Local News

Simple maintenance can help prolong your car's life

Posted March 2, 2009 5:04 p.m. EST
Updated March 3, 2009 5:07 p.m. EST

— 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.