Bottom Line: Getting the most out of your car

Published: May. 19, 2022 at 7:23 AM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC/CONSUMER REPORTS) - Taking care of and holding on to a reliable car — rather than buying or leasing a new one every few years — is a smart financial move, especially now with the high price of new and used cars. Consumer Reports has some tips to capitalize on this thrifty trend to get your car at 200,000 miles or beyond.

It’s a milestone people will always remember – reaching 100, 200 even 300,000 miles with their car.

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

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,” said Consumer Reports Auto Editor Mike Quincy. “And don’t delay routine oil and filter changes, belt replacements or tire rotations.”

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

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

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

Looking 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 as used cars, as are the Honda Civic, Mazda 3, Nissan Altima and Subaru Legacy.

Another tip from Consumer Reports to keep your car road-ready: Never ignore those service indicator lights. And if you’re stumped by what those lights mean, we have a helpful video on our website that identifies them for you.

“Consumer Reports TV News” is published by Consumer Reports. Consumer Reports is a not-for-profit organization that does not accept advertising and does not have any commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site

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