It wasn’t that long ago, in the greater scheme of things, that by the time a car’s odometer rolled around to 60,000 miles the engine was in for a rebuild; or the transmission was pooched. Think of some the disasters that came along — General Motors’ ever-imploding diesel of the late 1970s comes to mind — and you wonder how we’ve improved things.
Well, things have improved. People are hanging onto their cars longer — average age of cars on American highways is nearly 11 years — and the cars seem to be holding up better.
It’s not surprising to hear of some cars cresting 300,000 miles — my brother’s 1986 Volvo station wagon finally left the family with 445,000 miles on the odometer and it was still running fine and had never had an engine rebuild.
One basic rule that hasn’t changed is this: adhere to maintenance schedules and your car will last longer. Change the oil and oil filter frequently. Oil is cheap, compared to the cost of rebuilding an engine. There’s more about all this in this Forbes piece.