Mileage – the number of miles a car travels in its lifetime – is one of the critical points of consideration for car owners. Most motorists think that a vehicle with lower mileage is in better shape, but this might not always be the case as the physical state of a car can depend on the frequency of use.
How much mileage is too much mileage?
The old rule of thumb was that 100,000 miles was the maximum distance a car could drive before it started to have any issues, as the odometers on vehicles made in the 1960s and 1970s would roll back to zeros upon hitting 99,999 miles. A car hitting this milestone was considered a clunker destined for the junkyard, though numerous old cars have fared better thanks to good care on the part of owners.
Today, thanks to better automotive technology and improved maintenance measures, a car’s maximum mileage can go beyond 200,000 miles on average, depending on how frequently one drives. Some vehicles may take ten years to achieve this, but extensively driven vehicles may hit this mark even earlier. The average American motorist puts between 12,000 to 15,000 miles on their car per year, counting everyday city driving and the occasional out-of-town road trip.
Keeping this in mind, what issues will a car owner encounter once a car starts to show the impact of extensive use?
Common Issues Encountered in High-mileage Cars and How to Deal With Them
Considered one of the more expensive car parts to replace (often costing thousands of dollars,) automatic transmission starts having problems once the mileage goes over 100,000 miles. Regular and adequately done maintenance helps prevent transmission problems.
Hearing a loud screech is an undeniable sign that one needs to get the brakes checked and the brake pads fixed or replaced. Mileage doesn’t affect these directly, but hard use does: braking hard during stop-and-go traffic wears these bits out faster. Be sure to have your mechanic check during regular maintenance to catch any issues before they cause further damage to the engine.
Given how these hit the road frequently, these will wear out much faster than any other part of the car. Many dealers sell tires with a tread-wear warranty that gives an estimate on tire mileage, but the durability will still be affected by the way one drives as well as the frequency of use. Replace worn-out tires immediately as these can be hazardous.
These usually last around four or five years and are replaced regardless of how much mileage a car has chalked up.
A fuel pump usually lasts as long as the rest of the car. Changing the fuel filter in one’s pump every 50,000 miles can help extend its lifespan regardless of how much mileage a vehicle has. However, continually driving with a low tank can lead to extensive damage.
One of the more durable parts of a car’s engine, this can encounter issues between 60,000 and 90,000 miles. Once this begins to break down, a car runs the risk of overheating as it can start leaking coolant. It’s best to have this fixed or replaced as soon as possible.
Like the water pump, timing belts start showing wear and tear at around 60,000 to 90,000 miles. To prevent damage, many mechanics suggest replacing the belts as soon as necessary.
This is a standard part of preventive auto maintenance, but once a car hits 75,000 miles, things start to loosen in the engine, causing oil leaks and other problems. A switch to high-mileage oils can keep things running smoothly.
Proper Car Care Regardless of Mileage
Regardless of how much mileage you get out of your car, keeping it in good condition enables you to enjoy driving it for a long time. Proper car care involves:
Check the user’s manual that comes with the vehicle to see when a car needs a checkup or tune-up. Many car owners routinely have their vehicles checked every 50,0000 miles.
Address Issues ASAP
It doesn’t help to keep your car running even with the smallest issues. Best to get those checked by a mechanic before small problems escalate to big ones.
Choose the Best Possible Replacements
High-quality parts help keep a car in running condition for a long time, so it’s best not to skimp on replacements.
Drive Safely (and Properly)
Bad driving habits such as hard braking and speeding over rough roads can take a significant toll on a vehicle. Be sure to follow road rules, brake gently, carefully make turns, and try to avoid potholes and other road issues as much as possible.
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