Ontario man's van has travelled nearly 1M kilometres. Here's his secret

An Ontario man who has nearly 1 million-kilometres on his car is sharing his secret of how he did it. 

Mark Intihar said the 2000 Toyota Sienna van belonged to his dad, who took great pride in maintaining the vehicle properly, especially in changing the oil and transmission fluid.

“It sounds good. It starts up every time even in the dead of winter. It's all about maintenance. Don't go past the oil changes, if you need an oil change get one,” Intihar said. “She has been given the nickname Betsy and the kids just love her."

The family purchased the van when it was brand new and Intihar said his parents drove it extensively to Florida and throughout the United States.

“At 930,000 kilometres, I think it’s just getting broken in. The transmission level looks good and we just had it flushed after its last 100,000 kilometres,"Intihar said.

Not only does the van have 930,000 kilometres, it still has the original engine and transmission.

Consumer Reports says that making a car last this long is not only a point of pride, it’s a cost saver as you don’t need to buy or lease another vehicle.

“To make a vehicle last stay on top of problems and follow the maintenance schedule for your car and don’t delay routine oil and filter changes, belt replacements or tire rotations,” said Mike Quincy, auto editor with Consumer Reports.

How often you should service your car varies depending on climate and other factors, because if you live where weather is extreme or drive in a lot of stop-and-go traffic, shorter service intervals may be necessary.

Follow your owner's manual schedule and don't cheap out when buying replacement parts.

“Make sure to always buy original equipment or equivalent parts, like belts and hoses from name-brand suppliers. You don’t have to buy from the dealer, but make sure you're buying quality parts,” said Quincy. “Using the wrong oil or transmission fluid could wreak havoc on your car, or even void your warranty.”

To get a vehicle to last at 300,000 kilometres or more researchers at Consumer Reports said it’s best to start with a vehicle that has a proven track record of reliability.

“Our data shows you can't go wrong with a Toyota Camry or Prius or a Honda accord,” said Quincy, adding that other good used car options include, “the Honda Civic, Mazda 3, Nissan Altima, and Subaru Legacy.”

As for Intihar, he said he plans to keep driving Betsy until the van reaches 1 million kilometres.

"If it gets to 1 million I’m going to keep going and see how far she will go," said Intihar.

Another way to make your vehicle last longer is to not ignore indicator lights on your dashboard. If the engine light is on, or the service light, find out why because your vehicle is trying to tell you something.