How to maintain a car with high mileage

High Mileage Car maintenance recommendations

Having a high-mileage vehicle means you need to treat it right if you want to get continued performance from it. A little extra effort is needed compared to owning a vehicle that has, say, 50,000 miles on the clock and often you have to take more responsibility for maintenance. So how do you keep a high-mileage car in shape to ensure it serves you well?

What is a high-mileage car?

The first thing to do is define what is considered high mileage for a used car. Most buyers set a limit of 100,000 miles and are tentative about buying a vehicle whose odometer exceeds that. However, many modern cars are designed to last at least 150,000 miles, a number that can be all but doubled if regular servicing is maintained and the car is looked after.

Monthly checks

If you’re buying a second-hand car with over 100,000 miles on the clock, there are several things you’ll need to do to keep it running smoothly. In terms of monthly checks, it’s not too different a list from any other used car: check the oil and coolant levels, tyre pressure and tread depth, and keep the number plate and lights clean. The washer fluid should also be kept topped up.

Other checks

Spark plugs are designed to reach 100,000 miles before the gap between the electrodes begins to increase. If new spark plugs haven’t been fitted when you purchase the car, check them every 10,000 miles or so. Additionally, if you notice engine misfiring or power surges, it may be time to change the spark plugs.

Around 125,000 miles the coolant begins to become susceptible to corrosion, which can affect its pH balance. It’s a good idea, then, to replace it around this time to ensure no issues with the engine arise.

Wheel alignment should also be checked regularly to ensure that suspension bushings and springs are in working order. As cars get older it’s necessary to do this more often to avoid problems. Shocks and struts should also be looked at every 50,000 miles, in line with the recommended replacement interval.

Finally, it’s a good idea to inspect the combustion chamber at around 120,000-125,000 miles. This is because carbon builds up on the crown of the piston, valves and head, which can cause turbulence and hot spots. Invest in an engine decarbonisation to remove the build up.

Above 150,000 miles

If your car has reached the 150,000 mileage mark, it’s doing well. But there are a few extra checks you may want to add into the mix to ensure it continues to perform:

  • Drivetrain seals should be inspected for loss of fluid
  • Headlights need to be checked and refinished if necessary
  • Timing chain tensioners must be looked at and renewed if they are worn
  • Power steering fluid should be changed

Buying a second hand car

When buying a high-mileage second-hand car, it’s important to remember that buying from a dealership is often advisable over a private seller. This is because you have some level of protection should the car turn out to have a fault. At Carwise, all our used vehicles are of the highest quality. Contact us today to view a car or book a test drive.