How Do I Keep My Car Running After 200k Miles?

The average car in the United States is slightly over 12 years old and travels more than 14,000 miles annually. If you’re one of these thrifty people, congrats. However, a car with 200,000 miles is bound to have some damage.

Per Consumer Reports’ chief mechanic John Ibbotson “It’s not rocket science. Your car will take care of you if you take care of it.”

Living in Annapolis, Maryland, Fred Helfrich claims to have had many vehicles that have surpassed 200,000 miles and a few that have traveled more than 400,000. These include everything from a Toyota Tercel to a Chevrolet van.

He confirms CR’s long-standing recommendation to select vehicles with a solid reputation for dependability, saying, “It helps to get a nice car, to begin with. That way, if you take care of it, you know it’ll probably go very far.”

But what are the secrets to keeping a car going after so many miles? Here are some of them.

Conduct Routine Maintenance

This is an easy, time-tested, tried-and-true technique. Theoretically, if you take care of your car, it will last longer. So, take your car in for routine maintenance at a trustworthy mechanic. Get your oil replaced regularly, preferably with one of the best oils for cars with over 200,000 miles.

Overall, keeping the recommended maintenance schedule will significantly increase the chances of your car lasting through 200k miles.

Prevent Short Drives

It’s critical to realize that the engine needs to warm up to operating temperature each time you drive to retain optimal performance. Sludge can accumulate on short excursions of about five miles. So, avoid such quick drives a mile down the road if you want to drive your automobile to last 200 thousand miles and beyond.

Keep It Tidy

Taking care of your car includes keeping it clean. Regular cleaning gives you a chance to get to know your car better. Additionally, you can take care of places with excess filth and buildup. If you want to see the odometer go above 200k, keep your car clean, especially around the wheels.


Maintenance starts from the first day you get your car, brand new or not. If you let it take a minor damage here or a small hit there or start cheapening on fluids and general maintenance, you’ll find that these things add up pretty quickly.

Visit for more car maintenance tips.

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