Five Maintenance Tips for Cars with Over 100,000 Miles

By Trevor Dorchies | August 17, 2011
Driving a vehicle past the 100,000 mile mark has become more common, with the erratic economy convincing many to hang onto their current rides longer than ever before.  If that describes you, and you want to go another 100,000 miles, keeping up with your regularly scheduled maintenance is key. Here are five important tips to follow if you want to see that odometer keep ticking higher.
  1. High Mileage Oil—Once the odometer hits the six-figure mark, start using oil designed for high-mileage engines, and change it every 3000 miles or 90 days. These special  oils have different additives that are designed to work better with an engine that has more wear on it. Changing it regularly is just as important, because old oil gets dirty and breaks down over time, potentially damaging the engine. Be sure to stick to one brand of oil as well, since switching brands can expedite the build-up of damaging engine sludge.
  2. Follow your owner's manual—Your owner's manual will always have good information to keep your car healthy for a long time. For example, be sure to use the right grade of fuel; just because it's old doesn't mean you should skip that 91-octane fuel your owner's manual says your car needs. Also read the other maintenance tips, such as making sure your power steering fluid is topped off, and changing out your battery every five years.
  3. Regular service—Have your car serviced at regular intervals. While things like belts, coolant and spark plugs are designed to last longer than ever, 100,000 miles is a long time, and they might be wearing out. Be sure to have them and other things like your air filter examined, and your fluids topped off. If you live in a climate susceptible to wet weather or where there are severe winters, be sure to check under your vehicle for any sign of rust.  Have an ASE certified mechanic check engine compression, too, as this can be the first indication of a serious problem with your engine.
  4. Get an alignment—Roads in the U.S. are littered with cracks and potholes, so be sure to have an alignment and check the wheel bearings when needed. If your car wants to go a little to the left or right when you're supposed to be going straight, it's probably time to see your neighborhood mechanic.
  5. Interior—Don't neglect the interior. For example, your car's floor has seen hundreds of wet or muddy feet and shoes. A lot of that moisture gets absorbed into your floor mats, so replace them before they wear out and your carpet is damaged. Then there are things like the steering wheel. After 100,000 miles the leather covering may be worn out, and threading on a new steering wheel cover may not be a bad idea.
Do you own a car with over 100,000 miles on the odometer? What do you do to keep it in top condition? Tell us about it below in the comment section.