Keep Your Motor Running

car fender and tire

A little TLC can turn your car into a classic, not a clunker.

Cars are the trusty steeds of the modern American lifestyle. These days, though, it seems like people prefer a vehicle that’s a little long in the tooth. In fact, more than four out of 10 drivers plan to drive their current vehicle at least 150,000 miles, and nearly one-quarter of those hope to make it to at least 200,000 miles, according to a recent ExxonMobil survey.

Fortunately, there are ways to keep your car revving for years. First, consider the service schedule in your car’s owner’s manual to be a serious to-do list, starting with care and feeding. Although that may seem like a no-brainer, only 21 percent of drivers who participated in the ExxonMobil survey actually follow their car’s maintenance schedule. Yet doing so can save thousands of dollars and improve the long-term condition of vehicles.

Then, watch the “check engine” light. That little warning is your car’s way of telling you that it’s feeling under the weather. Unfortunately, half of the drivers surveyed ignore the indicator for three months or longer after it comes on. “Some drivers even put black electrical tape over the dash so they don’t have to look at it,” says Keith Andreasen, a top technician for CarMD. But that’s a bad move. Solving the problem as soon as it comes up prevents big headaches down the road.

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