How Long Should I Keep My Car?

Those are questions I get every week. And the answer is different for everyone. The answer to the first question depends on a couple of things. First, how well you have maintained it.

Vehicles nowadays are the best they have ever been. If you maintain them and by that I mean mechanically and body wise, they will easily last 300,000 miles plus.

And second, when they don’t suit your needs any longer. Perhaps you have a two door car and now you have a big family and need a bigger vehicle. Or you have a big vehicle, and need a downtown commuter. Then it’s time for a change.

And some folks just get bored with their vehicles, or they get what they feel is a “lemon.”

One that has more problems than they feel comfortable with and they feel it’s time for a change. Then, it is time to go. You have to drive a vehicle that you have confidence in.

Telltale Signs?

Like I said earlier, the new products are really good. And, as long as you do a little maintenance, like oil changes, they will usually make it to 75,000 miles with few problems. It is after that where it gets sketchy. After 100,000 miles you risk expensive transmission problems without doing a fluid flush. The same thing with the cooling system. The telltale signs are coolant leaks, overheating, belt squeaks and failures. When the transmission fails, it usually will start shifting funny. That is bad.

It is a good idea to do fluid flushes on the cooling system and transmission before 75,000 if you plan to keep the car. Earlier if you plan to keep the car a long time.

Bottom line is if you haven’t done these things to your vehicle, you should get rid of it before it becomes a problem. An automatic transmission replacement on a late model vehicle can easily be a $4000-$6000 cost. This makes maintenance look a little better.


They Can Last A Long Time

I have seen vehicles that have had really good maintenance that had 350,000 that were in better shape than some with one third as many miles. And were more valuable too! The trick is to find a shop that you trust and listen to their advice. When you trust them you know you aren’t being “sold” something you don’t need. When I had my shop, I remember having customers for 30 years. They were like family. (and still are) They are still friends that email me. This is the type of shop you need to find. They are out there; you just have to find them.

My Own Maintenance Schedule: I get emails every week asking what I do to my own cars. Ok, here it is, it’s not magic. It is really just maintaining your investment.

First of all, you can never go wrong using quality filters and fluids and changing them often. I change the oil in my vehicles every 5,000 miles and I use quality synthetic blend oil. And, I use a really good oil filter. I change my air filter every third oil change (a good one of those too). I rotate my tires every oil change. I flush my transmission fluid and differential fluid every 50,000 miles and I use synthetic fluid. I flush my coolant every 50,000 also. I use DOT 4 brake fluid and change it at the same time. I change my cabin filter every year. Belts and hoses are as needed, but usually at 6 years. I check my brakes every tire rotation and alignment once a year.

That’s pretty much it folks, I hope this helps.

Happy Motoring!