintenance at 30,000 miles, get it. “Follow the ‘severe duty’ schedule of more frequent servicing if your manufacturer specifies one,” Kiplinger says.
  • Watch for leaks. Get in the habit of either looking under your car or checking for fluids where you were parked as you pull out of the spot. The color of the leak can usually tell you where it’s coming from.
  • Listen for clunks. Get in the habit of leaving your radio off for a few minutes and pay attention to how your car sounds. That way you’ll know when it starts sounding different. Describing sounds and when they happen can help a pro pinpoint problems.
  • Minimize short trips. If your drive isn’t long enough to give the engine time to warm up, it’ll eventually cause damage. AAA’s rule of thumb is five miles, or 10 for freezing weather.

The keys to keeping your car in good health are basically the same as maintaining your body’s health — paying attention and getting preventive care.

Stacy Johnson

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