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Consumer Reports: Making your car last for 200K miles

Posted at 8:53 AM, May 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-16 09:53:22-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF/CONSUMER REPORTS) — Holding on to a reliable car — instead of buying or leasing a new one every few years— is a smart financial move, especially with the high price of new and used cars. It can be very helpful to know ways to get your car to 200,000 miles or more.

“Yeah, I think I was in my driveway or something like that; I took a picture of the odometer,” said car owner Gary St. Jean.

It’s not just a point of pride, crossing 200,000 miles — it’s also a money-saver, because you’re not buying a new car.

“I’ve got a diesel Jeep Grand Cherokee, which is unusual, and I’ve got 165,000 on that. We also have a Toyota Sienna, and that’s got 205,000 on it,” St. Jean said.

So, what’s the secret to helping your car go the distance?

“Stay on top of problems and follow the maintenance schedule for your car. And don’t delay routine oil and filter changes, belt replacements or tire rotations,” said Consumer Reports Auto Editor Mike Quincy.

But how often you should service your car can vary depending on climate and other factors. If you live where weather is extreme or drive in lots of traffic, shorter service intervals may be necessary. The owner’s manual makes this clear.

And, Consumer Reports says don’t cheap out!

“Make sure to always buy original equipment or equivalent parts, like belts and hoses from name-brand suppliers. You don’t have to buy from the dealer, but make sure you’re buying quality parts,” Quincy said.

Using the wrong oil or transmission fluid could wreak havoc on your car, or even void your warranty.

To reach 200K miles with your next car, start with a vehicle that has a proven track record of rock solid reliability.

Every year, Consumer Reports surveys its members and, from hundreds of thousands of responses, identifies the most reliable, problem-free vehicles that can go 200,000 miles or more with proper care.

“If you’re looking to buy a new car that will take you beyond 200,000 miles, our data shows you can’t go wrong with Toyota Camry or Prius or a Honda Accord,” said Quincy.

Those are good options for used car buyers, as are the Honda Civic, Mazda 3, Nissan Altima, and Subaru Legacy.

Another tip from Consumer Reports is to never ignore service indicator lights. And if you’re stumped by what those lights mean, just check your car's owners manual.