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Baby your vehicle to keep it running past 100,000 miles

Dear Car Fix: Do you think today's cars could go over 100,000 miles?

-- J.B., Hamburg

Dear J.B.: There's no reason why almost any late-model car or truck can't be counted on to last for 10 or more years and run reliably for well beyond 100,000 miles.

Many people think that once the warranty runs out or 50,000 miles shows on the odometer that they have to get rid of the car quickly because the end is near. The durability and reliability of modern cars is remarkable, provided they're treated properly.

Maintenance is critical to getting any automobile to 100,000 miles. Here are some tips:

*No abuse to your baby. When you first start the vehicle, do not race the engine. Accelerate gradually until the engine has completely warmed up; it takes about 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the outside temperature. Most engine wear occurs during cold-starts and during the first few minutes of operation afterward. Do you start the vehicle and leave it idling for more than a couple of minutes? That is also bad for the engine, because idling does not heat your engine up quickly enough to burn off raw gas and other contaminants that can dilute the oil and reduce its ability to lubricate internal parts properly. Simply get in, start the engine and wait 30 seconds.

*Lubricant levels/regular changes: It's critical to routinely check the fluids to assure they're at the proper level. Have these fluids and filters changed at least as often as recommended by the factory under "severe/heavy duty" conditions. Don't go by the "normal use" fluid/filter change intervals unless you live in a rural area and rarely experience stop-and-go driving or periods of prolonged idling.

*Change your oil and fluids to synthetic lubricants. Although they're more expensive per quart than ordinary motor oil and transmission fluid, the benefits of synthetics far outweigh the small initial cash outlay. Synthetics are vastly superior in terms of the protection they provide.

*Check your owner's manual; the actual time/mileage increments for your specific vehicle can be found there. This small investment will reap large benefits over the life of your vehicle.

*Pay attention to what the factory says about maintenance. Engine components wear over time as do any moving components or parts. Timing belts or timing chains (inside the motor) should be replaced, based on what the manual states. If you fail to do it, this is where expensive motor repair can come into play. If you don't flush your coolant as required, you will need to replace your radiator and water pump. This is the result of the old units being ruined by degraded rust inhibitors in the antifreeze/coolant.

*Brakes: Every car should have the entire brake system professionally "bled" (purged of old fluid) and refilled with new brake fluid at least every two years; otherwise you risk ruining the very expensive ABS pump, rotting the brake lines from the inside, and damaging the entire system.

Be kind in extreme weather: If it's very hot or very cold outside, life is much harder on your car's engine and all its mechanical components.

The biggest mistake many new car buyers make is failing to read their owner's manual cover to cover, especially the chapters dealing with maintenance, and not following these recommendations to the letter.


Dear Car Fix: I am looking for a supercharger or turbocharger for my Chevy 1500 Silverado Extended cab. I need enough power to pass people, not necessarily race them or tow a trailer. Can you help?

-- N.O.B., Wilson

Dear N.O.B.: I've had multiple questions about people asking about increasing power in their trucks. One thing to keep in mind is that you may void part of your warranty when you bolt on aftermarket performance items.

A supercharger and a turbocharger are nothing more than an air pump. The more air you pump through an engine at any given engine speed the more power you will make. Superchargers force more air into the combustion chamber than the engine will draw in its naturally aspirated condition. Where turbochargers are driven by exhaust gas flow, superchargers are driven directly off the crankshaft, usually by a belt.

Magnuson Products ( supplies superchargers that include installation kits for specific applications and are engineered for port-injected gasoline engines.Vortech Engineering ( offers a variety of automotive performance products including supercharging systems.

I suggest you read more on how this will affect your truck.