According to IHS Markit, the average age of passenger cars on the road in the United States increased to 12.1 years old in 2021, increasing by nearly two months from 2020 data1. The increase in average vehicle age means that with many older vehicles on the road, maintenance requirements and frequency of maintenance have increased as well.

If you plan to keep your vehicle for longer, there are several factors that can help extend overall lifespan. This includes the weather where you live, the type of driving you experience, and how the vehicle is stored and maintained. If you live in an area with less severe weather or tend to drive longer distances (so your vehicle heats up fully) you are already checking boxes to help increase the life of your vehicle!

Driving habits also matter. If you drive, with frequent acceleration and hard braking or if you drive off-road, you can expect higher maintenance costs due to possible additional wear and tear on your vehicle. Storing your vehicle in a garage to protect it from the elements is also beneficial. While all these factors are important, the most crucial aspect to vehicle longevity is a strong preventative maintenance schedule. A well-maintained vehicle has a very good chance of having a longer life.

Every vehicle has a recommended maintenance schedule which can be found in the vehicle’s owner’s manual to help determine when service needs to be performed. Some key items within the maintenance schedule will include checking/changing the vehicle’s coolant, motor oil, transmission fluid and filters.

COOLANT: The coolant is very important to the health of your vehicle’s engine and should not be overlooked. Making sure the radiator and reservoir are filled to the proper level is important, and for older vehicles it should be changed when required. The additives in older coolant will become less effective which can lead to corrosion in the cooling system and engine.

MOTOR OIL: Changing the motor oil in your vehicle is one of the most valuable and simplest things you can do to keep it running well. As engine and motor oil technology have become more advanced, the interval between oil changes has increased significantly, but must still be maintained according to the requirements of your vehicle’s manufacturer. Motor oils meeting the current ILSAC GF-6A, ILSAC GF-6B and API SP motor oil specifications for gasoline powered engines provide excellent engine protection for new as well as late model engines.

For older vehicles, Pennzoil Platinum High Mileage Full Synthetic motor oil helps keep engines running strong when they reach 75,000 miles or more. The motor oil is specially formulated to condition seals which helps to reduce leaks and motor oil consumption in older vehicles. Pennzoil Platinum High Mileage full synthetic motor oil, which is designed to deliver complete protection for top engine performance, is available in the following viscosities: SAE 0W-20, 5W-20, 5W-30 and 10W-30 grades.

Pennzoil Platinum motor oils are made with natural gas. Maintaining the horsepower and reducing wear will help keep your engine running efficiently for many years and also could help reduce the amount of CO2 it emits; learn more about Pennzoil carbon neutral motor oils here.

TRANSMISSION FLUID: Maintaining the transmission in your vehicle is also critical because repairs or a new transmission can be very costly. Transmission fluid needs to be replaced far less frequently than motor oil and your owner’s manual should provide the proper interval. Older, dirty transmission fluid will not effectively lubricate the internal clutches, gears and bearings in the transmission. It also won't disperse heat well. This will result in wear on the clutches and other parts of your transmission and could lead to shifting issues including transmission damage. Pennzoil offers a full line of transmission fluids including Pennzoil Platinum High Mileage ATF.

AIR FILTER: You should regularly replace your vehicle’s air filter. A visual inspection will demonstrate if it is clogged or dirty. An engine with a clean air filter will run more efficiently because it is getting the amount of air required to run properly. A clean air filter can help to improve fuel economy and reduce emissions because the engine is operating efficiently. Air filters also keep dirt and debris from entering the engine and possibly damaging pistons and cylinders. Pennzoil air filters are designed to exceed industry-average efficiency rating. While conventional filter materials primarily hold the dirt on the surface, the Pennzoil filter material incorporates two layers of fine interlocking fibers that trap particles inside as well.

OIL FILTER: Replacing your oil filter at each oil change is crucial in extending engine life. Changing the oil filter can also prevent dirt or debris from getting into the engine and damaging the cylinders, pistons or other components. In addition, a dirty oil filter will be unable to filter out sludge and contaminants that has been accumulating in the oil. The Pennzoil vehicle filter selector tool can find the correct air and motor oil filter for your vehicle. Taking care of these key maintenance items cannot be understated and can help keep your high mileage vehicle running well and allow it to provide you with many years of reliable service.