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Maintenance for a High Mileage Vehicle

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Image Courtesy of Flickr

The average car driven in America is nine years old. Over half of those cars have 75,000 miles or more on the odometer. As vehicles age, they require vigilant care. If you are one of the people who have an older vehicle, follow these maintenance tips to keep it running well.

Change Oil Regularly

Having your oil changed regularly is the best advice. However, for your high mileage car you may want to make the switch to motor oil specifically designed for engines with high mileage.

Find a Qualified Mechanic

If you aren’t mechanically inclined, be sure that the person you choose to work on your car is an ASE-certified mechanic. A certified mechanic can explain what your car needs and why.

Look Out for Warning Signs

Older cars may rattle more than newer ones but it’s important to be sure nothing serious is wrong. If a noise develops, your car doesn’t feel as responsive as usual or if it’s running hot, have it looked over. If there is a mechanical issue, it could save you a lot of time and money if it is caught early.

Watch for Leaking Oil

If you see oil stains beneath your car, don’t ignore it. This signals a possible leak. High-mileage cars have problems with seals breaking down causing leaks. If you haven’t switched over to high mileage motor oil, ask your mechanic if this would help. The oils made for cars with high mileage engines work by causing seals to swell, creating a plug to prevent oil leaks.

Tune-Up Checklist

You should get in the habit of having regular tune-ups. While your car may be running smoothly now, tune-ups are insurance that it stays that way. It should consist of an oil change, tire-pressure check and rotation. In addition, belts need to be inspected and changed as they wear out. A brake line inspection, spark plug/air filter check and a look at the fuel injector should be included as well.

Battery Testing

If your high mileage car will be driven during periods of snow, ice and extremely cold temperatures, you need to have your battery tested to ensure it won’t die when the first cold spell hits. Sometimes the best option is to buy a heavy-duty winter battery.

Protect Your Car from Body Damage

To help preserve the youthful appearance of your car, shelter it when not in use. Ideally, park your car in a dry location, such as a garage. Protecting it from weather damage will prevent your high mileage car from showing its age.

If you treat your car properly and maintain the various systems as they age, your car should last a very long time.