How Many Miles Does A Car Last? Tips On How To Improve Your Mileage and More

How Many Miles Does A Car Last? Tips On How To Improve Your Mileage and More

When you're shopping around for any used automobile, one of the most crucial factors to take into consideration is no doubt its mileage.

Generally speaking, cars nowadays have a longer lifespan than those manufactured just a few decades ago, thanks much in part to the fact that they're made with parts that are designed to endure. This, in turn, means fewer trips to the mechanic and that equates to more cash in your pocket.

In this article, we talk about some of the ways you can prolong the life of your car, be it new or used.

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How long do cars last?

Once upon a time, up until the 1980s, odometers would maxed out at 99,999 miles and then start over again at zeros, hence the term "rolling over." That’s less common of an occasion now than it was back then. That’s why these days odometers – which are now all digitalized – are designed to keep counting well past 100,000 miles. 

According to most insurance companies, on average the typical car these days travels between 12,000 and 15,000 miles annually. That means a 10-year-old car is going to have between 120,000 and 150,000 miles on its odometer, for example.

What is the average amount of miles driven per year?

Today’s typical car's average lifespan expectancy is between 11 and 12 years altogether. Conventional vehicles tend to make it up to 200,000 miles in total, whereas electric and hybrid vehicles can go for up to 300,000 miles.

Holding onto a car for that long brings many advantages, namely the possibility of saving you a significant amount of money over time. Experts estimate that the savings earned from keeping your car for that long can add up to a total of $30,000 or more.

In the end, your car's lifespan directly relates to your specific driving habits and the manner in which you care for your car, too. For example, are you the sort of driver who constantly punches the pedal to the metal, only to slam on the brakes? Are you the type of car owner who remembers to take it for its oil changes regularly?

What are the best cars in terms of mileage?

Of course, a car's total life expectancy also depends on the actual vehicle. Certain makes and models are noted for their durability and dependability, while others are notorious for experiencing mechanical flaws. That's why doing your homework before you buy and purchasing a better-built automobile is fundamental, as it will almost certainly lead you to choosing a vehicle that will last for a longer period of time. Some models that are specifically known for their longevity include the Honda Accord, the Honda Civic, the Nissan Maxima, the Subaru Legacy, the Subaru Outback, the Toyota Avalon, the Toyota Camry, and the Toyota Prius.

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What can I do to lengthen the life of my car?

Your driving habits undeniably play a significant role in how long or short the life of your car winds up being. Simply put, the rougher you drive your car, the less mileage it will ultimately be able to handle.

Selecting a vehicle with modern-day safety features – systems such as lane-keeping assist, automatic emergency braking, collision detection, parking sensors, traffic alerts, driver drowsiness monitoring and adaptive cruise control – can play a major factor in prolonging the life of your car. This is because in theory better safety features equate to fewer accidents in general. Thankfully, many of these features come standard on most cars these days.

Vehicle management systems are another important resource for getting the most life out of your vehicle, although many people unfortunately ignore them. They can allow you to improve your gas mileage, intelligently assess your habits behind the wheel and give you maintenance reminders, too. Fortunately, along with safety features, vehicle management systems are also becoming increasingly common among newer-model cars.

Nissan Maxima SV (from $21,250)

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How important is it to have my car regularly maintenanced?

Regular preventive maintenance – things like changing your oil and spark plugs, having your tires rotated, checking your brake pads and such – is absolutely essential in guaranteeing that your car lasts for as many miles and years as possible. Sure, rarely does anybody actually enjoy sitting around in the mechanic's waiting room. Spending just a little time having your vehicle checked out twice a year, however, can actually allow you to save up to multiple days if it winds up having to be in the shop for days on end because of an unexpected major repair. Also, keeping up on your car's tune-ups is a foolproof way to increase its retail value should you ever decide to sell it.

Another way to get the most life out of your car is to pay attention to the little things. Subtle signs like strange smells or weird noises can actually be a big help as far as prolonging the life of your vehicle, if you know how to notice them and actually pay attention to them. Don't wait until the last minute, or worse, until you're stuck on the side of the road somewhere, to take in your car to find out what's going under the hood.

And on that note, it's essential that you pay attention to your car's indicator lights, too. They're there for a reason. Don't ignore a warning sign like the check engine light for months. Bring the automobile in to have the issue assessed and remedied. This allows you to prevent minor issues from becoming major ones.

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What are the benefits of having my car’s engine cleaned?

While not many car owners actually go to the trouble of having their engines cleaned every now and then, it's actually not only an effectively helpful way to extend the life of your vehicle but it can improve its overall performance, too, which in turn improves its fuel efficiency. Experts recommend having your engine cleaned annually, as doing so rids the motor of dirt, debree, grease and gunk that can otherwise cause it to run poorly, to overheat and even to possibly break down altogether. Think of it like your car's would-be annual trip to the dentist for a general cleaning. Sure, not everybody necessarily enjoys having their teeth scraped and polished. But everyone loves a clean, healthy mouth, hands down. Same goes for under the hood of your vehicle.

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Does having a good mechanic really make a difference?

Lastly, when it comes to helping your car live the longest life possible, it's undeniable that the value of a skilled mechanic is immeasurable. Automobiles today are light years more sophisticated than their predecessors, with a lot of complex computers and electronic equipment that should only be handled by trained professionals. That's why it's important for you to look for technicians – whether at the dealer or a private auto service center –  who are certified to work on your vehicle, someone with whom you can gradually build a relationship of trust and honesty, just as you ideally would with any health care provider.

If you're shopping for a used car, keep in mind that you can buy any of Shift's automobiles directly from the comfort of your own home, knowing that – regardless of its mileage – it has no hidden flaws thanks to Shift's 150-point inspection and that you're getting a fair and honest price upfront.

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Shift Editorial Team