Getting the Most From Your Engine Every Mile Ahead

October 20th, 2023 by

A black 2018 Chevrolet Impala Midnight Edition is shown parked near several buildings.

Our customers know we’re the best place to find cheap used cars near Dayton because of our incredible selection, competitive pricing, and customer-centric approach. We go to great lengths to give our customers the best experience, from hand-selecting and thoroughly vetting our used models to operating with transparency and integrity. That’s why, when we’re asked, “How long can I expect the engine in this vehicle to run?” we answer openly and honestly. We genuinely can’t put a specific timeline on the life of your engine, but that doesn’t mean we can’t help you.

Despite our decades of experience in the automotive industry, we don’t have a crystal ball to know how long an engine—or any automotive component—will last; no one does. Instead, we can offer our support and become partners—and that partnership starts by educating you on the factors that affect the lifespan of an engine and everything you can do to extend its longevity and get the most from your investment.

So, while we may not be fortune tellers, we’re happy to set you up for success behind the wheel. We’ll help you find the perfect cheap used car to reliably get you around Dayton and anywhere else life takes you. Our work starts now with understanding engine longevity and your role in getting the most out of your next vehicle—so let’s get started…

Engine Longevity—Is It Predictable?

If we could foresee the future, we’d use our superpowers for good to benefit our customers. We would predict the lifespan of your car battery and the longevity of your car engine, minimizing the inconvenience that comes with a dead battery and the costly expenses of a failing powertrain. So, why can’t we predict the future? Why hasn’t the industry found a way to answer these age-old questions?

Advancements = Progress

Consider the automotive industry of a century ago when automakers like Chevrolet and Ford helped put the world on wheels by introducing the first automobiles. At the same time, innovators developed an electric powertrain, anticipating that the concept would catch on because they couldn’t fathom drivers would want to operate a vehicle reliant on thousands of miniature explosions for power. Coincidentally, those early electric vehicles never gained traction, as Americans fell in love with the gas-powered automobile.

It’s taken a century for electric vehicles to gain a foothold in the industry, but how does this relate to engine longevity? It reflects the industry’s continual evolution, with advancements in every aspect of automotive design progressing the industry forward to satiate our driving needs and expectations. We want more power, so automakers have developed more potent powertrains, some reliant on fuel and others on electricity. We ask for more luxury and technologies, and automakers don’t hesitate as they deliver tenfold.

This evolution is prominent when you look at the lifespan of engines and how much we’re getting from our cars today. Engines are built with higher-quality components that last longer, meaning drivers reap the rewards of investing in a vehicle that can run longer. For decades, Honda and Toyota cornered the market on car longevity, with models like the Accord, Civic, and Camry touted for their ability to log over 200,000 miles and still have plenty of life left to offer on the used lot. Fortunately, Honda and Toyota now share the spotlight as engines are engineered to last for longer than ever before.

The Impossibility of Prediction

So, if industry advancements produce better-quality and longer-lasting engines, why can’t we predict an engine’s lifespan or how many miles a car will run? Well, there’s more than engine quality to consider. What do we mean?

An engine’s design plays a significant role in its operability—particularly the materials used. Most engines rely on a combination of iron and aluminum components that offer heightened durability and greater longevity that can effectively withstand extreme conditions under the hood. However, there’s far more at play, like your driving style and the demands on the engine as you navigate your life in Dayton.

For example, it would be easy to say that the engine in a Chevy Silverado 1500 will last ten years or 150,000 miles. However, that prediction doesn’t account for how the truck is driven or how the engine is maintained. If the Silverado 1500 spends most of its time towing heavy loads, the engine is forced to work harder and might not reach the 150,000-mile mark. Alternatively, a Silverado 1500 with a spotless maintenance record might still run without a hiccup at 200,000 miles.

After viewing cheap used cars near Dayton, a beige 2023 Chevy Malibu, is shown driving on a bridge.

Your Role in Engine Longevity

Predicting the lifespan of an engine may be impossible, but that doesn’t eliminate your impact or minimize your responsibilities as a car owner in Dayton. You can set your vehicle up for success by recognizing your role in your engine’s performance and taking the critical steps to extend its longevity, unpredictable as it is. So, what do those responsibilities look like, and how can you positively impact your engine’s performance as you navigate your life in Dayton?

Preventative Maintenance

Every internal combustion engine relies on oil and other fluids to operate efficiently and generate the necessary power to get you from Point A to Point B. Preventative maintenance is the best way to ensure your engine and its fluids are in excellent operating order, from the oil to the coolant. For example, routine oil changes are a must because of the critical role oil plays in lubricating, cleaning, and cooling your engine. As the components work, they rub against one another, generating friction or excessive heat. The oil minimizes this friction as a lubricant, reducing the operating temperature and collecting dirt and debris.

Over time, the oil quality and levels diminish, with the fluid eventually turning to sludge and losing its effectiveness. This forces your engine to work harder, which leads to excessive wear and tear. Routine oil changes mitigate this wear and tear by replacing the engine oil and filter, heightening your engine’s performance and longevity as you run errands in Dayton, manage your commute, or venture beyond the city limits with the family.

Know Your Driving Habits

Beyond preventative or routine maintenance, the second most important thing you can do to extend the lifespan of your engine is to be mindful of your driving style and make a few adjustments as needed. While many people prefer to drive fast as they navigate Dayton traffic, slow and steady always wins the race—especially when it comes to your engine.

Speeding and aggressive driving habits—like rapidly accelerating and then hitting the brakes—cause more wear and tear on the engine because you’re forcing it to work harder. Instead, following the speed limit keeps you safe, improves your engine’s efficiency, and gives you more time to respond to avoid harsh acceleration or deceleration.

A silver 2017 Chevy Cruze is shown driving under an overpass.

Finding the Ever-Elusive Crystal Ball

Shopping for a cheap used car near Dayton is exciting because it means working with our team to get the most for your money without compromise. A used car, truck, or SUV is an excellent investment that puts your money to work, often meaning you can afford a top-tier trim with every feature imaginable for a fraction of the new car sticker price. More importantly, you can confidently get behind the wheel of a used car, knowing we’ve thoroughly vetted every model to ensure it meets our high-quality standards.

But what about that ever-elusive crystal ball? While predicting how long an engine will last is impossible, you can make a smart investment by looking at the CARFAX history report and asking for any available maintenance records. You can also look at the mileage on the odometer compared to its age, roughly averaging how many miles it was driven each year to determine if it has a higher odometer count than average.

Then, when you’re ready to make your investment, you can do so knowing that getting the most out of the engine and your used car comes back to you, your driving style, and your responsibility for routine and preventative maintenance.