Caring For Cars With High Mileage

Like all items manufactured, cars have obsolescence engineered into them from the factory. But most cars invariably suffer an earlier than necessary death date, due to premature wear and tear from a simple lack of proper maintenance.

Once in a great while everyone meets the person with 300,000 miles on their 1999 Ford Taurus and thinks they somehow bought a good one. When the reality is there are no good or bad ones, only properly and improperly maintained ones.

If you purchase a used car with high mileage that’s in good shape, most times there is no real way to know the maintenance history of the car. In this situation your best bet is to create your own maintenance history right out the gate.

I follow a set of hard fast rules when purchasing a used car with over 60,000 miles.

  • First things first. Read the owners manual to learn the maintenance schedule for you car.
  • Change the oil with the factory recommended grade and weight
  • Change the transmission fluid with the factory recommended type
  • Flush the cooling system and replace with factory specified fluid
  • Change the power steering fluid with the factory recommended type
  • Change the differential fluid and replace with factory recommended type and weight
  • If tires are half worn, replace them with quality tires
  • Install new brake pads and or shoes with OEM products
  • Replace all engine belts
  • Replace the Battery

After doing these items you have essentially created a reliable history that’s starting as close to the beginning as possible. Now it’s just a matter of following the owners manual maintenance schedules and possibly a few extras. If you know some good Louisville painters you may even have a new coat of paint put on the vehicle.

A Word About Oil Changes

We’ve all seen the recent headlines on yahoo and other major news sites about the modern oils and how they don’t need to be changed as often. Baloney! The old timers like myself who still don’t have a new oil they’re trying to market to you will tell you otherwise. Engine oil should be changed every 3000 miles. There are no if’s ands or buts about it. An engine that has it’s oil changed at regular 3000 mile intervals can easily clock 300,000 miles with never burning a drop. Always use the oil specified in your owners manual.

Be a Tire Fanatic

Good tires on a car will help to maintain it over the long haul. Keeping the proper air pressure in your tires is very important, always refer to the owners manual, or check the sticker on the inside door jamb of your drivers door to learn the correct tire pressure for your vehicle. It’s also important to have them rotated at least every 5000 miles so that they wear evenly. If you get a tire out of balance and it causes a shimmy or vibration while driving, that’s not good on the car. Even a light shimmy that only shakes or vibrates a little will cause premature wear. It can and will loosen screws, clips, dash boards and all types of other items on a car. Simply put a little shimmy spanning a lot of miles can result in whole lot of little problems that eventually are a big one.

Wash Your Engine?

Yes! Periodically you’ll want to wash your engine. It’s not hard to do but there is a right way and a wrong way to do it. Next time you’re at the car wash just pop the hood with the engine running and spray it off. Be careful not to bear down with the wand on the alternator or any sensitive electronic parts, also pay attention not to spray into the intake system. Yeah yeah, I know that you’ve been told not to do it because the ignition system will get wet and the car will die and not restart. And back when I was young and we still rode dinosaurs that was true. But today’s modern cars are built with fairly water tight ignition systems, and the vast majority of them no longer even have distributors or distributor caps. If you don’t believe me.. Next time you drive somewhere in the rain? When you get there pop your hood and look under there. That’s right! Everything is soaking wet. So go ahead and wash your engine, your car will love you for it. You can usually find good deals on detailing tools at local Louisville pawn shops.

If you would like to know more or make a good purchase on a used car or truck call us at 502-744-5555

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