The Ultimate Guide to High Mileage Car Care

The average American drives their car between 10,000 (women) and 16,000 (men) miles per year. It's tempting to see the latest models of cars and think, I want that. But with today’s inflation prices skyrocketing, you may want to hold onto the car you currently have.

Most cars have a life expectancy of 200,000 miles, and some can go even longer. Follow these tips to keep your vehicle running in tiptop shape.

The Basics

  • Following the recommended tune-ups found in your owner’s manual.
  • Following the oil change intervals.
  • Make sure that the tires are well-maintained.
  • Take care of minor issues before the problem gets worse.
  • Always check, top off, and replace fluids.
  • Checking and replacing belts and filters.
  • Washing and waxing the car regularly.
  • Caring for the battery.
  • Cleaning the fuel system.

Toyota considers driving 12,000-15,000 everyday annual use. Anything more than that is considered high mileage. To maintain your vehicle, they recommend budgeting to follow the recommended oil change intervals, ensuring tires are well-maintained and taking care of minor issues before they worsen.

Daniel Foley, an SEO Specialist of UNAGI Scooters, recommends changing the engine oil in your car every three months or 3,000 kilometers, whichever comes first.

“This is a critical practice since your car’s engine is its beating heart, and motor oil is its lifeblood,” said Foley. “Keep track of your oil changes because one cannot function without the other.”

Other recommendations include checking the air pressure in your car’s tires at least once a month. This preventative measure can help avoid sudden flats and excessive tire wear. Foley says that vehicles with incorrect air pressure will also lose significant gas mileage.

In addition to this, paying attention to warning indicators can be helpful. However, not all noises indicate that something is wrong.

“Cars, like people, have quirks, and you’ll quickly figure out what’s normal for yours,” Foley said.

Listen to Your Vehicle's Cues

It is always important to pay attention to the internal cues and the external ones. Leaking oil or coolant in your car, for example, could indicate a significant problem.

Experts suggest examining your driveway or parking space for any oil stains or spots that could indicate a fluid leak. Special conditioners in high-mileage motor oils help maintain your seals in good shape.

Seal protection helps prevent leakage – a typical problem in older, higher-mileage car engines. Getting your car serviced regularly is something experts recommend.

Even though your high-mileage vehicle may appear in good condition, there is no guarantee.

Which Brand's High Mileage Vehicles Take the Top Spot?

According to an iSeeCars study, Toyotas are some of the longest-lasting high-mileage vehicles on the market. 1.6 percent of used Toyotas in 2020, sold with over 200,000 miles on the odometer were still on the road.

The Toyota Land Cruiser ranked both under all vehicles and full-size SUVs at the top of their research. The car was in the top 15.7% of vehicles over 200K miles for both categories. Other Toyota vehicles in the study included the 4Runner, Tundra, Avalon, Highlander Hybrid, and the Prius.

The Drive also found Toyotas ranking at the top in a similar study. According to their research, the design of the Avalon won “World’s Most Reliable Car.” Toyota models came up in that research more than any other brand.

Toyotas pickup trucks dominated the lists, with the Tundra and Tacoma making the top five spots. Toyota has three of the top five with the Highlander, Sequoia, and Land Cruiser.

Caring for High Mileage Vehicles

How can you extend the life of your high mileage car? Prolonging the life of your high-mileage vehicle can save money on purchasing a new one.

Continue Following the Recommended Maintenance

Caring for your high-mileage vehicle means doing all the recommended maintenance, tune-ups, or services that the manufacturer sets. This includes the tips listed above, such as replacing oil, filters, tire rotation, belts, hoses, etc. Consult your owner’s manual for additional information.

Practice Good Driving Habits

To ensure that your car will last longer without any significant problems, avoid rapid acceleration, hard braking or decelerating, and other driving habits that can cause too much stress on your car.

Bad driving habits can lead to unnecessary wear and tear on your vehicle. Caring for these vehicles includes driving gently or calmly. Accelerate smoothly and try to avoid slamming your brakes. This will extend the life of your car and its components.

Make Sure That Your Car Is Always Clean

It is essential to keep both your car’s interior and exterior clean. A good wash will help eliminate any objects that may cause rust, particularly on your car’s underside, not protected by paint. Waxing your car regularly will help to protect the paint.

Drive Your Car Longer

Cars are meant to be driven, both long and short trips. To maintain your high mileage vehicle, you need to make fewer short trips. Operating only on short trips can allow water to build up in the engine and exhaust system, leading to rust. Short drives can also cause engine sludge since the engine won’t be hot enough to properly burn off the fuel in the oil, motor, and exhaust system.

Caring for your high mileage vehicle and getting the proper service can help prevent transmission problems. These problems typically happen after the 100,000-mile mark and can be corrected by either repairing the faulty parts or replacing the entire transmission.

If this is the problem, you need to decide if it’s still worth repairing, or you may want to consider selling your car to buy a new one.

This article was produced and syndicated on Wealth of Geeks.