content with the practical pickup truck.
The differences between drivers extend beyond the type of driver you are and the class of vehicle you drive. Lots of drivers feel the need for a new car every three or four years, while many more grow a little more proud with each passing mile on the odometer. For the latter, caring for a vehicle as it approaches each mileage milestone doesn’t take a master mechanic. Instead, a little attention and some minor maintenance can keep your car running for miles and miles.
♦ Stay alert: In many ways, keeping your car running into the 150,000-200,000 mile range is no different than taking better care of your body as you age. As is the case with an aging body, you need to start paying more careful attention to your car with each passing mile. If you park your car in the same spot each night, check underneath for any signs of leaking fluids, and take note of the color if there are any.
Another approach is to cruise with the windows up and the radio or CD player off. Though you might love cruising down the highway blasting your favorite tunes while your arm hangs out the window, taking a silent drive will let you hear noises coming from under the hood. Like the human body, the earlier you can catch a problem with your car, the less problematic it should become.
Taking a drive with the windows up will also cue your sense of smell should your car be emitting any odd odors. Certain odors are indicative of problems, so take note of them and report them to your mechanic as accurately as possible.
♦ Monitor those fluids: The older a car gets, the more closely you need to monitor its fluids. Whereas vehicle manufacturers now typically suggest new cars have their oil changed around once every 5,000 to 7,500 miles, the older a vehicle gets, the closer a driver should return to the more traditional oil change schedule of once every 3,000 miles.
But changing a car’s oil isn’t the only thing a driver needs to do to keep an older car running. Other fluids, such as brake fluid, automatic transmission fluid, power steering fluid, etc., should be changed as well. Drivers should have a professional do this for older cars because these fluids can become contaminated and offer signs of a potentially bigger problem to a trained eye.
♦ Take it easy: Just as an older athlete might need more time to warm up before a game than a younger counterpart, an older car needs more time to warm up than a newer vehicle. If an older car has been sitting overnight or for a few days, give it a chance to warm up, and drive slowly at first. This gives the vehicle’s lubricants and other fluid the chance to spread out under the hood, while allowing the oil to gain some temperature, making for a smoother drive.