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With the high price of used cars, learning how to get your car to last over 250,000 miles is more important than ever. While there are some basic tips you should know, it often takes going beyond the basics to truly make a car last. Here are four ways to make your car last over 250,000 miles.

Find quality mechanics like this to help make your car last over 250,000 miles
Inspecting the underbody for rust | Getty Images

1.  Go beyond the owner’s manual

The owner’s manual is a great place to start for recommended maintenance on any vehicle. However, when you want to make your car last over 250,000 miles, you may need to consult other resources. Find online groups for your make and model to get a sense of what real owners have to say. You’ll often find tips about troublesome parts that the owner’s manual won’t tell you. Use this knowledge to inform your preventative maintenance strategy to get the most mileage out of your car.

You should also look at items that are susceptible to environmental factors. For example, rubber suspension bushings and hoses can dry out and crack over time. Having these parts replaced before they fail will reduce the risk of a bigger problem in the future.

2. Use high-quality replacement parts

A mechanic looks under the hood of an antique car
Knowing how to handle basic car care tasks can help make your car last | Getty Images

From air filters to engine oil, the quality of the components you put in your vehicle will have an effect on how long it can last. Making a car last over 250,000 miles is no easy task. However, you can ruin even the best car by using the cheapest generic replacement parts from your local auto parts store. 

Instead, choose OEM quality or above aftermarket components whenever possible. Higher quality oils, for example, will include detergents and anti-wear agents that provide better lubrication and heat management, according to Mobil 1.

High-end oil and air filters will often do a better job of catching contaminants and protecting your engine. High-quality brake components will often better withstand heat, while quality suspension parts will better resist corrosion over time.

3. Keep it clean!

It may seem silly, but keeping your car clean can help make it last over 250,000 miles. Environmental contamination such as salt, acid rain, and even bird droppings can create problems with the metal surfaces of your vehicle. 

Be sure to clean the car’s underbody at least once weekly in salty areas, and apply an undercoating if possible. This will protect against corrosion from road salt in winter, reducing the risk of terminal frame damage.

Topside, have your vehicle professionally detailed and protected at least once a year. This will help remove contaminants that can eat through your paint, and make it harder for future contaminants to cause damage.

By doing this annually, you’ll be keeping your car’s finish in better shape and holding corrosion and rust at bay. It may not seem important, but over 250,000 miles your car will see a lot of environmental damage. Making it last means taking care of them regularly.

4. Drive with care and almost any car can last over 250,000 miles

An underbody inspection like this can help make your car last over 250,000 miles
Avoid suspension damage by driving carefully | Getty Images

It may seem simple, but driving carefully is a significant factor in making your car last over 250,000 miles. Avoid smashing through potholes and over speed bumps to protect your suspension and steering components. In some vehicles, hard bumps can even damage the oil pan and drivetrain mounts, resulting in costly damage.

In addition, avoid overrevving your engine frequently. Of course, you may need to get up to speed quickly when the situation calls for it. But keeping hard acceleration to a minimum will help keep your engine in better condition for the long haul.

Use these tips and make your car last 250,000 miles or more

Of course, these are just four of the ways you can make your car last past the 250,000-mile mark. Regular maintenance is always the first step to keeping any car healthy, but going beyond the standard oil change is key to getting the most out of your car. But what do you think? Leave a comment below and tell us some of your tips for getting the most mileage from your vehicle.

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