A car is the ultimate financial black hole. They all depreciate in value. Many of today’s modern vehicles are meant to last more than 100,000 miles or more.
1. Buy the right vehicle
If you want to drive your car for another five or 10 years to save money for your kid’s schooling or to remodel your home, it all starts with buying the right vehicle, whether new or used, and dependability is the key.
Consumer Reports and JD Power have a list of dependable cars, new and used. Earlier this year, iSeeCars.com released its latest annual ranking of cars most likely to last more than 200,000 miles. Sport utility vehicles dominate the list.
2. Follow your car’s maintenance schedule
To reach that milestone, one of the first things is to follow your car’s maintenance schedule. Every car has its own schedule, set by the manufacturer. Typically, you can find these recommendations in your vehicle’s owner’s manual.
The schedule varies by car model, but there’s a general breakdown of which types of services are required once you pass 15,000 miles, 30,000 miles and so on.
3. Don’t skip preventative maintenance
It’s easy and tempting to skip preventive maintenance. After all, why spend money fixing something that isn’t broken? However, Mom was right: An ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure. If you catch a problem early, you’ll save money, and likely extend the life of your vehicle to get to 200,000 miles.
4. Change the timing belt
Change your car’s timing belt before something goes wrong. This should be part of your car’s maintenance schedule. Many people skip replacing the timing belt because it can cost several hundred dollars but ignoring this form of maintenance can be a big mistake.
Depending on how your car’s engine is configured, the timing belt keeps the internal parts working properly Once again, spending a bit of money now can help protect your car from the type of expensive damage that can kill your 200,000-mile dreams.
5. Purchase quality parts
Purchase quality parts. Buying car parts on the cheap is another example of how saving money today can cost you a lot of cash over the long haul. As Consumer Reports notes: cheap and no-name belts and hoses might not wear as well as those from a name-brand supplier.
Instead of shopping for bargain-basement deals, Consumer Reports suggests using parts and fluids that meet manufacturer specifications.
6. Find a good mechanic
Finally, find a great mechanic, one who can provide sound advice and car care without ripping you off in the process. Today’s cars are basically computers on wheels, which is why you don’t want to trust backyard mechanics or hobbyists with your ride.
Also, a great mechanic would be proud to show you his or her technical certifications