CONSUMER REPORTS -- Did you know it takes the average motorist about 15 years to reach 200,000 miles on their car? But big improvements in technology, rust prevention, and lubricants mean you can drive your car even more miles and even save you as much as $30,000.

The secret? Staying on top of maintenance! Never ignore service indicators in newer cars. And for older cars - always read the maintenance schedule listed in the owner’s manual.

“Following the schedule is key to getting your car to 200-thousand miles. Don’t delay routine oil and filter changes, belt replacements or tire rotations,” syas Jon Linkov, Consumer Reports Auto Editor.

But how often you service your car can vary depending on climate and other factors.
If you live where weather is extreme, near the ocean or drive in dusty conditions - shorter service intervals may be necessary.

“That might mean, for example, changing your oil more regularly - sometimes twice as often - but in the long run it’s worth it.”

And don’t cheap out. The wrong oil or transmission fluid could wreak havoc on your car. Or even void your warranty. Buy genuine parts like belts and hoses from name-brand suppliers. And tackle rust early.

Remember - if anything smells, looks, or sounds off, it probably is. Also beware of shops who want to service the car more than what the manual or service indicator tells you - or it could cost you hundreds of dollars.