Car Maintenance for the Low-Mileage Driver

If you’re already a Metromile customer, chances are that you’re a low-mileage driver. Only paying for the miles you drive is just one of the perks of being a Metromile customer and low-mileage driver. Another major perk of being a low-mileage driver? Getting away with less-often car maintenance.


Are you Low-Mileage?

Wondering if you are a low mileage driver? As a general rule of thumb, you are most likely a low-mileage driver if you are clocking less than 600 miles per month or fall into the following categories:

  • You’re retired and no longer commute to and from work
  • You work from home and/or live close to work
  • You regularly use public transportation
  • You utilize a carpool
  • You have an extra vehicle that doesn’t get driven much

If you fall into one of these camps and realize that you don’t drive your car very often, there are some things you can do to ensure you’re getting the most bang for your buck when having your car serviced. So, without further ado… here are our best car maintenance tips for the low-mileage driver.

Car Maintenance Tips for Low-Mileage Drivers

  1. First things first: You’ll still want to take the car to your auto repair shop at least every 6 months to monitor the condition of your vehicle. Surprised? Things can go wrong if your car isn’t being driven regularly (yep, even if it’s garaged!).
  2. Only change dirty oil: Despite popular belief, oil only needs to be changed when it’s dirty. Check your oil dipstick once a month to keep tabs on the status of the oil. If it starts to look black (instead of a golden color), it’s time for an oil change.
  3. Drive the car at least once a month: At a minimum, you should be starting up your engine and driving your car on the highway for at least 15 miles once a month. This will ensure all fluids are flowing properly and keep your car running smoothly for years to come.
  4. Check for furry visitors: Car engines make yummy little homes for furry creatures like mice, squirrels, and rats, especially during the colder months. Check the condition of the fuel lines and other rubber components under the car to make sure they are not being chewed or eaten.
  5. Install a carbon eliminator: Add a carbon eliminator to your gas tank yearly to avoid carbon build-up. What is a carbon eliminator, you ask? It removes tough carbon deposits from rings, valves, ports and combustion chambers to improve engine performance, reduce fuel consumption, restore power and extend engine life.
  6. Do the following every six months:
    • Have your car placed on a lift for a tire inspection. This ensures your safety every time you hop in the car. While your car us up on the lift, check the undercarriage and tires for dry rot, damage, etc.
    • Check the air filter and ventilation system. In addition to the engine, both the air filter and the ventilation system can make great homes for all sorts of furry creatures.
    • Check all the fluids. In cars, both the antifreeze and brake fluid deteriorate with age. Checking these every six months ensures that everything is in working order.

Things You Don’t Actually Need to Do

As it turns out, there are things that a low-mileage driver like you just doesn’t need to do very often (or at all). You should just about never need to use nitrogen in your tires (which will save you an extra $5 per tire). You also will never need to flush your transmission fluid, because most car manufacturers now use 100,000-mile (or “lifetime”) fluid. Additionally, modern coolant and antifreeze is also meant to last for the lifetime of the car and will save you about $50 to $100 in changes.

An example of unnecessary car maintenance for the low-mileage driver is changing the engine oil too often. As a car owner, it used to be the norm to schedule in an oil change every 3,000 miles. However, with modern lubricants, most newer engines have recommended oil change intervals of 5,000 to 7,500 miles. If your engine requires full-synthetic motor oil, it might go as far as 15,000 miles between services. For us low-mileage drivers, that means an oil change once every two years or so!

Maybe when you were reading this article, you realized that you might be a low-mileage driver. Awesome! Hopefully, you found these car maintenance tips useful and be sure to grab a free quote from us (if you’re not already a part of the Metromile fam!). If you are already a member of the Metromile fam, share us with all of your friends and family and get $25! As always, stay safe out there and see you on the roads.

Julianne Cronin is a Bay Area freelance writer, content creator, and founder/editor of the women’s lifestyle site, The Wink. You can find her working on her capsule wardrobe, collecting cacti, and trying out the latest beauty products on Instagram