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Save money: How to make your car last longer

Consumer Reports has a list of cars that can make it that long. The secret, keeping up with the maintenance.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Taking care of and holding on to a reliable car—rather than buying or leasing a new one every few years—is a smart financial move, especially now with the high price of new and used cars.

Consumer Reports has some tips to capitalize on this thrifty trend to get your car to 200,000 miles or beyond.

So what’s the secret to helping your car go the distance? Stay on top of problems and follow the maintenance schedule for it. Don’t delay routine oil and filter changes, belt replacements, or tire rotations.

How often you should service your car can vary depending on climate and other factors. If you live where the weather is extreme or you drive in lots of traffic, shorter service intervals may be necessary. The owner’s manual makes this clear.

"Don’t cheap out! Make sure to always buy original equipment or equivalent parts, like belts and hoses from name-brand suppliers. You don’t have to buy from a dealer, but make sure you’re buying quality parts," said Mike Quincy of Consumer Reports. 

Using the wrong oil or transmission fluid could wreak havoc on your car or even void your warranty.

Looking to reach 200K miles with your next car? Start with one that has a proven track record of rock-solid reliability. Every year Consumer Reports surveys its members, and from hundreds of thousands of responses identifies the most reliable, problem-free vehicles that can go 200,000 miles or more with proper care.

If you’re looking to buy a new car that will take you beyond 200,000 miles, CR’s data shows you can’t go wrong with Toyota Camry or Prius, or a Honda Accord. Those are good options as used cars, too, as are the Honda Civic, Mazda 3, Nissan Altima, and Subaru Legacy.

Another tip from Consumer Reports to keep your car road-ready: Never ignore those service indicator lights. 


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