5 On Your Side

Choose wisely to keep car running longer

Posted March 5, 2013

When Ariel Manacher bought his Toyota Camry in 1996, he never imagined the car would hit 226,000 miles.

“I am the first owner, and I will be the last owner,” he said. “I didn’t know it would get this far, but it did, and we’re pleased.”

Consumer Reports auto expert Liza Barth said a lot of people don’t realize the long-term financial benefits of keeping a car for so long.

“Our research shows if you hit 200,000 miles, which takes the average driver about 15 years, you could potentially save more than $30,000,” Barth said.

To save money, it’s important to shop for a car you can live with long term.

“Make sure it fits your lifestyle and don’t compromise on features, especially safety features, like electronic stability control and a rear-view camera, if you can get it,” Barth said.

It is also important to pick a vehicle with a reliable track record, like Manacher’s Toyota Camry.

Choose wisely to keep car running longer Choose wisely to keep car running longer

Consumer Reports offers these tips:

  • Check your oil once per month on a newer vehicle, or more if you’ve noticed leaks.
  • Check your tire pressure at least once a month.
  • Wash your car once a week. It’s time to wax it when the water beads are larger than a quarter.

It is also important to stick to the maintenance schedule in the owner’s manual.

Oil changes are very important, but only get them when they are necessary. Consumer Reports says there’s no need to go overboard.

“Don’t waste money on maintenance you don’t need,” Barth said. “Many vehicles can go 10,000 miles versus 3,000 miles for an oil change.”

Also, don’t skip on parts – trying to save a couple of bucks on cheap parts and fluids could cost more in the long run.

Finally, like Manacher, listen for any strange sounds and get small things fixed before they become a big problem.

“The car starts every day, and that’s what you really want in a car,” Manacher said. “You want to get in it and go. You don’t want to worry about it.”

Consumer Reports said when repairs start to cost more than the car is worth, or if the car starts to be unreliable even with frequent repairs, it’s probably time to replace it.


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  • 68_dodge_polara Mar 8, 2013

    "I have a 2007 Tacoma No power windows, no intermediate wipers but you know what, it runs great, have 80k on it and look to having it several more years...."

    Yep, the more complex the vehicle more it will cost to maintain as that junk starts to break.

  • 68_dodge_polara Mar 8, 2013

    Some where around 10 Years ago they did a study with New York cabs which is sever duty and is more than what we put our vehicles through. They found that damage started to occur at 6 thousand miles. I think the higher the mileage the more often oil might be need to be changed but that wasn't apart of the study and is only an opinion.

  • SouthernPackerFan Mar 8, 2013

    "electronic stability control and a rear-view camera"

    important features?

    I thought this was a serious article.......

    yeah I saw that.

    I have a 2007 Tacoma No power windows, no intermediate wipers
    but you know what, it runs great, have 80k on it and look to having it several more years....

  • SouthernPackerFan Mar 8, 2013

    10, 000 miles between oil changes? Bad advice Consumer Reports
    living the dream

    disagree, Toyotas are notorious for allowing 5-7000 miles between changes, 3000 was a ploy for you to change it more frequently, thus more money to the folks who change it for you

  • living the dream Mar 8, 2013

    10, 000 miles between oil changes? Bad advice Consumer Reports. Anyone trying to get that kind of mileage between oil changes should have oil samples lab tested to verify when the oil is "spent". And use a premium brand. Some oils claim to have extended interval services, but most will recommend lab testing.

  • 68_dodge_polara Mar 6, 2013

    My wife's 92 Accord had 397,000 miles when the transmission died, we junked it. They don't make them like that any more.

    The late 80's to early 90's Toyotas and early to mid 90's Hondas were the longest lasting vehicles ever. Not the safest, but longest lasting.

  • luvtoshag Mar 6, 2013

    My 2000 Toyota Camry had 396,418 miles when the transmission went out 2 weeks ago. Great car.

  • 68_dodge_polara Mar 6, 2013

    You know what really cheezes me off is if you drive a car for many years and maintain it and keep it in good running condition someone can hit it and do very little damage but because it's value is below a couple of thousand dollars or less their insurance company (if your lucky they have insurance) will write you a check for a thousand bucks and walk away while you have to spend thousands to get car that is as good condition mechanically as the one they just totalled.

  • 68_dodge_polara Mar 6, 2013

    Buy parts not made in China as much of these parts have gotten really bad.

  • fuzzmom Mar 6, 2013

    beaupeep, agreed. Also, there's the value to "you." Sometimes what the car is valued at and what it's worth to you are not one in the same. I don't know that it's wise to get rid of a car that needs expensive maintenance- ex. timing belt replaced, just because the car is "technically" has low book value, simply because of its age and miles. When you know what you have, ex. you are the 1st or 2nd owner and you know the car has been well cared for, why not continue to do so? I don't think it's wise to get rid of an older car with 200k+ miles simply because it's time to pay the piper. Cars age and things have to be done. It doesn't mean it's a clunker.