There might have been a time when a car reaching six figures on the odometer was a cause for celebration, but most modern vehicles are barely approaching their midlife crisis when they cross over the 100,000-mile mark. Newer engines are so reliable that you can often make it this far with essential maintenance, but what if you want to keep your vehicle for the long haul?
While buying a new car is exciting, maintaining an old car for years can save you a shocking amount of money. However, reaching 200,000 miles and beyond requires a certain amount of care, and it's work that you often have to start thinking about relatively early in your car's life.
Why Does Preventative Maintenance Matter?
Preventative maintenance is the crucial component of maintaining a car for hundreds of thousands of miles, but what does that entail? While there's plenty you can do to keep your vehicle running reliably and safely, your most critical step by far is avoiding internal engine or transmission damage. Replacing either of these parts can condemn many newer cars, and it's nearly always fatal for older vehicles.
By keeping both your engine and transmission running, you're more likely to avoid the four-figure repair bills that often send aging cars off to the junkyard for good. Avoiding significant wear on these parts reduces the likelihood of a catastrophic failure, allowing you to keep your vehicle running for much longer. Unfortunately, small amounts of wear can add up rapidly over time.
What Steps Should You Take?
The most important things you can do for your engine and transmission are routine fluid and filter changes. Never go longer than your manufacturer-recommended intervals with an engine oil change or transmission fluid flush. If your manufacturer recommends long-life intervals (typically 10-15k miles), you may want to consider changing your oil more often as the engine ages.
Overheating is another vital consideration. Modern aluminum engine blocks can rapidly warp when exposed to high temperatures. This damage may ruin your engine immediately, or it can cause damage that will lead to failure in the future. Regular coolant flushes will help ensure that coolant contamination or degradation won't lead to temperature problems.
Components such as your thermostat, water pump, and even radiator cap can also fail and cause your car to overheat. Monitoring and replacing cooling system parts before they stop working is one of the best preventative maintenance approaches you can take. In many cases, simply keeping your cooling system maintained will prevent some of the costliest engine failures.
Focusing on your engine and transmission will help keep your car happy and healthy for many years. By taking the necessary preventative maintenance steps to avoid catastrophic failures, you can enjoy owning a car that lasts for hundreds of thousands of miles.
Contact a local auto shop to learn more about preventative maintenance.