Maintaining a Vehicle With High Mileage

Maintaining a high mileage vehicle is necessary to extend the life of the vehicle, regular tune-ups, and oil changes are required. Making sure the oil is changed often is one of the most important things you can do to maintain your vehicle.

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Zaneta Wood, Ed.S. has over 15 years of experience in research and technical writing bringing a keen understanding of data analysis and information synthesis to reach a wide variety of audiences. She studied adult education and instructional technology at Appalachian State University as well as technical and professional communication at East Carolina University. Zaneta has prepared technical p...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: Jan 22, 2021

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Here's what you need to know...

  • High mileage cars run a lot better now than they did in the past thanks to better technology.
  • More important than the mileage is how a car was taken care of.
  • Regular tune-ups and oil changes can extend the life of a vehicle.

When a person is in the market for a used car, one of the main concerns is how many miles the car has.

High mileage does not always mean the car is a poor investment. The main factor that determines if the high mileage car is worth the money is if has been properly maintained.

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Ensuring the used car receives proper maintenance after it has been purchased is just as important. With the proper maintenance a used car, even with high mileage, can run for years. This makes choosing the right used car an important decision.

What should someone look for in a high mileage car?

People are keeping their cars longer today than they have in the past. Part of this is because cars are built better today than they were decades ago, so they just simply last longer.

Also, a new car can be very expensive, especially when you add in the cost of car insurance and the interest rates associated with monthly car payments.

These factors make choosing a used car a good decision for those on a tight budget.

Since people are driving their cars longer and further, most used cars on the market have high mileage.

Some people might think choosing a used car with very low mileage is the best choice, but if it is an older car, that indicates the car was not driven very much at all. This might mean that the car was not maintained as consistently as a car that was driven more regularly.

A car that has been left to sit can have many issues that a regularly driven car might not. Some of these issues can be gaskets and seals that have dried out, shortened battery life, motor oil that has condensed moisture in it, and tires that can be old and unsafe.

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What are the proper steps to maintaining a high mileage car?

  • One of the most important steps in how to keep a high-mileage car running is making sure the oil is changed regularly. The oil should be changed either every three months or every 3,000 miles. This makes sure that the engine will continue to run smoothly.
  • Tire pressure is another important aspect of which to be conscious. Tire pressure should be checked at least once a month. Tire maintenance is very crucial to not only safety, but gas mileage as well.
  • The car’s fluid should be checked often. This is a very quick and simple process that will keep the car from having easily preventable breakdowns. All you have to do is a regular visual check of fluids by lifting the hood and looking at the levels of oil, transmission fluid, and other vital fluid components.
  • Making sure the car is stored properly when not being driven is also very important. A temperate and dry location, like a garage, is the best place to store a car. Leaving the vehicle in the driveway where it is constantly subjected to the elements can take its toll, especially with an older car.

What are other factors to consider in my high mileage car’s maintenance?


It is also a good idea to consider the changes in weather associated with the area in which the car will be driven.

A car that stays in a warm and sunny climate for the entire year does not need to be maintained in the same way as a car that is subjected to harsh winters with lots of snow and ice.

One of the most important aspects of taking care of a high mileage car is being as proactive as possible. What might seem like a small issue at first, like seeing fluid spots on the driveway or in the garage, can mean the car is in danger of a complete breakdown very soon.

Keeping a close eye out for any small signs like leaking fluids, odd sounds or smells, or if the car starts feeling differently when it is being driven, is a big step in preventing small issues from becoming larger problems.

Even is there are no outward signs that the car is currently having problems, scheduling regular tune-ups is still very important. It is better and less expensive to pay for regular maintenance than waiting and paying for a larger problem.

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