Car Maintenance Steps to Get Your SUV to 200,000 Miles: Consumer Reports

Having a vehicle last you 200,000 miles is a big deal! Consumer Reports wants your SUV to hit 200,000 miles without too much car repair drama. Back in the day, reaching that extreme mileage was a significant feat. Now, it probably just means you took good care of your vehicle and performed regular car maintenance tasks like oil changes and tire checks. One of Consumer Reports’ chief mechanics, John Ibbotson says, “It’s not rocket science. If you take care of your car, it will take care of you.”

Car maintenance suggestions from zero to 36,000 miles, according to Consumer Reports

Car Maintenance steps to get an SUV to 200,000 miles, Consumer Reports says
Joe LoCicero and his wife Sharon wave to the crowd that gathered for a surprise parade on Main St. in Saco put on by Honda in honor of Joe for driving his 1990 Honda Accord over one million miles | Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

At the start of your vehicle’s life, Consumer Reports says regular maintenance is all that’s needed. This includes regular oil changes, rotating your tires, checking the brakes, and keeping up with tires as needed. Replacing your wiper blades can be done at home. Most new cars will be under warranty depending on what else you need. That means you can hop into the dealership for repairs.

Oil change: $60
Tire rotation: $60
Windshield wiper blades: $60

Consumer Reports suggests these car maintenance steps at 36,000 to 60,000 miles

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At this point in time, it might be a good idea to replace your tires. The brake pads and quite possibly the rotors might need replacing. Depending on how much you drive and how many miles you have put on your car in the first few months or years of ownership. This is an excellent time to catch up on car maintenance before it gets too to be too late. Get in front of any car repairs that might be down the road.

Tires: $972
Wheel alignment (4 wheels): $297
Brake pads (pair): $607

Drivers should check suspension at 60,000 to 100,000 miles

By this time, most vehicles will be out of warranty. Monitoring your brakes and tires is a good idea to catch any issues ahead of time. This will also be the point where you should check out the suspension, shocks, struts, and bushings. After so long, these can start to wear out and need replacing. You will probably hear the squeaking brakes and feel the suspension worsen as you drive around. Consumer Reports says to replace the suspension and brakes in pairs to wear evenly. Also, it is a good idea to get an alignment when you replace either the tires or the suspension.

Front struts (both): $979
Rear struts (both): $600
Control arms (both): $605

The car maintenance suggestions for SUVs that hit 100,000 to 150,000 miles

Time for some major repairs! The timing belt replacement might be a necessary repair at this time. Spark plugs and the starter might also need replacement. You should check over the alternator and suspension parts if these need updating.  “In theory, if you get that stuff replaced in the 100,000-to-150,000-mile range, the cycle starts again, and you should be good for a while,” Ibbotson noted.

Water pump assembly: $748
Spark plugs: $215
Alternator: $540

Reaching the 150,000 to 200,000-mile mark

The twilight years! Even with regular car maintenance, many cars, trucks, and SUVs don’t make it this far. The potential for big repairs goes up after 150,000 miles,” Ibbotson commented. Consumer Reports says your car might need some major repairs to keep it in good shape. Leaking engine oil seals are expected at this time, and the transmission can start acting up. Sometimes it needs a replacement, which can be an expensive repair. The exhaust and head gasket might need replacing, too.

Head gasket: $3,957
Transmission replacement: $7,803
Muffler replacement: $725

Getting your car or SUV to hit 200,000 miles is a big deal!

The pinnacle of SUV ownership! Consumer Reports says that you probably have a solid maintenance plan in place if you reach this far. That is something to keep up with at this point. Depending on your vehicle, oil changes should be done every 3,000 to 10,000 miles. You should replace tires at the age of 10 years, but owners should certainly keep up with replacing these after 30,000 to 80,000 miles.

Keep up with the brakes and spark plugs. If your car is front-wheel drive, your front brakes will wear out quicker. Spark plugs tend to become an issue around 100,000 miles. Consumer Reports suggests getting the exact ones recommended by your manufacturer.

The name of the game here is that regular car maintenance will save you money in the long run. Keeping up with various car repairs on a schedule can help keep costs down and keep you out of the repair shop. No one likes a broken-down car, anyway! Do your oil changes, check your tires, and find a high-quality repair shop before you need one.

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