Tips to Help Your Vehicle Reach 200,000 Miles

Many residents of Cobb, Cherokee and Paulding Counties commute to Atlanta every day for work and of course for various activities on the weekends. Atlanta is the hub of the Southeast and is accessible via Interstates 20, 75, 85 and Georgia 400. The average Metro Atlanta resident drives 32.5 miles per day. This can add up the mileage on your vehicle quickly. Today’s vehicles are built to last and with proper maintenance and attention, there’s no reason you shouldn’t expect to see the odometer reading hit 200,000 and keep on going. Here are seven tips you can to do that will help make your vehicle last longer and get you to that 200,000 mile mark.

Read the Owner’s Manual

Not only does your owner’s manual show you what all the buttons on the dash are for, the owner’s manual contains vital information about all the vehicle components that need to be monitored and replaced. The manual tell you when that needs to happen, and how to perform the checks. Following the owner’s manual will help prolong the life of your vehicle because it specifies what types of fluids work best in the vehicle and provides operation instructions that prevent damage and reduce wear.

Follow the Recommended Vehicle Maintenance Schedule

Nothing will shorten the life of a vehicle faster than lack of maintenance. The most important maintenance for your vehicle is checking and changing the oil! But don’t forget these items as well: Coolant, brake, power steering, and transmission fluids; Filters; Belts; Brakes; and Windshield wipers. Follow your owner’s manual, and your mechanic’s advice, to develop a regular maintenance schedule.

Pay Attention to your Vehicle

Pay attention to how your vehicle looks sounds, smells, and feels. Don’t just get in it and go. Pay attention to anything new or out of the ordinary when it comes to your vehicle’s characteristics like vibrations, rattles, or squeaks; unusual smells; and fluid leaks underneath the vehicle. Watch the dashboard gauges and indicator lights for signs of trouble.

Find a Mechanic You Trust 

A good, trustworthy mechanic is important. Here are some important things to look for in choosing your mechanic: Ensure that the mechanic is properly trained and certified; Get a referral from a friend or look for a mechanic who has a good reputation and has been in business for several years; Find a mechanic that uses quality parts and offers a warranty on the parts and labor for 30-90 days; Use a mechanic who offers written estimates; and find a mechanic who is convenient to your work or home.

Manufacturer Recalls

Manufacturer recalls are serious so don’t ignore any vehicle manufacturer recall notifications. Manufacturers recall vehicles on any issue that affects vehicle performance and/or driver and passenger safety. You can find information about recalls and look up any recalls on your vehicle by the VIN number at the following website. http://www.safercar.gov/

Avoid Short Trips

When you drive a short distance, the engine never has a chance to reach its optimal operating temperature. Here’s the problem. Water is a byproduct of combustion and some of it gets into your car’s oil and exhaust system every time the engine runs. When the engine is hot and operating at its most efficient temperature, the water turns to vapor and is ventilated out of the engine. On those short trips, the engine never gets up to that optimal temperature, and as a result, that water can remain in the engine, collect in the oil, and settle in the exhaust system to causes excessive wear and tear. Short trips also mean cold starts for the engine, which also increases the wear because the engine’s oil isn’t flowing as freely or in every place that it should until the engine is warmed up.

How short is too short? A short trip is less than five miles in normal temperatures, or less than ten miles in freezing temperatures. Even moving your car from in front of the garage and pulling it into the garage is a short trip.

Make it Shine

Keep your vehicle clean inside and out. Removing dirt, bugs, sap, chemicals and salt from your vehicle’s exterior. Wax on a regular basis to protect the finish and prevent the vehicle body and components from rusting, corroding, and decaying. Wipe down all the hard surfaces on the inside to remove dust and dirt. Vacuum the carpet and the fabric, vinyl and leather wear to remove any dirt.

It’s a long way to 200,000 miles. Every vehicle is different and these suggestion may not get your car there, but by being a responsible vehicle owner, you can increase the likelihood that yours will.

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And if you really want to save mileage, here some locations for park and rides:  http://www.cobbcounty.org/images/documents/dot/cct/aug2011_cctparkandride.pdf