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Dear Tom and Ray:


First, I want to tell you how much I enjoy your column. I don't know a whole lot about cars but, your column is easy to follow and puts things in plain english. The question I have is in reference to my 1987 Honda Accord LX. I purchased it from an individual two years ago. At that time, it had 74,000 miles. To make a long story short, I live about 275 miles away from my fiancee. And in the two years I've owned this car, I've managed to put 51,000 (mostly highway) miles on it. Isn't love great? My question is should I do anything special to this car because of how many miles I'm putting on it? I change the oil and filter every 3,000 miles and check all the fluids regularly. The car is in good condition and I'd like to hold onto it for several more years. Please advise me of anything I can do for my car, short of finding a closer fiancee.
Troy

TOM: Gee, Troy. These are the kinds of problems you run into when you fall in love with someone who is "G.U:" "Geographically Undesirable."

TOM: The car is the least of your worries, Troy. Highway miles are a lot easier on a car than city miles, so that helps. And changing the oil and filter every 3,000 miles is great. So you're doing all you can, there.

RAY: My one suggestion (for the car) would be to change the timing belt immediately. The timing belt controls the opening and closing of the valves. And on some cars (like this one), when the timing belt breaks, the valves can be left in "geographically undesirable" positions and get crushed by the pistons. And when that happens, it's "bye-bye engine." So it's definitely worth the $200 or so to change the timing belt.

TOM: Timing belts are supposed to last about 60,000 miles. So if the previous owner was concientious and changed it at 60,000, then according to my mileage calculations, you're due for another timing belt change in about.... five thousand miles ago!

RAY: So set two dates right away, Troy. One for the timing belt change and one for your wedding. Remember, once you're married and she moves in with you, you'll be able to drive HER car.

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