- Regular maintenance is critical to keeping your vehicle running smoothly and preventing costly repairs. Follow manufacturer-specified service intervals, including timely oil changes and maintenance of critical components.
- Don’t skimp on auto parts. Choose high quality OEM parts or upgrade to better quality parts as needed.
- Be a careful driver and car owner. Pay attention to how your car drives and reacts, as this can indicate potential problems. Also, choose the right vehicle with a reliable powertrain for long-term reliability. JD Power’s research and surveys can provide valuable information for car buyers.
Whether you use a gearbox or not, it’s important to keep your car running reliably for as long as possible. A well-maintained car will not only help you save on running costs, but it’s also less likely to leave you stranded. Many people believe that keeping a car in perfect condition with high mileage can be expensive. However, the right practices can help now reliable cars last even longer and can even help make cars with notorious reliability issues more reliable.
Never underestimate the power of regular maintenance
It is important to follow the service intervals specified by the manufacturer
It goes without saying, but a surprising number of car buyers fail to properly service their cars at the required intervals. If the manufacturer recommends an oil change every 5,000-10,000 miles or once a year, it is a good idea to perform an oil change once a year, even if the vehicle has driven less than 5,000 miles since the last change. And while the motor oils used in today’s cars are good enough to last longer than the recommended intervals, it won’t hurt to follow these guidelines. Timely oil changes are an inexpensive way to keep your car running like new.
But changing the oil is only part of proper maintenance. Like us, a healthy car needs to breathe well. This means that changing the air filter and cleaning the throttle body can help the engine breathe much better. In diesel cars, cleaning the exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) valve every few years can also be a good idea.
Preventive maintenance matters
“On time saves nine” also applies to cars
Modern car engines are quite reliable thanks to decades of research and technological progress. This means that most regular road cars have engines that can last reliably for 300,000 miles. However, this largely depends on the components that help the engine run. For example, while timely oil changes will keep internal components well lubricated, there are other important engine components that may need your attention.
The simplest of all are innocent hoses and pipes. These are very minor components that are inexpensive and easy to replace, but can cause headaches if they fail. Something as tiny as a coolant hose clamp can cause your car’s engine to overheat and leave you stranded on the road. Most rubber and plastic components are built to last, but they are still subject to wear and tear. Usually, manufacturers recommend changing hoses and pipes every four years.
If we think of the engine as the heart of the car, the timing system ensures that the heart beats at the right time and sequence. Every split second counts when we’re talking about parts that move hundreds of times every second. Car manufacturers usually guarantee the reliability of timing components, but it is a good idea to check or replace these components every 60,000 to 100,000 miles. A tiny cut in the belt can cause it to break, potentially causing catastrophic engine failure.
Don’t buy cheap auto parts
In many cases, you really do get what you pay for
It may be tempting to save a few dollars on repairs by choosing cheaper replacement parts. However, it may cost more in the long run. As a general rule, for most off-road vehicles, the best quality components are OEM parts, which are offered directly by the manufacturer. For example, a third-party oil filter may be a little cheaper, but an original one will likely perform better.
And if you’re driving an older car, it doesn’t hurt to upgrade to parts that are known to be of better quality than the ones that came with your car. For example, many older cars were equipped with copper or platinum spark plugs. They work well, but wear out faster. Iridium spark plugs are much better: These new iridium spark plugs not only last longer, they are more efficient. Just make sure the parts you are going to upgrade are compatible with your car.
More often than not, what you save by using cheaper parts is not worth the compromise in quality. So whether it’s smaller, inexpensive parts like spark plugs and oil filters, or more expensive parts like suspension or braking systems, try to buy the highest quality parts. You’ll probably save more money in the long run this way…
Be a more attentive driver and car owner
Your car can talk – listen to what it wants to tell you
Cars can be surprisingly communicative machines, and all we need to do to understand what they are trying to tell us is to drive carefully. Sure, that might sound a little strange, but it’s not only true, but it’s also how some people (including mechanics) can diagnose what might be wrong with a car after a quick test drive. The next time you are behind the wheel, try to feel how the car is going. Pay attention to how it accelerates, brakes and turns. To give you an idea, stiff steering, a bumpy ride, and strange noises coming from the wheels are all signs of a worn suspension, one of the most frequently worn parts of any vehicle.
However, it’s much more than “talking” to your car. Simple things like making sure there are no active recalls on your vehicle can also make a big difference. Being more mindful of the fuel you put in your car and when you fill up can go a long way in helping your car last longer. Car manufacturers provide a recommended octane rating, and a car’s engine will likely perform best when it uses that type of fuel. So, while premium gasoline may seem like a gimmick, a higher-end car may need this high-octane fuel to run efficiently. Speaking of fueling up, avoid driving with less than a quarter tank of gas (or diesel) as this can be particularly damaging to the fuel pump.
Choose the right car
Well begun is half done
It goes without saying, but choosing a reliable car is critical to making it last 300,000 miles or more. That doesn’t necessarily mean you’re limited to simple city cars from automakers that make reliable cars. However, it does mean that a little research into the engine and transmission used in the car you’re considering can save you thousands of dollars in repairs. Japanese automakers like Toyota and Honda are known for making incredibly reliable cars, but that doesn’t mean they’re the only types of cars that can perform well even with high mileage. Choose a European car with a reliable powertrain and you can expect it to last well for hundreds of thousands of miles. A BMW with a reliable N52 engine has a better chance of hitting the 300,000 mile mark than a Subaru with an EJ25 engine.
Another great tip is to refer to JD Power’s research. Their reliability and reliability studies can give car buyers a more realistic view of the ownership experience, running costs and common problems reported by car owners.