You may not know the name Irv Gordon, but you will certainly want to listen to some of his advice. The retired schoolteacher was driving in Alaska in 2013 when his 1966 Volvo P1800s hit the 3 million mile mark. Yes, in case you were wondering if you read that wrong, that’s 3 million.
Gordon’s number one piece of advice? Read the manual.
“Do what the manual calls for, not what the dealer calls for,” Gordon said in an interview. “People who built the car wrote the manual.”
That’s some pretty sound logic. It’s also something we harp on constantly. Cars are not designed to be disposable. They are an investment and something you want to protect.
If you’re driving a high mileage vehicle, you’ll want to pay attention to Gordon’s advice. You may not be trying to push your car to 3 million miles, but if you’re like us, you’d love to keep that old friend running as long as possible.
Here are some of the steps recommended to keeping your car running well well into its golden years.
1. Stay on schedule
Your owner’s manual recommends having different services performed at specific intervals. These are decided on by your car’s engineers. Regular service will keep everything in tip-top shape and allow your mechanic to spot small problems before they become big ones.
2. Love your tires
If we’ve said it once we’ve said it a thousand times: your tires are (hopefully) your car’s only point of contact with the road. They are incredibly important.
Your owner’s manual and the driver’s side door jamb will tell you the recommended tire pressure for your vehicle. Keeping your tires at the recommended pressure ensures you will get optimal gas mileage and steering response from your car.
In contrast, driving on underinflated tires especially puts unnecessary strain on everything in your car from the suspension to the engine.
3. Change that oil
You will find loads of competing information about how often to change your car’s oil. Disregard anything anyone but the manual tells you when it comes to your car.
While advancements in fluid and engine technology have improved oil longevity, the old standby advice of “every 3,000 miles” still holds true. In fact, Gordon said that changing your oil at that interval is still, “your best insurance policy.”
Rest assured that you cannot possibly change your car’s oil too often. Once you’ve gone over the 75,000 mile mark make sure you change that oil every 3,000 or less!
4. Clean it regularly
While this might seem more visual than functional, keeping your car clean without a doubt will increase its longevity.
Dirt and grime work their way into paint and will eventually cause the car to rust. This makes the body of the car fragile and what’s inside a lot more susceptible to damage.
Particles on the inside of your car can get into the seats and dash materials and create holes and tears in fabrics, vinyl and leather alike.
Chances are, if you keep the outside of your car looking nice you’ll be paying attention to the inside as well.
5. Drive responsibly
We all know some driver who loves to stomp the pedals. While that can be great for a race car driver, it is absolutely devastating on your car.
Driving a car is a big game of physics. Your car can use only use and withstand so much energy over its lifetime. It takes a lot of energy to get a car up to speed, and lots to slow it down.
Maintaining a steady, consistent pace keeps your car running efficiently. Newer cars have gas mileage information on the dash screen that lets you see this in real time.
That fuel efficiency translates into how often your car is purring along and how often it has to grunt and strain to get the job done.
The lifetime of your car is a marathon, not a sprint. Make sure you don’t overdo it when you don’t have to.
Stay tuned to the Strutmasters blog for more tips that save you time and money!