Long Term Car Care

We’ve had some good posts on how individuals make their cars last a lot of miles. I would be interested in various views and experiences about making your cart last “forever”, i.e. 20+ years while maintaining reliability and appearance.

Most modern cars last a long time compared to previous times, and people ive longer as well. I have a number of retired friends who bought new cars when leaving work, don’t drive as much as employed car owners, but want their cars to last.

What additional maintenance practices would you employ? I have some ideas but there are no doubt many others out there.

Not driving a car can be as bad as driving tons of miles. The best that can be done is to adhere to the maintenance schedule according to time rather than miles. One thing not to do is habitually add fuel and oil stabilizers as these will cause damage over time and repeated use. Keeping a car garaged and at a constant temperature is also better than outdoors.

Keep it clean, especially free of salt, bird sap, and insect bodies.
I second the maintainence. Oil, lube, air filter more often than you have to.

Agree; the biggest problem I have is convincing my retired friends to take the car for a long highway ride to “blow out the cobwebs”. All have garages and don’t abuse their cars. They unfortunately live too close to the golf course, church and bingo hall to give their cars a good workout.

Those that ski and mountain hike have their cars in bettter shape because of the long highway runs.

Take the car out on the highway for at least a 20 minute drive, once a week.
Change the oil and perform other maintenance tasks on the basis of elaped time, rather than on the basis of odometer mileage.
Drive the car very gently for the first 5 minutes or so, prior to warm-up.
Wash the car regularly, including an “underbody wash” during the winter.
Touch-up any paint chips promptly, and wax the car at least once a year if garage-kept, at least twice a year if parked outside.

Haven’t you noticed?? The Government is going to decide when you buy a new car, not you…Say, at the 20 year mark, you must start paying a “$1000 obsolete technology surtax” every year to register your old car…Besides, after 20 years, cars just start to smell real bad…

Nothing extreme. Drive conservatively be very diligent about maintenance. Do all the maintenance listed in the owner’s manual. I would add only changing transmission fluid (30,000 to 40,000 miles for auto and 50,000 to 100,000 manual)

Next, be lucky.

I beg to differ. I really enjoyed the smell of the old vinyl in my Chevelle

Have you any proof of this “$1,000 obsolete technology surtax?”

If not, please don’t tell us it will come to be.

My wife has a 94 year old friend in the Quad-Cities, who still drives. And, her car is 15 to 20 years old. She keeps it in an un-heated garage, which I suspect is best, and has the ‘recommended’ maintenance done on it and when she is told it needs repairs by her trusty mechanic, she has it done on the spot. I forget the model of Buick, but it is a nice car and starts and runs well and looks nice inside and out. I am not sure it takes special programs to get 15 or 20 years out of a main brand car. Just the correct maintenance.

My two cents.

If you live in temps that go below 15 degrees use a block heater at those temps. Change oil, oil filter air filter timing belt and other fluids at recommended intervals. Treat your car like a friend, don’t abuse it, be kind to it. give it a name other than why won’t you start you @##$%^&&

Follow the maintenance manual and a car will last a long time. I don’t believe additional maintenance is worth it except possibly an extra auto trans fluid change or two if interval is really long or “lifetime”.

Lastly buy a car you like a lot and suits your needs over a long time. It helps when writing those check and stomaching those expensive repairs.

You know as well as I do, but starting with a reasonably well engineered car in the first place and good maintenance provides a long life. For dependability, I am a firm believer in pre-emptive repairs. Replacing things like hoses, belts, batteries, and so on before they fail. I also tend to even replace things like alternators and water pumps after 100K before they fail, lest they fail at an inconvenient time or place. I just ask how many more miles can I really expect from that part and is it worth it to squeeze more out of it?

I believe it is Japan where the government has dictated that a 10 year old car, regardless of mileage, has to be virtually rebuilt, aerospace style!. As a result, most Japanese drivers buy a new car at that time.

The reason used to be “safety”, but with Japanese cars improved to the point where 10 years of driving makes them only partly worn, it’s to stimulate industry.

Those foreign countries that drive on the left of the road (there are many) benefit from very cheap (many are exported at little more than scrap value)imported cars, many in close to new condition. The Irish Used Car Dealers Association mounted a petition to block these “unfair” imports, since they were ruining their business. However, throughout SE Asia, New Zealand and Africa you will find these cast-off Japanese vehicles soldiering on till they have 300,000 or more miles on them.

In Bolivia, where they drive on the RIGHT side of the road, they simply move the steering column (now protruding through the glove box!)and the pedals to the other side. They dobn’t bother with the dashboard. The driver does not really cre how fast he is going, and he can ask the passenger to check his “gasolino” level.

Since long time owners accumulate both miles and years on their cars, I would suggest that only high volume cars from reputable manufacturers (quality and staying in business)should be considered.

That would suggest Toyota (Camry, Corolla, Sienna), Honda (Accord, Civic, Odessey), Mazda (Mazda 6, Mazda 3), Subaru (Legacy, Forester) and perhaps Ford (Fusion so far). Older friends and relatives with 20-25 year old cars are often told that "this part is no longer available), and because of the low production volume, aftermarket parts are not available as well.

Of the low volume manufacturers, to my knowledge, only Mercedes, Volvo, and Rolls Royce will supply parts for no matter what year vehicle. But at a price!