The Key to Getting Your Truck to Last Over 200,000 Miles

A truck still running anywhere close to 200,000 miles was unheard of until recent years. Today, thanks to new technologies and innovations, many vehicles are surpassing 200,000 miles and enjoying longer life cycles.

For consumers, it’s great because they can keep their cars and trucks longer. According to the Department of Transportation, the average car on the road is over 11 years old. That’s up from 1995 when the average age of a car was 8.4 years.

While some love the thrill of a brand-new car or truck every few years, there are a lot of long-term financial benefits in keeping a car for 200,000 miles.

According to Consumer Reports, you could save up to $30,000 or more by hanging onto your truck a while. Yes, there will be maintenance and repairs to pay for. But if you can limit depreciation, you can save money.

Start with a reliable, safe vehicle

The 2019 Chevy Silverado 1500 unveiled
The 2019 Chevrolet Silverado | JEWEL SAMAD/AFP via Getty Images

With some money and patience, sure, nowadays you can stretch most vehicles to 200,000 miles. Do you really want a truck to last? Start with a truck that has a solid history of safety and strong reliability ratings. Reliable sources like Consumer Reports can help you find a good truck from the beginning.

The truck should also be something you like. You’ll be spending a lot of time together, so find a truck that offers what you need and that you’ll enjoy driving. It should also be practical. Think about the future too. Will the truck be something you’ll get a lot of use out of moving forward?

A truck with the latest safety features is ideal. Features like automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, and forward-collision warning are good ideas. If the truck’s older, look for a rearview camera and electronic stability control. Be sure to take a look at all government and insurance-industry safety tests.

Once you’ve found a truck you like, have it evaluated by an independent mechanic. They can help you, particularly in the case of a used truck, to find any signs of abuse or wear that you might not otherwise be aware of.

The maintenance schedule is important 

Every truck has an owner’s manual from the manufacturer. In it is a maintenance schedule that outlines every service it needs and when. The schedule includes instructions on routine things like tire rotations and filter and oil changes. You’ll also find recommendations on bigger services like replacing timing belts. All you have to do is follow the schedule and get the services your truck needs when it needs them.

With longer-lasting parts and improved fluids, maintenance is easier than ever before. Trucks can go up to 10,000 miles now between oil changes and spark plugs last longer than ever. Some last for 100,000 miles. 

The extreme-use or severe-use schedules should be followed. They’re intended for those living in the city, mountain, in extreme temperatures, or by the sea. If you haul trailers, make several short trips, or often drive in dirty or dusty conditions, the extreme-use schedule is for you.

What’s the difference between the extreme-use and regular maintenance schedules? There’s a lot of extra maintenance for the extreme-use schedule – sometimes twice what’s required for the regular schedule. Using the aggressive schedule can help you keep your truck in optimal running condition for longevity. 

But don’t overdo it. While maintenance is the most important thing you can do to make your truck last, doing too much might add more expense and negate your efforts.

What else?

What else can help you do to help your truck reach 200,000 miles?

  • Don’t be cheap. Using cheaper or generic parts or using lower quality oil or transmission fluids can actually lead to expensive repairs as opposed to helping you preserve your truck and keep it running.
  • Fuel requirements. If your truck requires premium fuel, it’s best to use that. If it’s recommended that you use premium fuel, you can opt for the lower grade. The engine-control system has sensors that will make up the difference.
  • Monitor for potential problems. Get in the habit of regularly opening the hood and checking everything out. Keep an eye out for anything that looks, sounds, or smells wrong. The same goes for when you’re driving. Turn the radio down once in a while and listen to your truck. Take care of problems when you first notice them. You could avoid the problem growing larger and requiring more expensive repairs.
  • Keep it clean. Keep your truck clean inside and out. Washing and applying wax can help keep the paint in good shape and help keep rust away. Cleaning your truck will also help you to notice things that you might not otherwise notice as you go about your day.

By strictly adhering to your truck’s maintenance schedule, keeping it clean and repaired with quality parts and products, you can enjoy several years with your driving partner. You might even get your truck to 200,000 miles or more of great service.