How would you like to put an extra $30,000 in your pocket? If you own a car and treat it right it can be done.

It’s not as difficult as you may think.

Ken Morrison is proud of the mileage he has on his 1994 Geo Tracker. And the formula was simple.

“Oil changes and good maintenance,” Morrison pointed out, “It’s got 204,000 kilometres on it.”

And he expects to drive it much longer.

BCAA Auto Service Centres manager Stu Miller says it’s not uncommon to see people keeping their cars longer and saving money by doing it.

“Yesterday we had a 92 Honda Accord in the shop here (Surrey service center). It had over 600,000 kilometers on it. That person does their regular maintenance,” he said.

The rules are simple:

  • never ignore the service indicator lights
  • for older vehicles carefully follow the maintenance schedule listed in the owner’s manual
  • do regular oil and filter changes, belt changes, and tire rotation
  • don’t cheap out on fluids

Using the incorrect oil or transmission fluid could wreak havoc and possibly void your warranty. It’s also recommend you buy parts from brand- name suppliers. Also, beware of shops that want you to service the car more often than what the owner’s manual or service indicator tell you – it could cost you hundreds of dollars more.

However, if you drive in severe weather, live near the ocean or drive in dusty conditions, you may have to service your vehicle more often.

Salt and road grime are not your friend. Keep your vehicle clean and free of debris and stay on top of rust.

And just like your body, if you run your car hard it will wear out faster. Hard acceleration, hard braking and excessive speed can damage it.

“Things are moving quite faster. It’s quite possible with the oil, the oil hasn’t got into the places where it needs to lubricate as quick as what we think it does, which may cause damage,” Miller said.

With discipline, elbow grease and a mechanic you trust Consumer Reports says it’s possible to drive a vehicle 15 years or more saving $30,000 or more while you’re at it.

For a more in depth look at which car brands make the best vehicles, click here.