CHICAGO - Between higher gas prices and microchip shortages, looking for a new — or even used — car can be difficult these days.
"I think it's not uncommon to keep a car 200 to 250,000 miles… and to have it for 15 years," said Automotive Maintenance and Repair Association President Jeff Cox.
Sound impossible? Well, it's not. And Cox ought to know.
"If you stay on top of maintenance, you can go a long ways," said Cox.
Cox said a good first step is to make sure you are taking care of your car according to the manufacturer specifications — that means knowing the recommended service intervals for things like oil changes and tire rotation.
"When you take your car in to get serviced, the folks there can help you pull up those intervals and create the schedule for you," said Cox.
You can also find these recommendations either online or in your owners manual.
Either way, it pays to know about them because it will allow you to plan for future car expenses.
"A sign of a good shop is one that will sit down with you and spend five minutes just saying, ‘Hey over the next year, these are some of the things you should think about getting done to get the most out of your vehicle.,’" said Cox.
Another good step, Cox says, is to have your car regularly inspected throughout the year.
"Before you take those long road trips, it's good to bring your vehicle in, have them go through that multi-point inspection to ensure that you are going to get to your destination," said Cox. "Nothing ruins a vacation more than sitting on the side of the road."
You also need to pay attention for any part recalls regarding you car.
However, there is a catch.
Cox says you have to look for recalls yourself — don't assume it will come to you in the mail.
You can find that information online either from the manufacturer, NTHSA or a consumer automotive group.
Don't forget — you also have to take care of the outside of your car as well.
Washing the salt off and putting on a coat of wax can add years to your car's life.
Another tip from the Automotive Maintenance and Repair Association: periodically walk around the outside of your vehicle.
Inspect it yourself for any possible problems and then bring it in for a closer look if necessary.