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High Mileage Car Maintenance


eople do get attached to their cars. Statistics confirm that Americans are holding onto the vehicles longer and putting more miles on them than in the past. The average age of our cars is greater than nine years, and more than 68 percent of those cars have traveled more than 75,000 miles.

Itís common sense that as a vehicleís engine ages, its performance declines. Oil starts to break down at a faster rate, seals begin to corrode, gaskets become brittle, and oil consumption increases. All this leads to a decrease in engine performance.

By consistently following certain rules for high-mileage vehicle maintenance, you will help keep your car on the road.

aBe sure to change the oil every three months or 3,000 miles, whichever comes first. This is non-negotiable. If your engine is the heart of your car, then the oil is its lifeblood. One canít function without the other. A premium motor oil formulated for higher-mileage cars can act like an anti-aging potion.

aLocate a talented, reliable mechanic. Like a good doctor, a good mechanic will listen to your questions and complaints, and will explain all procedures clearly. Make sure your mechanic is ASE-certified (ASE stands for American Society of Engineers).

aCheck your tire pressure every month, if not more frequently. Under inflated tires are the cause of most flats and blowouts. Buy a tire gauge or have a service attendant perform the check. Additionally, have your tires rotated regularly and check their alignment, either as part of a regular tune-up or with every other oil change.

aDonít dismiss any warning signs, such as that strange thumping or annoying pinging sound you hear. Though every car has its own particular quirks, a high-mileage vehicle requires extra special care. Itís wise to check out any symptom that is remotely abnormal, whether itís a weird smell, sound, or just a strange feeling. Itís always better to be safe than to be sorry.

aPay attention to outward signs. An old car leaking fluids can indicate a serious problem. Look underneath for puddles and check your driveway for spots or stains. There are High Mileage motor oils that contain special conditioners to protect and maintain seals, which helps prevent leakage ó a common problem in high-mileage engines.

aCommit to regular tune-ups. Even if your high-mileage car appears to be fine, there is no guarantee that it is. Tune-ups confirm that your carís major components are in good shape and that they will stay in good shape. Your tune-up should include your oil changed, tires checked and possibly rotated, belts checked and replaced, brake lines inspected, spark plugs and air filters checked and replaced, and the fuel injector checked. Go the extra mile and have an overall analysis done of the carís engine and undercar, safety and computer systems.

aPrepare your car for each season, unless you live in a sunny climate year-round. You can obtain a list of seasonal maintenance needs from the internet or from your auto shop. Preparing and protecting your car from the elements will reduce the possibility of breakdowns and save you money on costly repairs.

aRegularly check the fluids. In an older engine, itís dangerous for its vital fluids to dry up or become dirty. So use the dipstick to check the oil and glance at the coolant reservoir to see if you need to add more cooling fluid.

aProtect your car. Store it in a dry, temperate location when itís not in use to prevent disastrous wear and tear on both its interior and exterior. A garage is the ideal place for an older car to call home.

aMonitor your carís safety features. There is nothing more important than your car's ability to protect its passengers. Check air bags, antilock brakes, and any additional safety features you have added on a regular basis. You will need them to perform their lifesaving functions in the event of an accident.

In other words, take care of your car, and it will take care of you!


Also see:

Your Car's Exterior  

Scratching the Surface -tips for minor repairs for the do-it-yourselfer.

It's a Dangerous World Out There without a Proper Car Cover -learn the pros/cons of the different car covers on the market.

Selecting the Right Tires for Your Car -get the scoop on selecting the proper tires.

Are Drive-Through Car Washes Safe For Your Car? -Get a professional job or do-it-yourself?  Find out here.



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