Your vehicle’s odometer has finally rolled over that dreaded 100,000 mile mark. You automatically assume the vehicle is destined for a catastrophic systems failure, and in a panic head straight to the nearest dealership. Times have definitely changed, though, and a vehicle hitting 100,000, 200,000 or even 300,000 miles and beyond is no longer cause for a meltdown. Instead, treat your high-mileage vehicle with care to ensure it provides you plenty more morning commutes, family road trips and leisurely drives through the countryside on a Sunday afternoon.
Your New Best Friend
A high-mileage vehicle needs two things to survive: a loving owner and a faithful mechanic. If you don’t already have a mechanic that is intimately associated with every strange smell and noise emitted from your vehicle, find one immediately. Don’t be ashamed to interview a potential mechanic by asking for their experience working with your vehicle’s model, and if the individual is trained to handle high-mileage cars. Once the relationship is established, don’t hesitate to call on your trusted mechanic when it comes to performing regular maintenance.
Follow a Meticulous Maintenance Schedule
Your vehicle’s manufacturer outlined a preferred maintenance schedule, but in the past you weren’t very studious when it came to oil changes, tire rotations or timely air filter replacements. Now more than ever, it’s time to dust off that owner’s manual and follow the maintenance schedule to the letter. This is also where your mechanic’s intimate relationship with the car comes in very handy. The combination of the right mechanic and staying up-to-date on the vehicle’s maintenance will make a noticeable difference on your car’s performance, and help you avoid any unnecessary and potentially costly repair bills.
Those Pesky Oil Changes
For decades, the 3,000-mile oil change was the standard, but once again, times have definitely changed. The advent of synthetic motor oil and advances in engine performance have allowed some owners to put off changing the vehicle’s oil for 5,000, 7,500 and in some instances an astonishing 10,000 miles. When it comes to your high-mileage car, banish the dream of the 10,000 mile oil change because now, more than ever, it’s critical to swap out that dirty lubricant every 3,000 miles like clockwork. Also, there are several brands of motor oil specifically designed for use in high-mileage vehicles. The oil, which is designed to reduce engine wear and condition the engine seals, is a little more costly than your traditional bottle of 10W-30, but well worth the added expense.
A younger, more foolhardy version of the responsible individual you are now probably performed some pretty reckless maneuvers in your car when it was new. Unfortunately, your high-mileage vehicle must now be handled with kid gloves because it isn’t getting any younger. This begins by accelerating slowly instead of stomping your foot on the gas pedal. Allow your car to warm up for a few minutes on a cold winter morning and by all means, avoid excessive idling at all costs. When in doubt, follow your basic driver’s education training and the posted speed limits to keep your older vehicle running smoothly.
Don’t Fear Repairs
No vehicle owner is immune to the dreaded repair bills, and as your car ages it will require you to swap out brake pads, replace belts and remedy any other problems that occur simply because of wear. If you’re faced with this dilemma, and have more than the rudimentary know-how, don’t hesitate to fix the car yourself. When in doubt, enlist the help of your friendly neighborhood auto parts store or get your friends together for an afternoon of fun and vehicle repair. When it comes to your vehicle acumen, it’s important to remain realistic and know when you’re causing more harm than good. Remember that trusty mechanic? He is there to fix whatever problems arise, so don’t hesitate to call on him when the job becomes too overwhelming.
About the Author: Kelly Meyers is a guest blogger and the owner of a small auto repair shop. When Kelly isn’t helping her customers, she can be found working on her own fleet of classic cars.