Story and Photography by Tracy Junker

"The maintenance schedule only goes to 97,500 miles, but my car is over 100,000 miles. What do I do?”

Does this sound familiar? As more and more of us are holding onto aging vehicles, the question about when to do what maintenance is becoming more common. Here are a few guidelines to help you maintain your car or truck, so it will continue to provide you with reliable service.

If you have a vehicle that relies on service intervals instead of a maintenance reminder light, take a look at the items that have been serviced and when, and then create your own extended maintenance schedule. For an older vehicle you might have changed the oil and filter every 3,000 to 5,000 miles. There are a few additional items that get checked at around 15,000 miles. Then at 30,000, 60,000 and 90,000 miles, there are additional important items to be serviced. These last three intervals are usually the most expensive. Typically, the 30,000 and 90,000 maintenance items are identical, so you should repeat the 60,000-mile interval maintenance at 120,000 miles (and 180,000, and so on.). For example, if your vehicle is due for a timing belt at 60,000 miles, change it again after every 60,000 miles.

Include some additional notes about items that don’t fit into the normal schedule. These may include items noted at the bottom of the maintenance schedule. For example, inspecting or changing the antifreeze at 100,000 miles, and then every 30,000 thereafter. Since the vehicle components are older now, so you may want to accelerate the maintenance checks, similar to a severe service schedule. For example, you may want to look at components or systems more frequently, such as every oil change instead of every other oil change. Adding these items to the schedule that you create and follow will help you to maintain your vehicle for years to come.

Maintaining your vehicle as specified by the manufacturer is the surest way to help prevent expensive repairs. While all vehicles have items that will wear out eventually, routine maintenance is still the best way to be sure your vehicle will provide reliable service when you need it.

Stay on top of automotive service with Chilton. For more than 100 years, Chilton has been a trusted source of automotive information. Check out ChiltonDIY.com for maintenance interval charts, repair procedures, specifications, and more.

Tracy Junker portrait, Chilton

An automotive editor with more than 15 years automotive industry experience, Tracy Junker's father owned and operated a garage for about 30 years. Though too young at the time to work in the garage, she worked with him later at home on the family’s vehicles and those of former customers that would not trust anyone but her Dad to fix their cars correctly. Tracy says, “My interest in cars began because I loved working with Dad on whatever project he had going.”