Am I Really Saving Money if I Buy a 30,000-Mile Car?

Visiting car dealership

We sat down again with Joe Malick and Rodney Braun from CarShop to get answers to questions that customers often ask.

How much life is really left in a 30,000-mile used car?

Joe: These days, a lot.

Rodney: A lot of people have it in their head that 100,000 miles is what they can expect. But that hasn’t been true for at least a decade, maybe two.

Joe: It used to be, you’ve got a domestic SUV with 150,000 miles on it, you cringed when you went to hit the starter. What am I going to hear? What lights are going to stay on?

Rodney: These days, you go out and do an appraisal of a car 150, even 175,000 miles old, and it’s basically still in pretty good shape – cosmetic issues more than anything mechanical.

Joe: Cars do last longer, so that 20,000-mile used car, even that 30,000-mile car, has a lot more value than it did even 5 or 6 years ago.

Rodney: Replace all soft parts on a regular basis, so hard parts don’t have to be replaced, and 200,000 miles is not unrealistic anymore.

So, you’re saying 200,000 with maintenance. What kind of maintenance?

Joe: Fluids and filters. Every 30 to 60,000 miles, just flush your brake fluid and get all the contaminants out of there.

Rodney: You want to flush the cooling system every 45 to 60,000 miles, instead of replacing a heater, cooler, water pump, head gasket at 120,000 miles.

Joe: Make sure the air filters get replaced. And your oil filter as well.

Rodney: Spark plugs… Tune ups are really 100,000 miles in most cars now.

Joe: Myself personally, I don’t like going beyond 60,000 miles for a transmission fluid flush. I’ve been doing that for years and years, and out of the dozens of cars I’ve owned I only had to replace a transmission once, and that’s because I bought a junker – an old Ford Bronco.

Rodney: Keep an eye on brake pads, so you don’t have to replace both brake pads and rotors, where you go down to metal on metal and kind of destroy everything.

Joe: Easiest thing for our customers to do is change the oil every 4 month or 4000 miles. Get your synthetic blend or full synthetic, whatever the car calls for, keep your oil filter changed, that’s your base.

I notice you’re talking synthetics and synthetic blends when it comes to oil.

Rodney: I don’t know how many vehicles we have that have been built in the last five years that don’t at least call for a synthetic blend.

Joe: I recommend full synthetic to everybody who asks me. It has properties to it, it has additives, and it doesn’t cook off like regular oil can. I say it’s great insurance – I would say cheap insurance, but you do spend a little more for synthetic oil. But to me, it’s worth every penny.

Rodney: Some manufacturers say you can go 10,000 with it, but that’s a risk not worth taking.

Joe: 10,000 is not a good idea.

If you’ve been using a conventional oil, can you just switch to synthetics?

Rodney: Sure, not a problem.

Joe: You can switch back and forth all the time if you wanted to.




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