Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

How much life does my car have left?

I have a 1998 chevy lumina with the 3.1 liter motor with 181,000 miles. I drive around 500 miles a week, I change the oil every 3000 miles and trans fluid every 25k-30k. It has the original motor and trans and might go through half a quart of oil between oil changes. I do a fair amount of highway driving and drive 70-80 mph everyday. How much life do you think I have left, at this point I drive about 24,000 miles a year. Do you think I can get two more years and 50,000 miles more before I need a motor or trans. Thanks for you help.

There is nothing in the info given that says your motor or trans is having any problems. Keep doing what your doing and they should last 50K and beyond.

You can expect some problems and repairs on the car over the next 50K, but you can deal with them as they come. Rust is the main car killer. If the body and frame are sound just keep motoring away.

The car runs good and I’ve owned it for over 7 years and have put 135,000 miles on it and at this I’m not having any issues with the drive train. I’m just wondering if I’m on borrowed time. The car still has the original back brakes and exhaust system on it.

The miles on the odometer when cars go to the crusher in the sky varies widely. Some 3.1 Lumina’s bought it long ago, and other may last well beyond 500K miles. Basically it is a good solid motor. Overheating one of them can blow head gaskets and that can start a downward spiral if not corrected quickly. With regular oil changes the internals hold up well.

The transmissions are even more difficult to predict. Driver habits can contribute to more or less transmission stress. The best you can do is proper fluid changes at the intervals you are using now.

Most old cars suffer premature deaths because the owners decide it is not worth the money to maintain them. Sometimes that is the right call, if the body is shot for instance. Rust, lack of maintenance, towing, and accidents are the most frequent “killers” of cars.

Your Lumina could last well beyond 100K more miles, or it could buy the farm tomorrow. Keep doing as you are and I’d bet on lots more miles from it.

Thanks uncle turbo, I’ll keep driving it until it won’t move anymore. I “HATE” car payments!!!

In addition to all the above good advice, I’d add to prepare for replacing it at any time (save up a down payment, etc.), so you’re not surprised. While it sounds like it’s in great shape, a major mechanical failure could send it to the scrap heap any time.

vtx; your maintenance and driving style are close to IDEAL for long car life!! At 500 miles aweek, the engine gets a good workout and does not suffer from excessive stop & go driving problems. I agree that you probably have at least another 100,000 miles left before anything really serious happens. Light oil consumption is OK, probably you also have some small leaks somewhere, but I would not bother with them. Oil is cheap, just keep an eye on all your fluids. And flush the cooling system when the time arrives.

Start worrying when you reach 400,000 miles!

Good luck!