These days, people are looking for any way to stretch a dollar. One way can be holding onto your car longer. Today the average vehicle has been on the road almost 11 years, according to Polk Research.
People often are not aware of the long-term financial benefits of keeping a car for so long. Consumer Reports' research shows that if you hit 200,000 miles, which takes the average driver about 15 years, you could potentially save more than $30,000.
First, you need to shop for a car you can live with long-term. Make sure it fits your lifestyle, and don't compromise on features, especially safety features, such as electronic stability control and a rear-view camera, if possible. And be sure you pick a vehicle with a reliable track record.
Then stick to the maintenance schedule in your owner's manual. Missing even one oil change can contribute to premature engine wear. But don't waste money on maintenance you don't need. Many vehicles can go 10,000 miles between oil changes. Instead of just 3,000.
Don't skimp on parts. Trying to save a couple of bucks on cheap parts and fluids could cost you in the long run. Also listen for any strange sounds, and get small things fixed before they become a big problem.
No matter how well you care for your car, someday it will be time to part ways. Consumer Reports says if you are facing a repair that will cost more than the car is worth, or if your car starts to be unreliable even with frequent repairs, it may be time to say goodbye.
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