Recent reports state that the median age for cars on the road is over nine years, and that two-thirds have over 75,000 miles. Those numbers are likely to continue rising.
With influence from the economy, people are keeping their vehicles longer. Luckily, the fact that modern cars and trucks are more durable and reliable means that owning a high mileage vehicle doesn’t have to be a painful experience.
Consumers with over 100,000 miles on their vehicles often ask what service intervals they should follow. Let’s start with the special needs of the older vehicle.
No matter what, time and mileage will take its toll. The engine and transmission will have more sludge. The fuel, steering and brake systems will have build-up. There will be more dirt and contaminants in the fuel tank. Corrosion and deposits will be in the cooling system, and seals and gaskets will start to dry out. All of this, along with normal wear and tear, means that the engine might not be as strong as when it was new, so it will have to work harder to get the job done.
Ultimately, maintenance services will need to compensate. Consider high-mileage formulations for oil changes, transmission service, etc. These special formulations contain additives that condition the seals and gaskets to prevent leaks. They also work as a cleaning power against sludge. They cost a bit more, but they’re worth it.
If a service was recommended every, let’s say, 15,000 miles when the car was new, you should definitely continue to get the service done every 15,000 miles. Talk with your service advisor about the condition of your engine. Once he takes a look, he will tell you if he thinks you should adjust your service intervals for oil changes or other maintenance to account for the additional effort from your engine.
If anything, following recommended intervals is more important in a higher mileage vehicle. Skipping oil changes or other services can lead to serious problems that are not as prevalent in newer vehicles.
Have your NAPA AutoCare service advisor help you with an assessment of your older car. If you haven’t gotten around to a fuel system cleaning, or replacing power steering or brake fluid, a differential service or transmission service – it’s time to start taking care of those things. It’ll help keep you on the road for many more happy miles.