High Mileage Vehicle Maintenance Checklist

Keep Your Old Car Running Smoothly

Treat your high-mileage vehicle right, and it will treat you right. You may have used the dealer service department to perform the recommended maintenance schedule while your car was shiny and new. But you have started doing more yourself now that it is off warranty. It can be confusing to know what to inspect or replace at which milestone. Some are based on the miles driven, while others are based on the calendar. You'll need to take over the responsibility of ensuring things get done regularly.

Proper maintenance will extend the life of your car and prevent costly repairs. A little time and expense spent on maintenance can save big bucks and time in the repair shop. Regular maintenance will also keep your car safer to drive. You can prevent an accident or breakdown by keeping everything in working order. That may even save you a trip to the hospital, where the repairs will be even more costly!

Here is a maintenance checklist to help you get your vehicle well past the 100,000 mark:

Monthly (or More Often) Maintenance Tasks

Close-up of young man checking oil level of car with dipstick
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  • Check the tire pressure
  • Check the oil level (high-mileage oil is recommended)
  • Check the coolant level
  • Clean the backup camera lens

Every 3,000 Miles Maintenance Tasks

  • Change the oil and replace the oil filter
  • Check the washer fluid level
  • Add fuel injector cleaner to fuel

Every Six Months Maintenance

  • Check the power steering fluid level
  • Wax the car to extend the life of the paint and to prevent rust

Every 5,000 Miles Maintenance

Adjust the clutch if a manual transmission (some are self-adjusting)

Every 10,000 Miles Maintenance

  • Inspect the belts
  • Rotate the tires

Maintenance to Perform Every Year for Your High-Mileage Vehicle

  • Inspect the brakes
  • Inspect the hoses and clamps
  • Clean the battery connections
  • Check the brake fluid level
  • Check the manual transmission fluid
  • Check the coolant strength
  • Back-flush the radiator from the engine side with a garden hose
  • Rinse off the air conditioner condenser
  • Buff the plastic headlight assembly, if dull, to maintain good visibility.

Every 30,000 Miles Maintenance

  • Replace the spark plugs. Some are designed to last up to 100,000 miles, so check to see what kind you have and when it will be due.
  • Replace the distributor cap and rotor (if applicable)
  • Inspect the spark plug wires (if applicable)
  • Change the transmission fluid
  • Replace the oxygen sensors (for vehicles manufactured late 1970's to early 1990's)
  • Inspect the shocks for leaks and perform bounce test
  • Replace the PCV valve
  • Clean the throttle body

Every Two Years Maintenance Items

  • Flush the coolant system
  • Check the battery electrolyte level

Every 40,000 Miles Maintenance

Replace the fuel filter

Every 60,000 Miles Maintenance

  • Replace the air filter
  • Change the automatic transmission fluid
  • Inspect the brakes
  • Inspect the accessory drive belts
  • Replace the timing belt
  • Have the front end alignment inspected and checked

Every 80,000 Miles Maintenance

Inspect the U-joints

Every 100,000 Miles Maintenance

  • Replace the oxygen sensors (for vehicles manufactured after mid-1990's)
  • Replace the rear axle lubricant

As Needed Maintenance

Have the alignment adjusted. This can help extend the life of your tires.