Getting Your Car To Last

These days, people are looking for any way to stretch a dollar. One way can be holding onto your car longer. Today the average vehicle has been on the road nearly 11 years, according to Polk Research.

Consumer Reports can help you go the distance, saving you big bucks!

Ariel Manacher says, "I am the first owner, and I will be the last owner!"

When Ariel Manacher bought his Toyota Camry back in 1996, he never imagined hitting 226-thousand miles!

Manacher says, "I didn't know it would get this far, but it did, and we're pleased."

Liza Barth, Consumer Reports' auto expert, says people often are not aware of the long-term financial benefits of keeping a car for so long.

Barth says, "Our research shows if you hit 200-thousand miles, which takes the average driver about 15 years, you could potentially save more than 30-thousand dollars."

First, you need to shop for a car you can live with long-term.

Barth says, "Make sure it fits your lifestyle and don't compromise on features, especially safety features, like electronic stability control and a rear-view camera, if you can get it."

And be sure you pick a vehicle with a reliable track record, like Ariel's Toyota Camry.

Then stick to the maintenance schedule in your owner's manual. Missing even one oil change can contribute to premature engine wear.

Barth says, "But don't waste your money on maintenance you don't need. Many vehicles can go 10,000 miles versus 3,000 miles on an oil change."

Also, don't skimp on part. Trying to save a couple of bucks on cheap parts and fluids could cost you in the long run.

And like Ariel Manacher, listen for any strange sounds and get small things fixed before they become a big problem.

Manacher says, "The car starts every day, and that's what you really want in a car. You want to get in it and go. You don't want to worry about it."

No matter how well you care for your car, someday it will be time to part ways.

Consumer Reports says if you are facing a repair that will cost more than the car is worth, or if you car starts to be unreliable even with frequent repairs, it may be time to say goodbye.

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