How to Make Your Car Last 200,000 Miles and More
Holding on to your vehicle for as long as possible is the best way to save right now
One day during my high school years, my dad got excited because the odometer on his car—a 1983 Toyota Camry hatchback he’d bought used several years earlier—was about to reach 200,000 miles. We were in the middle of running that afternoon’s errands, but he pulled over to the side of the road so that he, my brother, and I could sing “Happy Birthday” to the car to mark its major milestone. It was a silly thing to do, but we felt a collective sense of pride that the car was still going strong with all those grueling suburban commuter miles piled on. That pride remained for me years later, when I was still driving the same Camry past its 300,000-mile mark.
I’ve owned a handful of other cars that rolled through 200,000-plus miles since then. Now, years later, my job is to research and write about automotive repair and maintenance, but you don’t need to be an expert to get your car to that milestone. I always stay on top of regular maintenance, and I take care of even small repairs before they can become bigger, more expensive issues. After all, there’s plenty that can go wrong with a car that could, technically, be ignored if the car still starts and gets you to where you need to go. But neglecting small repairs and maintenance issues as they crop up is a bad habit that can shorten your car’s life. I also put some effort into keeping my cars clean to protect against corrosion and to make them look nice.
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