Is a million mile car possible and how can you get one? New cars are expensive and when you purchase one how long it will last is one of your prime concerns. Years ago, 50,000 miles was " Old" for a car, and 100,000 miles was virtually unheard of. Today these are just milestones for a modern automobile and even 200,000 plus miles can be achieved. Three million miles is even possible, as a retired science teacher from Long Island, New York has discovered reaching that lofty number with his 1966 Volvo P1800. The fact that his car is in the record books is a clue that three million miles is not  typical but it does make the point that proper care and maintenance can prolong the life of your automobile significantly.


Let's take a look at a more reasonable expectation. The average new car is driven 12,000 to 15,000 miles per year and people are keeping their cars longer, with seven  years  or more being the norm. In fact, the number of cars over ten years old on the road today has increased by to 25% while the number of newer vehicles under five years old has dropped in recent years. Used car sales are up, and " Pre Owned" cars from legitimate dealers are plentiful with many dealers offering extended warranties and Certification programs which means the vehicle has gone through a rigorous bumper to bumper check.   If this sounds like we are getting a good return on our investment, you are right but there are some conditions, and the number one condition is maintenance.


The service schedule in your owners manual is there for a reason, and skipping service intervals can cut deeply into a car's life. Number one is oil changes, as is transmission service. Read your owners manual and know what the service intervals are and what is recommended.


While regular car maintenancemaintenance is crucial, some service items just normally wear out and require replacement. Brake jobs, tune ups, tire repairs and exhaust system repairs are normal for any car and an annual radiator flush and refill is also recommended. Anti freeze also contains rust inhibitors and these chemicals need replenishment to prevent corrosion.  Major jobs such as engine repair or  replacements and transmission rebuilds can cost several thousand dollars but those types of auto repairs can be avoided by careful maintenance. A modern engine should last at least 100,000 miles with normal use and 200,000 is not uncommon. A modern automatic transmission is usually reliable for at least 75,000 to 100,000  miles and more.


Most car dealerships and auto service shops will perform a multi point check during routine service stops and this includes fluid levels, tires, brakes and a visual inspection under the hood and under the car. Ask the service manager if they do a general overall check up  for leaks, checking hoses, belts , tires and brakes or anything else that might indicate more serious problems.  If the red light on your dashboard lights up get your car checked by a professional as soon as possible and have any loud or unusual noises coming from under the hood or under the car checked immediately.


Your best plan for long term ownership is a good mechanic and repair shop. Most new car dealers employ certified technicians, and  many independent garages do as well. ASE certification is your assurance that the technicians are trained and certified to work on your car. One repair facility that meets all the requirements is AA Auto Tech in Hastings Minnesota. They can be reached at (651) 437-2218 or visit their website at


So will your next car reach that magic Million Mile mark? Even if it doesn't go quite that far, with the right care and maintenance you are in for the long term.