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Low Mileage Used Car

Driven By Little Old Lady: Buyer Beware

When young Jack Porter bought a beautiful used Ford from his Aunt Maude, he figured it ought to be a really good deal. Having been driven only 23,000 miles in all those years, it should be in great shape.

To all outward appearances it was, and certainly Aunt Maude was honest. But Jack soon learned, the hard way, that a car that's been driven about 35 miles a week, little more than Sunday trips to church, can be filled with problems waiting to occur.

Consequently, driving the car the way it was designed to be driven, one thing after another arose. First it was the engine overheating. She hadn't had the cooling system flushed since Uncle Crandall died back in the mid '80's. "He always took care of everything," she lamented.

Next, a ticking noise from the engine. It turned out to be a sticking valve lifter, the result of not having changed the oil in 4,000 miles. For most drivers that's a reasonable interval but for Aunt Maude it was more than two years of stop-and-go driving, the kind that can turn the oil to sludge. That sludge really messed up the inside of her engine and resulted in an expensive repair bill.

Also expensive was the replacement of the heater core, which disintegrated as a result of the neglected cooling system . . . not to mention a complete braking system overhaul because no one had looked at the brakes since before Maude and Crandall had taken their vacation trip.

Lucky for Maude that her neglected Ford had not gotten her in some kind of trouble.

Jack has survived all of the fixing up and Maude now drives a new car which, thanks to the urging of her nephew, gets the more frequent service intervals recommended for her short trip, stop-and-go driving.

For anyone who drives relatively few miles a week, suggests the Car Care Council, it's a good idea to turn to the SEVERE, or UNIQUE DRIVING CONDITIONS section of your owner's manual. It's maintenance recommendations, which include more frequent automotive service intervals for drivers who do a lot of short trip driving (under 10 miles), should be taken seriously.

Courtesy of The Car Care Council

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