Until recently, we thought that moving your car after 200,000 kilometers was almost impossible. Improvements made in drivetrain technology, lubricants, and rust prevention, however, have resulted in significant increases in reliability. With proper maintenance, we can extend the life of almost any vehicle.

This is good news, especially for those who want to keep their car longer. The average life of almost all cars on the road is about 11 years, considering that in 1995 it was eight. However, most drivers don’t see the long-term financial benefits of keeping their car that long. However, studies show that reaching 200,000 kilometers, which takes an average person about fifteen years, can save about BGN 60,000, or even more.

1. Invest in the right vehicle

One way to get to 200,000 kilometers is by getting a reliable car initially. Choose a car that you want to keep for a long time, don’t compromise on what you want your car to have, but don’t take something you don’t need. Make sure it will give you pleasure and fit your needs and lifestyle, given that it will be with you for a relatively long time.

As you shop, be sure to keep an eye out for the latest safety features. Electronic security system, collision avoidance system, rear camera.

On the other hand, if you decide to buy a used car, be on the lookout for defects such as rust, dents, or mismatched body parts. Check that all interior components are in good condition. A strange smell, discoloration, stains on the interior, or deposits on the trunk are bad signs. Everything under the hood should be free of rust or grease, and check the fluids, looking out for wet areas around the engine or under the car, which could be a sign of leaks.

When you finally find what you’re looking for, visit a garage to diagnose the car to make sure there are no surprises later.

2. Don’t miss the regular technical check-ups

Maintenance is a key part of a car’s life. It is good not to miss the examinations at the original service of your vehicle. Even one failure to change the oil can lead to premature engine wear and damage that shortens the life of your car.

If you’ve been neglecting your vehicle service schedule until now, it’s not too late to make amends. Visit a mechanic to check for problems regardless of their severity and start visiting your service center regularly. Even if you do not reach 200,000 kilometers, for sure the proper care of the car will significantly extend its life. It is now quite normal to go 10,000 kilometers between two oil changes, and some spark plugs even last up to 100,000 km.

It is also recommended to take more care if you drive frequently in urban areas, live in a place with a very hot or cold climate, if you are near the mountains or the sea, tow a trailer, or drive in dusty areas. You may need to change the oil twice as often as normal.

Most new models are made to calculate when you need car service. They calculate the kilometers traveled since the last inspection and store information about every stop and go, the temperature of the engine during the journeys, and how it performs at a higher speed. The system also keeps track of how long the oil is running out and notifies when this happens.

However, do not overdo the care as it can be a pure waste of money. Also, you don’t have to visit only the repair shops specified by the manufacturer, but you can look for something more profitable for you.

3. Do not compromise on quality at the expense of price

Trying to save money by buying cheap parts can end up costing you more in the long run. The wrong oils and fluids, for example, can cause damage that can lead to costly repairs or void the warranty, which in turn can shorten the life of the vehicle. For peace of mind, follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. Some engines run better with higher octane fuel.

However, if it is optional, you can also use standard. There’s no point in using premium fuel if your car is made to run perfectly on regular one. Your car won’t perform better on the road, you won’t save on fuel and you won’t extend the life of the engine, so you can save on this expense that won’t get you 200,000 kilometers.

4. Decide what exactly you want to achieve

Even following all maintenance advice is no guarantee that problems will not occur. Get into the habit of looking under the hood. Strange smells or sounds can indicate a problem. Abrasions, cracks, and bulges in belts and hoses are a concern, as are leaks, and problems with the cooling system or with brake and hydraulic fluids. You will save money if you catch the problem early on. Pay attention to strange sounds coming from the engine, suspension, and brakes. If in any doubt, see a mechanic.

It is important to tackle problems while they are still small. Invest in a car maintenance manual, which can be found at manufacturer stores and most auto parts stores. For greater accuracy, you can use a service manual in which you can see illustrated details and help yourself with the repair of minor damages.

5. Keep your vehicle clean

Cleaning inside and out will not only keep the car looking new but also make it a more pleasant place to drive. Washing will help preserve the paint and prevent rust, and cleaning dirt from floor mats and seats will reduce premature wear, tears, and holes. Additionally, cleaning may reveal problems that you wouldn’t have noticed otherwise.


6. You have to know when it’s time to move on

No matter how much care you take, there will come a time when you will have to part with the car, sometimes before 200,000 kilometers, if it is too expensive or no longer reliable. However, breaking up can be difficult, but here are a few signs that it might be time for something new:


It needs serious repairs that would cost more than the value of the car;
The rust is to the extent that it destroys the structural integrity;
Even frequent visits to the workshop are not enough for reliability;
Your car has suffered a flood or a serious accident.