Tips to make your car last up to 200,000 miles or find one that will last :: WRAL.com

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Looking after a reliable car and keeping it – rather than buying or leasing a new one every few years – is a smart financial decision, especially now with the high price of new and used cars.

The average monthly payment for a new car exceeds $700. That’s according to a report from Cox Automotive and Moody’s Analytics.

Consumer Reports has some tips for taking advantage of 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 issues and follow the corresponding maintenance schedule. Don’t delay routine oil and filter changes, belt replacements or tire rotations.

But how often you need to service your car can vary depending on the climate and other factors. If you live in an area with extreme weather conditions or drive in heavy traffic, shorter service intervals may be required. The owner’s manual says so.

And CR says don’t go cheap! Be sure to always purchase original equipment or equivalent parts, such as belts and hoses from name brand suppliers. You don’t have to buy from a dealer, but be sure to buy quality parts.

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

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

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

Another tip from Consumer Reports to keep your car ready for the road: never ignore those service lights.

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