5 Tips for Taking Care of Your Elderly, High-Mileage… Car

in Culture, You


According to a press release today put out by AutoMD.com, looks like I am in familiar company with a whole bunch of other people who drive older vehicles. I’ve got a Camry – I swear those things last forever. Along with my mother AND my brother. Mine is pretty old and also has around 160,000 miles.

68% of people surveyed on AutoMD.com are planning to drive their vehicle past 150,ooo miles.(1)

I want to publish these 5 tips for maintaining older, high-mileage vehicles because let’s face it – many people are still feeling the effects of recession/depression/money famine. Entrepreneurs are certainly among them. I’ve not yet bought into the theory that most entrepreneurs are rolling in it. I think that’s total B.S., and the reality is that most of us are learning the art of frugality wherever we can. And that means that we’re not trading in our still working older cars for shiny new ones anytime soon.

And guess what?

Just because we’re biz chicks, that doesn’t mean we don’t drive, buy cars, or have to maintain them, too! So everyone needs this kind of information.

Here are AutoMD.com’s top 5 tips for keeping cars with 75,000+ miles running smoothly and getting the most out of it.

1. Keep Up With Service

Just because your vehicle is long in the tooth doesn’t mean that it doesn’t need ongoing TLC – in fact it needs it more than ever!  Be particularly rigorous about keeping it lubed and the filters clean, an older engine needs all the help it can get. Be sure to change the oil and oil filter every 3,000 to 5,000 miles. Continue to check the service required as delineated in your owner’s manual, with particular attention to tire and brake wear.

How to Change Your Oil

How to Replace an Air Filter

2. Looks Are Still Important! Even After 75

As your vehicle ages, the paint/ finish becomes more vulnerable to the elements, which could lead to rust, so, if you can, keep your vehicle in the garage to protect it from the elements or consider a cover if you don’t have a garage. And, to prolong the quality of its interior, remember the surgeon general’s warning: smoking is hazardous to your vehicle interior’s health…and it will make your vehicle smell. Be sure to be vigilant about cleaning and treating your leather upholstery and cleaning and protecting the carpet and upholstery.

3. Timing is Everything: Replace That Belt

If your vehicle has a timing belt, it’s very important to replace it at the recommended interval (60,000 miles or more). A stretched timing belt affects engine performance, and a broken belt can leave you stranded.  If you have an interference engine, a broken belt will also cause engine damage!

How to replace a timing belt

4. Take It Easy When You Drive

Cars that are driven easy last longer. Avoid driving habits that put stress and strain on your vehicle, such as fast driving, hitting curbs, off-roading, and trailer towing.

5Support those Tires

Maintaining your tires is critical to how your vehicle rides … and vehicle safety. If tires are unevenly worn or out of balance, your car may pull or shake when you drive, potentially damaging other components. So, be sure to keep your tires properly inflated; rotate and balance them every other oil change; routinely check for uneven wear and be sure to keep them clean, and cover them if you leave your vehicle stored for long periods of time.

How to check tire pressure

How to rotate tires

How to balance tires

Read the entire press release at PRNewswire.

For more information, visit www.automd.com for your auto repair needs.

(1) Car owners continue to hold onto their vehicles longer, planning to put more miles on them than in previous years, according to a survey of car owners conducted by AutoMD.com:http://www.automd.com/about-automd/press/07-07-2011/

About AutoMD.com

AutoMD.com™ (www.automd.com), a wholly-owned subsidiary of U.S. Auto Parts Network, Inc., (Nasdaq: PRTS), is the most comprehensive and unbiased free online automotive repair resource designed to empower car owners with the best way to repair their vehicles. Backed by a team of automotive data specialists and certified auto mechanics who are advocates for the car owner, AutoMD.com allows both car owners and DIYers to 1. Troubleshoot car problems, 2. Know how much auto repairs should cost, 3. Understand the steps needed and the time it should take with How-to Auto Repair guides, 4. Find the right local auto repair shop at the right price for their issue, and 5. Get auto repair questions answered by the AutoMD.com community. AutoMD.com was named Best Automotive Website in the 8th annual American Business Awards, also known as the as the Stevie® Awards. AutoMD Mobile is available for the iPhone at iTunes.

Image: bigjom

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

DonPeterson August 29, 2011 at 11:51 pm

Great tips! I would like to add one more that many owners overlook: Change your transmission fluid every 25,000 miles. When transmission fluid is kept clean, it can keep a transmission running like new for more than 125,000 miles.


Tia Peterson July 29, 2011 at 4:21 am


annedreshfield July 27, 2011 at 4:07 pm

@Tia Peterson I’m heading back at the end of August, and at the moment my car’s air conditioning doesn’t work — might be an uncomfortable drive!

Tia Peterson July 27, 2011 at 3:40 pm

@annedreshfield Yep, that car should last you awhile if you maintain it! And hopefully it gets good gas mileage. When do you go back to school?

annedreshfield July 27, 2011 at 3:02 pm

Great post, Tia! I’ve got a ’98 Volvo S70 that I’m going to bring to school this upcoming fall, and it’s in good shape for a Volvo — mileage is only in the 80k region, which is a tiny amount compared to other cars! Little things have started to fail in the car, and I’m going to fix it up a little bit before I make the roadtrip from Washington state to California — we’ll see how it goes. 🙂 Thanks for the tips!

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