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How to get your car to 200,000 miles

Maintaining an automobile is a challenging yet rewarding endeavor. Carlozo offers this checklist to help you keep your car on the road for 200,000 miles. 

By Lou CarlozoGuest blogger / November 13, 2013

Tires are lined up for a NASCAR Sprint Cup series auto race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. Tire care is important to car longevity, Carlozo explains.

Tim Sharp/AP Photo


Whether it’s a source of aggravation or pride (or likely a bit of both), owning a car requires significant investment to keep it in tip-top shape, especially if you're planning on driving it for 200,000 miles. However, there is a payoff: from zero car payments to far fewer cosmetic repairs to worry about once the car is past the 100,000 mile mark, maintaining an automobile is a rewarding endeavor. Just make sure to follow the advice from Evelyn Kanter, an automotive journalist and columnist with Motor Matters.

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"Every time the odometer kicks over into multiple zeros it's a major milestone, and a good reminder to take your faithful wheels in for a mechanical check-up," Kanter says. Here's a checklist of exactly you need to maintain and watch out for to keep your car on the road for 200,000 hard-earned miles.

Change Your Oil

Thanks to places like Jiffy Lube, we're all more conscious about the importance of oil changes. And for older cars, they're even more crucial. An oil change used to be recommended for every 3,000 miles, but the beloved Car Talk Radio guys say every 5,000 is just fine, unless you "drive like a knucklehead [with] jackrabbit starts, heavy acceleration or high-speed driving." People who drive in extreme climates should change their car's oil and filter more often, too. Want to learn more about how to choose the right motor oil for your car?

Drive Calmly

Road rage issues aside, bad driving habits put more wear and tear on your car. "Smart driving habits ... and observing speed limits will squeeze more miles out of each gallon of gas, and put less stress on the transmission and engine," Kanter says. Engaging in herky-jerky driving and rough behavior will lead your car's engine and undercarriage to wear out faster. 

Rotate and Inflate Tires

We all know that properly inflated tires can extend a car's gas mileage, but they also save wear and tear on your car, and reduce the risk of blowouts. The average person who drives 12,000 miles yearly on under-inflated tires uses about 144 extra gallons of gas, at a cost of roughly $600 a year (given $4 a gallon gas), according to the federal government's Fuel Economy website.

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