5 Trick Fixes for High Mileage Cars, Part 2: Get Better handling, visiblity, safety, and looks!

Today's upgrades should help make your car not only a more enjoyable ride, but a safer one, too.  Unfortunately, the mommy car owner here took it to a different level.  Alright, alright–calm down.  Before you go on calling CPS, we assure you our MotoIQ mini-nerds were not put in any type of danger during this shot.  If you want to know how we shot this, we'll give you a hint on Page 9.

5 Trick Fixes for High Mileage Cars, Part 2: Get Better Handling, Visibility, Safety, and Looks!

by Pablo Mazlumian

These quick tips should not only make your car safer, but also more enjoyable!

In Part 1 of our “5 Trick Fixes for High Mileage Cars,” we got a little more power with improved fuel mileage, thanks to drivetrain fluids from Royal Purple, and a set of sparkplugs and K&N air filter from Sparkplugs.com.  While we didn’t have the final fuel economy testing complete to report at that time, we’re happy to tell you that the average fuel economy improved by 8% with our new products, reflecting our gain from a 19.5 MPG average baseline to over 21.0 MPG, repeatedly, on the same commute mixed with highways and stoplights.

Because we had a few Royal Purple bottles left over, we also changed the oil on a 2001 Cadillac Catera, which is powered by a 60k mile old 3.0-liter V6 through a five-speed automatic transmission.  Since the transmission was sealed, we couldn’t flush it with Royal Purple’s automatic transmission fluid.  But we did give it a quick oil change with the 5w-20 weight oil used in the MPV (the Catera recommends 10w-30), and the fuel mileage improved from a consistent 21.0mpg to a measured 23.7mpg—a 13% improvement!   Testing with both cars was done over several tanks of fuel from the same service station, using a similar, daily commute.

Switching gears back to our Mazda MPV minivan, we’ll be adding a set of lighter wheels and much better tires, and putting them to the test, along with new brakes and better lighting!


These are the 16-in stockers we’ll be replacing, which still have the Michelin Winter tires tested last winter.  Although they’re unbelievably good in sub 40-degree F temps, and exceptional in the snow (check out our Winter Tire Test, where we drag race the MPV vs all-wheel drive trucks and Subarus!), they had to come off in the spring.

Mazda did it right with this split spoke design for reduced weight.  While we hadn’t had a chance to weigh the wheel by itself, the combination of a stock-sized tire and this wheel weighs right around 41-lb.  That’s not bad for a 16-in setup with 215/60-sized tires.  But it was time to get a second set of wheels if we’re going to keep the Michelin X-ICE 3 winter tires on there.  We opted for a more aggressive look.


We ordered Kosei K4R wheels through Modified by KC, wrapped with Michelin Pilot A/S 3 tires, as well as new brake pads, rotors and brake fluids from Buybrakes.com.

BuyBrakes.com carries a plethora of brake parts, including names like Stoptech, Hawk, Brembo, Axxis, Power Slot, Power Stop, Centric, Cryo, EBC and DBA.  Their online pricing is definitely hard to beat anywhere else, and they cover anywhere from OE replacement all the way to big brake kits.

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