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How to make your car last longer

By Tara Baukus Mello ·
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Posted: 6 am ET

Have you ever asked your mechanic how to make your car last longer? That's what StrategyOne did in its latest survey conducted on behalf of Shell.

Ninety percent of the mechanics surveyed feel that today's car engines are more expensive to repair than they were five years ago, according to the Shell Mechanics Survey. That's something to keep in mind if you are getting ready to replace your car with a brand-new (or newer) model because you'll want to budget for your monthly payment on your car loan, higher auto insurance rates (as the car will be newer and worth more), as well as the cost of repairs once the car is out of warranty.

In the survey, mechanics provided their tips to make your car last longer. The top four things mechanics recommended were:

  • Change the oil at manufacturer-suggested intervals.
  • Replace fluids regularly.
  • Fill up with high-quality gasoline.
  • Rotate/align tires regularly.

For more tips, read Postponing car maintenance a costly error.

Tara Baukus Mello writes the cars blog as well as the weekly Driving for Dollars column, providing both practical financial advice for consumers as well as insight into the latest developments in the automotive world. Follow her on Facebook here or on Twitter @SheDrives.

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Shamla lamba
July 31, 2012 at 8:38 am

I have known PLENTY of folks who kept their cares in showroom condition but were terrible people and lived like third world country folks....Just not a very reliable indicator....To most people there's many more important things in life than an automobile.

George Thomas
July 31, 2012 at 8:24 am

I agree with Mark Sadows. I own a 2005 Chevy Cavalier that was purchased from Enterprise Auto Rental company in 2006. It had about 32000 miles on it. Six years later,it only has 62000. I have the oil changed every 2000 miles,keep it clean,have routine maintance done as required by owner's manual at local Chevy dealership. I average around 32mpg. Great vehicle!

Allan Puplis
July 27, 2012 at 9:46 am

My 1994 suburban has 352,000 miles on it. I have changed the oil every 3000 miles. Original engine. New trans at 306,000 miles. Accelerate slowly works well on gas mileage.

July 24, 2012 at 11:06 pm

I have always owned foreign cars which call for premium unleaded only. I take excellent care of my car it is a 98 Acura 3.2TL.. It still smell like a new car and looks new. You really can tell a lot about a person the way they keep there car.

Richard Rowe
July 24, 2012 at 9:49 pm

Have a '98 Corvette Coupe. It has 228,500 miles on it, and is still running strong. The Vette does have a oil life function on the DIC. I've changed it when it told me to. When I was commuting 180 miles a day in a lot of stop-and-go, hurry up and wait traffic, my gauge would tell me about every 3500 miles to change.
I have since retired and travel about 180 miles a month now. The last oil change came after 6500 miles on the computer. Easy driving, trying to make it last. The only thing I did was find a drain plug that was magnetic. I am amazed at what is stuck to that plug, every time I change oil.

woodie 1
July 24, 2012 at 5:39 pm

I have a 1997 Suzuki with 96500 miles non the engine. Using the proper gas plus a oil change every 3000 miles has kept my ride going with few problems other than routine repairs. This vehicle is in great shape for the age.

Charles S.
July 23, 2012 at 4:53 pm

Wow Joe! They are idiots? Where does it say you should run your car on a higher octane fuel? I can't find that statement. I see where it says use high-quality gas, but quality and octane are no more synonymous in gasoline than quality and alcohol content are in whiskey.

July 23, 2012 at 4:50 pm

I judge folks based on how thier car appears---clean and well kept showing some pride of ownership. Sloppy car care, sloppy person---it's been 90% right! As to long life----cheapest thing you can do is proper oil change intervals. Stay away from turbo-charged engines and high octane fuel requirements. Read your owners manual---front to back----highlight important areas or commit to memory. Do not be afraid to pop the hood and do a fluids check yourself,it's not brain surgery.Choose top of the line trim packages as you will be happier with your purchase longer---RB

Joe White
July 23, 2012 at 4:02 pm

I think who ever wrote this is an idiot and wrong if you run your car on higher octane and it's designed and made for regular(87) running your car or truck with higher octane fuel may cause it to run rough or have bad gas mileage and also knock who ever wrote this is an idiot or works for a oil/gas company if you want your car or truck to last longer and run like new use full synthetic oil's don't use conventional oil also you don't have to change your oil that much with full synthetic oil I only change my oil once or twice a year depending how much I drive I use mobil 1 fully synthetic extended performance or Castrol Edge.

Mark Sadows
July 23, 2012 at 12:54 pm

You forgot the number one way to make your car last: Try not to drive it too much.