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Getting the most mileage

Truck has picked up 490,000 ... and still going

Truck has picked up 490,000 ... and still going

September 06, 2007|By DAVE McMILLION

KEARNEYSVILLE, W.VA. - Fritz Kysar doesn't have any maintenance secrets when it comes to keeping his pickup truck on the road.

He doesn't heed to the 3,000-mile rule of changing oil, instead letting the 1994 Ford Ranger rack up to 4,500 miles before getting an oil change.

And who's to argue?

The truck has been driven more than 490,000 miles.

Kysar thinks it is the truck's design that has made it such a top performer.

Kysar and his wife, Jennifer, were one of several automobile owners featured in the new edition of Consumer Reports magazine that focuses on long-running vehicles.

Jennifer Kysar said she responded to a questionnaire on the magazine's Web site about people who own high-mileage cars, and a writer for the magazine interviewed the couple in late July for the story.

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A photographer for the magazine traveled to Jefferson County and took a picture of the couple with their maroon truck in a field at Morgan's Grove Park outside of Shepherdstown, W.Va.

Fritz Kysar said he got the truck in 1994 when a telephone construction company for which he was considering working offered to buy him a truck to get him to join the company.

The company flew Kysar to North Carolina and took him to a dealership to let him pick out a vehicle.

"I've been driving it ever since," said Kysar, who lives along Harry Shirley Road west of Charles Town, W.Va.

The truck has a V-6 engine with automatic transmission. Kysar said he thinks that is one of the keys to the truck's performance, because the design protects the engine from revving too high. Other trucks of the same model were sold with smaller engines, but Kysar said he thinks the larger engine is well-suited for the weight of the truck. And Kysar said he has does not haul anything heavy with the truck.

"I think it's just a nice combination," Kysar said.

"Keeping your wife out of it helps, too," Kysar said jokingly.

Although some car experts recommend changing a car's engine oil every 3,000 miles, Kysar said that rule does not have to be followed if you're driving on the open road like he does and not being confined to city driving.

Kysar, an Internet equipment installer, said he commutes to his job every day in Tysons Corner, Va., and has also driven the truck to Dallas, Chicago, New York and Atlanta for work.

Kysar said he has put about four starters and a couple of alternators in the truck and buys lifetime warranty parts, which means he does not pay for replacement parts if they wear out.

The Kysars have a knack for vehicles. They own other high-mileage cars, and their son, Garrett, last year won a world championship title in a soap box derby competition in Akron, Ohio.

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