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Seeking advice to care for my 200k+ mile car

I have a 2000 Hyundai Elantra with just over 200k miles and am working to save up for a new car while trying to stretch the most life out of the one I have now. My first question is regarding high mileage oil. I’ve searched and scanned various discussion threads here and it seems that folks are on the fence for using high mileage oil in general if the car has less than 100k miles but most threads say “check back at 200k” so here I am. My main focus is on keeping the oil level steady and changing it and the filter every 3 months. Thanks in advance for your time and advice.

My second question is an open ended: Any advice for stretching the most life out of my 200k+, 2000 Hyundai Elantra?

Preventive maintenance… but you’ve got that covered since you GOT it to 200K. I wouldn’t worry about using high mileage oil but it certainly couldn’t hurt. Change fluids regularly, fix little things before they become big ones. Often at high mileage, cars don’t die, we kill them by letting minor things get major because we don’t think the car is “worth it” anymore.

Are there any drips of oil under the car? Does the level drop much over time? If not, there’s no reason to use high-mileage oil.

I agree that it appears that the OP must have been doing things correctly in order for his car to have made it to the 200k mark, so…more of the same…is my general advice.

And, even though this may seem obnoxiously simplistic, I will mention it anyway:
In the past, we have a number of people ask a question along the lines of…
My maintenance schedule only goes up to 120k miles. What maintenance do I have to do after 120k miles?

The obvious answer (which–probably–is also obvious to the OP), is that you revert to the original maintenance schedule, so that 150k maintenance is the same as 30k maintenance, 180k maintenance is identical to 60k maintenance, 210k maintenance is the same as 90k maintenance, and so on…

I’m not sure what’s in high mileage oil except seal expanders but I never used it on my 2, 3, 4, 500,000 mileage cars. I just used standard Mobil oil in them with frequent changes and no engine problems.

Really, I don’t think you need to do any more prevention wise except the standard stuff like filters, fluid changes, hoses, belts, and so on. The problem will be reliability. There will be surprises that will shut you down that you wouldn’t have in a newer car. Preventing that will be difficult without doing a lot of unnecessary pre-emptive parts replacements like alternators, water pumps, sensors, etc. So prepare for break-downs is all and pay closer attention to any issues such as leaks, noises, stumbles, vibrations, etc.

@Bing, that’s all the extra that is in ‘high-mileage’ oils. Seal expanders.

Are you doing transmission fluid and filter services every 30K?

Are you changing the cooant every 5 years

Are you replacing the timing belt at the specified intervals?

I wouldn’t use high mileage oil unless I had small leaks. Anything they put in the oil to swell seals replaces some oil. I would rather have the extra oil in the oil.

Thank you all for your input! I really appreciate it. I live in Myrtle Beach so the sun and elements are a completely different ballgame then in New England where I was before moving south. In many ways it’s more forgiving in terms of season changes being much more gradual and the fact that the only salt we get on the road here is from the ocean so I think I’ve been lucky. I’ll revisit my oil levels/drips again to monitor that more closely, I know there are some (last check it was maybe 2-3 small drip marks overnight), monitor her more closely, stay on the routine maint schedule and keep stashing away money as a buffer for now and eventually a new car.

Speaking of the ocean . . .

I’ve worked on some cars that park very close the beach that were absolutely eaten alive by that salty breeze

So @Tallkevin; when you hit 300,000 miles you ARE inviting us all down there for a big shindig when it’s cold here in the north. We’ll even bring a dish to pass.

I’ll bring the Limburger!!!


Down there in the heat you want to pay attention to and monitor those things that are elastomeric, such as radiator hoses, heater hoses, brake flex lines, etc. If you haven’t already drained and refilled the cooling system, you should do so. The same goes for the brake fluid. And the tranny. Spend the extra few bucks to get the tranny fluid from the dealer… trannys are very sensitive to incorrect fluids.

I’ve never used high mileage oil. I currently have 215,000 on my current car. Perhaps when it gets to be high mileage I’ll consider it. Or not. My pickup had 338,000 on it and I never used high mileage oil. Of course, it still wasn’t high mileage. It still ran strong and only used about 1qt/1200 miles of oil.

Great advice. The single biggest thing anyone can do is checking fluid levels and keeping them up. The next best thing to extend the life of your car, is to drive it like you are breaking it in, they way they used to do. Driving habits and regular routine maintenance with an eye to catching things ahead like a broken belt or leaks, are the two best things. Oh, stay out of accidents and don’t lend your car to anyone without your same concerns…like a drinking buddy or a teen just learning to drive. Don’t over load the car “anymore”, tow or drive it on rough roads.

Praying and appropriate use of profanity was thought to help…but I have my doubts. :wink: using public transportation and generally becoming a hermit works but at the expense of your social life.

At the very end of a car’s life, to stretch the miles out one at a time, keep duct tape, plastic ties and wire coat hangers in supply in your rusted out trunk.

db4690: I’m not THAT close to the ocean but I take heed nonetheless!

Yosemite: absolutely! </ Limburger> =)

Nursing an oldie takes some special attention. If the car is not using or leaking oil, just continue with the factory spec oil. If it’s consuming oil, you may want to use a heavier grade.

So-called high mileage oil have some sealers in them that plug leaks. They would be worthwhile if you have small leaks and excessive wear.

Keep an eye on the temperature; if the cooling system is clogged the car won’t live long.

I’ve had some oldies in the past and keeping the brakes and steering in good shape was my major concern. Oil is cheap and gettin an extra year or two out of an old clumker is easy if you don’t punish the engine or transmission.

If you need tires, buy the cheapest ones that fit; you’re not going to race the car.