Thirty years ago, people would get excited if their car made it past the 100,000 mile mark, but today’s automobiles routinely exceed 100,000 and even 200,000 miles. In fact, many of today’s vehicles have regularly scheduled maintenance recommendations beyond the 100,000 mile mark.
With modern automobiles routinely exceeding the 200,000 mile mark, 300,000 miles has become the new milestone (pun intended). So, how can you help your car reach this goal? We’re glad you asked.
Change Your Fluids
Fluids are the lifeblood of your car’s engine. Ensuring that your car’s fluids are changed at the recommended intervals is the single most important maintenance you can perform.
The old rule of thumb for oil changes is every 3 months or 3000 miles, but your vehicle manufacturer may recommend less frequent oil changes. If you use synthetic oils, or drive in a mild climate, you may be able to stretch the 3000 mile rule. Still, even if your vehicle’s manufacturer recommends longer change intervals, going beyond the 5000 mile mark is likely to cause unnecessary engine wear.
If your vehicle employs an antilock braking system you should be changing your brake fluid every 2 years or 24,000 miles, whichever comes first. For vehicles without ABS a three year 36,000 mile interval should suffice.
Power Steering Fluid
Even if your owner’s manual does not list a power steering fluid flush as a regular maintenance item, you should have the system flushed and fluid replaced every two years or 24,000 miles. Old fluid breaks down or can become contaminated with grit and sludge. Over time these contaminants can damage pumps, gears, and seals.
Coolant | Radiator
Having your radiator flushed every three years or 36,000 miles will remove rust, scale, and other contaminants from the system and keep your water pump well lubricated.
While we do not necessarily recommend that you flush your transmission, you should replace the fluid on a regular basis. For automatic transmissions in front-wheel-drive vehicles fluid should be replaced every 3 years or 36,000 miles. For rear-wheel-drive automatics every 5 years or 50,000 miles. Manual transmissions should have the fluid changed every 60,000 miles.
Rotating your tires every 7500 miles can extend tire life and improve fuel economy. This is also a good opportunity to check tire balance and vehicle alignment.
You should inspect your brake pads for wear every 12,000 miles. Most manufacturers recommend replacement if there is 1/8 inch or less pad remaining, or every 25,000 miles.
Your battery should be tested annually to ensure proper charge and predict battery life expectancy. When it comes time to replace your battery, don’t skimp. A good AMG battery can last twice as long, charges faster and extends the life of your alternator and starter.
Change your spark plugs every 60,000 miles and take this opportunity to inspect spark plug wires. Plug wires typically need replacement every 100,000 miles.
Throttle Body | Fuel Injectors
Unless you use a fuel additive with every fill-up, you should inspect and clean the throttle body and fuel injectors every 30,000 miles.
Belts and Hoses
It is important that you routinely inspect drive belt, hoses, vacuum lines, etc. for leaks and wear, especially after you reach the 100,000 mile mark.
This is a biggie, because without a timing belt your vehicle will not run and a timing belt failure can cause catastrophic engine damage in certain engine types. Check your owner’s manual for recommended replacement intervals. When replacing the timing belt it is highly recommended that you also replace the water pump, tensioners, idlers, drive belts, and thermostat where applicable. A quality timing belt kit will provide all the necessary parts.
Most people do not ever consider replacing their radiator until it fails. The reality is that your radiator should be replaced at least every ten years or 150,000 miles.
Shocks and Struts
Over time your shocks and struts can begin to break down. After 100,000 miles you should inspect these systems during tire changes and rotations to ensure that they are holding up as expected.
There are a lot of factors that can affect the longevity of your vehicle, everything from driving habits and climate to overall vehicle reliability. For instance, if you do a lot of stop and go driving as opposed to interstate driving, you may not get as much life out of your ride. Still, if you take good care of a good car, reaching that 300,000 mile mark is certainly achievable.