Car maintenance modifications if you drive a loooooot of miles

Lately I have been driving about 40,000 miles per year. I feel pretty confident making my oil & oil filter change every 10,000 miles, which is 4x/year, which I use full synthetic.

I am wondering what, if anything I could modify to properly represent the amount of driving I do (and the amount of gas I burn).

If it matters about 75% of my driving is long distance, congestion free highway driving, but with some hills.

Some items I am wondering about is can these be extended and if so by how much:
Cooling system
Belts (not timing)
timing belt
spark plugs
air filter
fuel filter
a/t filter/fluid
Brake fluid


I don’t think your car really cares how quickly you put on the miles. It isn’t like it gets tired and just begs for a day off every now and then. The opposite is sometimes a problem when someone drives so few miles that parts get old rather than wearing out. The mileage recommendations should still apply although the manufacturer recommends a fairly conservative maintenance schedule so that large numbers of cars don’t get damaged by an improper recommendation. It sounds like your driving pattern is easier on the car than lots of others would be. Extending the schedules might be Ok usually but you never know. Make of that what you will.

Shagnasty I don’t think the car cares how many miles, well the tires will, but how each part is used. The engine really cares about the total revolutions and the amount of power per revolution - this will be less on highway then city driving.

I know what you are saying. My wife puts 30,000+ miles on her BMW and it still looks and drives like new after 4 1/2 years. She certainly doesn’t send it in every third month for maintenance. However, I don’t know how we can go part by part and change the dealer recommendation based on how you describe your driving. There might be rules of thumb out there but you never know.

What kind of car is it?

New Oil and Filters @ ~10K miles?!

With heavy driving, try Oil and Filters @ ~3K miles

Your owner’s manual should have maintenance schedules, with a selection depending on the intensity of usage.

Thanks for your replies Shagnasty, you seem to have the same issue, you feel that you can w/ your wife’s car but there are no guidelines to go by.

05 Subaru Outback i

That would mean changing the oil every 3 weeks or so. IIRC the change interval is something like 3750 miles for ‘heavy driving’ and 7500 for normal. My driving would fall into ‘light driving’, which there is no scedual for.

Yeah… sure. I have never had a car whose manual recommended changing the oil every 3,000 miles. I assume the 3,000 mile thing is just a way for Jiffy Lube to make more money. My 2005 Pontiac G6 says 7,500 miles, and since I also use full synthetic, I generally change it every 10,000 miles. I put just under 50,000 miles on my car it’s first year.

The OP is doing a lot of driving. A lot of driving is a vastly different thing than “severe” use such as towing or nothing but in-city stop-and go with short trips. Besides, they’re using synthetic, and if anything, they’re probably changing the oil too often. Mobil1 Extended Performance, for example, says it’s good for 15,000 miles or one year.

As for the other “consumables” - a fuel filter doesn’t care how the miles were driven. It only knows that however many hundred gallons of fuel have passed through it. Same goes for the air filter.

Brakes can be de-rated a bit on maintenance, as their maintenance intervals are essentially based on the number of stops. Your driving pattern will probably allow a set of pads to last three or four years, whereas a taxi driving only 10,000 miles a year probably needs pads every three months. Brake fluid changes, OTOH, are almost purely a time-based interval unless you do something to degrade it like having a stuck caliper that caused the fluid to boil.

Well for brakes, the pads and shoes are generally replaced as needed, meaing when get worn to a point that they will not make the next service without going metal to metal. Doing mainly freeway driving (depending on your style and traffic) you could see 50,000 miles out of a set of front pads.
Brake fluid is a different matter. The fluid is hydroscopic and absorbs water. Water is bad for brake systems on several levels, not the least of which it causes corrosion inside the brake system and leads to master cylinder and caliper failures, which mean more $ spent on repairs.
I suggest that you change the fluid at least every two years.