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Keeping up with a new/used American Car

After my recent car problems, the decision was unanimous to become a two-car family. We definitely had a strict budget since we are still trying to fix up our german family wagon. (see other posts)

We decided on a well-priced 2006 Chevy Malibu Maxx. It’s got a fair share of miles (98000 when we bought it, we’ve gotten her up to 100K). Would like as much advice on how to keep this American beast up and running smoothly for as long as possible. Is there a better oil/filter out there for American cars? Things we can do slowly and before necessary? Any and everything to keep the catastrophic fails at bay (car-willing). Thanks for any info.
Also–this seems like a much more DIY friendly car than our previous. Does anyone have a good reference for DIY on Chevy’s? 'preciate all the help.

I would have the transmission fluid and filter changed, the engine coolant drained and replaced and possibly have the spark plugs replaced. If it hasn’t been done within the last 5000 miles, have the oil and filter changed.
I had a 2006 Chevrolet Uplander minivan that I sold to my son and he now has 100,000 miles on the vehicle. I had the coolant renewed and the transmission fluid and filter changed when I sold it to him when the car had 60,000 miles. It now has 100,000 miles. He has kept up the maintenance and has had no problems. I think the engine may be similar to the engine in your Malibu Maxx if your engine is a V-6.
I don’t know that one oil filter brand is any better than another. Use the oil specified in the manual (my guess it is 5W-30), check the oil at every other fill up of the gas tank and you should be fine. The owner’s manual will tell you the service intervals. Follow its recommendations.

Not sure if your engine has a timing belt, but if it does, it should get changed ASAP. Other than that, follow the ‘severe use’ maintenance schedule. Any issues you have have them checked out quickly to avoid a big problem later on.

No timing belt. I agree with Triedaq to change the fluids and filters, and I would add brake fluid to the list. Check the owner’s manual (or maintenance booklet) for when to change the spark plugs. If they are not still in the glove box, you can get PDF versions on line.

In the current issue of Consumer’s Reports there is an article on this very topic. #1 on their list is to do the routine maintenance at the schedule recommended in the owner’s manual. Check it out. You may find the CR article of some value in your endeavor.