Thursday, May 15, 2014

How to Get Over 200,000 Miles on Your Car

One way to save a lot of money is to buy your car (used, of course) and keep it for a long time.   We have had one of our cars for over 10 years without a car payment!  Think of the savings.  Even if we only had a car payment of $200 a month, that would be $24,000!  Whoa--no small change.  Not to mention it is a lot cheaper to insure an older car than a newer model, so the savings really add up.

There are some secrets to keeping your car for a long time.  The first is to buy a reliable car.  Consumer reports Magazine names the following cars as being most likely to last to the 200,000 mile mark:
  • Honda Accord
  • Subaru Legacy
  • Toyota Avalon
  • Honda Odyssey
  • Nissan Maxima
  • Toyota Camry
  • Ford Taurus
  • Honda Civic
  • Acura TL
  • Subaru Outback
However, just because your car isn't on the list, doesn't mean it can't make it to 200,000 miles.  Our 1997 Toyota 4 Runner has 208,000 miles.  And we just decided the other day to see if it will make it to 300,000 miles.  It is funny, once you get to a certain point with things that last a long time, you just want to see how much longer they can go.  My washing machine is a great example.  I bought it used 23 years ago.  The lady said it was 4 years old at the time.  I really want to see how long it lasts.  So now we are in for the long haul with the 4 Runner.  

Naturally, we will continue doing what we have always done to keep it running well and looking good.  Here are my tips to keep your car running as long as possible:
  • Find a trustworthy mechanic.
  • Change the oil as scheduled.  After 100,000 miles, change to synthetic, semi-synthetic or high mileage oil as it provides more lubrication for your engine.
  • Follow the general maintenance schedule in the owners manual.
  • Check for leaks and take care of them promptly before they become a bigger issue.
  • Pay attention to strange noises and get them checked out promptly.
  • Wash your car frequently and don't forget the underbody, especially if you drive on roads treated with salt or other chemicals.  And if you live near the beach, remember salt water can have the same corrosive effect so wash frequently.
  • Short trips are hard on your car because your engine doesn't reach its full operating temperature.  Of course, many times this can't be helped, but do make sure you add some highway miles on it.
  • Keep your car waxed to prevent rust.  I like to hand wax my cars twice a year, although lately, it has been just once a year.  Using the wax option at the car wash is also a good idea.
  • Protect your dashboard with a product such as ArmourAll Protectant Wipes.  This can help prevent your dashboard from fading and cracking.  Parking in a garage or in the shade can also help with this.
  • Make sure you do some highway driving in it.  Driving strictly around town can 
So, next time you are thinking about getting a new car, why not reconsider?  The savings can really add up!

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