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Simple maintenance can help prolong your car's life

Posted March 2, 2009
Updated March 3, 2009

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— It used to be that hitting 100,000 miles on your vehicle was a big deal, but not anymore.

Rebekah O'Connell's 1997 Honda Civic, for example, recently reached the 300,000 mark.

Ruby Elam's 1992 Toyota Camry has cruised more than 444,000 miles.

And Garland and Jamie Watson's 1986 Nissan King Cab truck has nearly 600,000 miles.

So what's the key to keeping them running?

They all have the same answer, and it matches the main advice of mechanics: Keep your oil changed.

Raleigh mechanic Tommy Horton says it's the most important thing you can do to keep your vehicle running.

Horton suggests changing it every 3,000 miles, regardless of what your owner's manual says.

"The oil gets dirty, and that's the life of a car, the engine itself, and if it gets sludged up or whatever, then you've got problems," Horton said.

Also, keep on top of problems.

Between changes, check all the fluids regularly. Beyond that, check belts and hoses for wear, look for leaks and pay attention to any odd smells or noises.

Horton says that unless you want a new vehicle, getting rid of your current one when it reaches 60,000 to 80,000 miles is a waste.

O'Connell and the Watsons say you don’t get any good out of the vehicle until it is paid for. Elam agrees.

"If the car's good, it doesn't matter how old it is – as long as it's in good condition and takes you where you want to go, and you keep it serviced," she said.

They say they have saved thousands by keeping their vehicles.

"I feel like we've got a couple of people's money's worth out of it," Elam said.

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  • Hevans1012 Mar 3, 2009

    It's funny to me how they say keep the oil changed. How about a tune up and timing belt (if your car has belt and not chain)? That timing belt snaps and your engine is done!

  • nighthawkcp Mar 3, 2009

    I am driving a 94 Ford Ranger right now that is at 248k+ and does 1300+ miles a month. So I'll be turning 250 before summer. Its been bought and paid for for years now and I have no reason to want to trade up, except to show off. But the money I save far outweighs my desire to go fast or look flashy. :)

  • freddie cadetti 72 Mar 3, 2009

    GM engine oil life monitor works. It monitors the oil 15 different ways and judges oil breakdown based on driving conditions. Normal oil change intervals are around 8000-9000 miles, with some as high as 16000. This is a true test of superior GM engine design and build. If you have a GM vehicle with an engine oil life monitor and are changing your oil at 3000 miles or before it says to, you are wasting your money , and oil.

  • 68_polara Mar 3, 2009

    I wouldn't consider a Honda or Toyota even broken in to until about 100,000 miles. The Fiancée accord has 380,000

  • poorboy Mar 3, 2009

    dont forget 150,000 easy for GM, ford or chrsyler, I knew a guy in the 70's that never got under 350,000 on pontiac's from the 60's and 70's, and if he were alive he probloly wont buy forgein cars (like me)

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Mar 3, 2009

    100,000+ miles is easy...for a Honda, Toyota & Nissan.