In hard times like these, many of us are looking to stretch our dollar as far as possible. One simple way to do that is by getting the most use out of your car as you can. Not too long ago, you might’ve been laughed at for saying you wanted to make your car last 200k miles, but improvements in overall durability and reliability have quickly made it much easier to make your car last beyond typical expectations. 

If you want tips on how to make your car last, look no further. Whether you’re looking to stretch your car’s lifespan for financial reasons, or simply because you can’t bear to part with your trusty ride, we’ve got you covered on everything you need to know. 

Know your maintenance schedule

One of the biggest keys to making your car last? Learning your maintenance schedule like the back of your hand. Forgetting routine maintenance like tire rotations, oil changes, and air filter replacements can seriously lower your car’s lifespan, and lead to more expensive (and avoidable) repairs down the line. 

The great thing about this aspect of maintenance is that everything you need to do is already laid out for you in your owner manual. Just stick to the schedule and you’ll be good to go. Haven’t been keeping up with maintenance as well as you should be? It’s never too late to get a fresh start. If this is the case, we recommend talking to a mechanic first. 

Don’t skimp on parts

There are some things in life where a brand name doesn’t matter. Car parts are not one of those things. Just remember that a few bucks saved here and there aren’t worth it if you’re looking at a major repair down the line. 

Instead of opting for cheaper fluids or parts, look for quality products that will actually suit your car and its engine. You’ll be thankful later. 

Don’t drive on empty

Another easy way to help your car last 200k miles is to always keep the gas tank filled. The thing about petrol is, it always leaves just a little bit of sediment lingering at the bottom of your fuel tank. Driving on empty can actually push some of that sediment into your engine, which obviously isn’t great for your car’s longevity.

Just remember to keep your fuel tank full whenever possible! 

Keep your car squeaky clean

Who likes a dirty car? We certainly don’t, and it turns out your car doesn’t really appreciate it either. Routinely washing and waxing your car can help keep rust from forming, and vacuuming the interior can help prevent premature wear and tear. 

Plus, the more attention you give your car, the more likely you’ll be able to spot small problem areas like scratches or loose parts.

Already have some pesky rust forming on your car? We’ve got a few quick fixes on how to remove rust from your car easily

Learn to pay attention to your car if you want it to hit 200k miles

Lastly, a big part of making your car last is learning how to familiarize yourself with all of the sights, sounds, and smells that make up your car. Even with the most well-kept car, problems can pop up unexpectedly, so understanding how to spot them before they become bigger issues is critical.

Listen for any odd noises on the road, and make note if you start smelling anything odd. Signs like these are a good indication to take your car in for a quick inspection. 

Now that you know how to help your car last 200k miles, you might want to look into some cheap, easy car upgrades you can DIY at home.

Claire Biggerstaff
Claire Biggerstaff is a freelance writer and photographer from Charlotte, NC. Her curiosity leads her to write about a wide variety of topics. On her off days, she enjoys reading Polygon articles, and curling up to a good YouTube playlist.

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    1. I am not too too far from the 2000K mark and I plan to hit it. But I must admit that I haven’t been great at timely maintenance. I just hope I am able to keep it running a few more years.

    2. My good old Honda Accord is at 185K. I’m hoping it’ll make it the 200!

    3. Making my car last is the goal with this one. I’m not planning on buying a new car for the foreseeable future.

    4. Making my car last is the goal with this one. I’m not planning on buying a new car for the foreseeable future.

    5. This are really great tips to keep in mind. I will be definitely coming back to this article. I would like to improve my car maintenance and this article helped me a lot to get started.

    6. This is something I have spent a lot of time trying to explain to my partner. She keeps thinking that new cars shouldn’t need a lot of maintenance. Owning her first helped her understand that having a car isn’t as easy as she thinks. There were so many things I wish I had known when I got my first car. I think if I had did more research I would probably still be driving it today.

    7. The proper choice image for this article

    8. Great article, it’s important to keep the car clean, fluids changed and the tank full.

    9. Change your fluids and filters, and replace parts as recommended not, when they break after making strange noises for many miles. You will be glad you did.

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