Maintenance Routine for Your Car

When you buy a car, you want it to last for as long as possible — and with routine maintenance, it can. A routine car maintenance schedule is crucial for preserving the life of your vehicle.

There are plenty of things you can do to ensure your car continues to run smoothly. Here are the most important maintenance tips for your car:

Change your oil and filter.

Oil acts as a lubricant that keeps your engine parts from grinding against one another. To avoid destroying your engine, make sure you change your oil regularly and change your oil filter as needed.

Check your tires.

Properly filled tires help prevent sudden freeway blowouts and ensure your car is running smoothly. If you don’t know the correct tire pressure for your car, you can find that information in your owner’s manual, or on the placard on your driver’s side door. For an accurate reading, make sure you check the pressure when your tires are still cold, rather than at the end of a long ride.

Keep an eye on your fluids.

Your oil isn’t the only fluid that matters in your car. You also need to keep an eye on your washer fluid, engine coolant, brake fluid, and transmission fluid to keep your car running smoothly.

Examine all your belts.

A broken timing belt can end up costing you up to $2,000 or more, so it’s important to take your car in for routine visits to prevent sudden cracks. Without proper maintenance, your broken timing belt can also cause irreversible, or costly, damage to your water pump, valves, or pistons.

Rotate your tires.

The tread wear on your tires often varies between your front and back tires. Regularly rotating your tires helps extend their life and prevent future tire and alignment problems.

In addition to the above tips, here’s a simple guide to how often you should schedule maintenance checks:

Every 12,000 miles (12 months)

  • Power steering fluid
  • Coolant
  • Windshield washer fluid
  • Brakes
  • Belts
  • Hoses
  • Engine filter
  • Engine oil
  • Suspension and steering
  • Exhaust
  • Automatic transmission fluid
  • Battery

Every 6,000 miles (6 months)

  • Chassis lubrication
  • Check engine light
  • Tire inflation
  • Lights
  • Windshield washer fluid
  • Exhaust
  • Battery
  • Engine air filter
  • Fuel filter
  • Belts

Every month

  • Tire inflation
  • Lights
  • Windshield washer fluid
  • Check engine light

While these basic maintenance tips can help preserve and extend the life of your car, it’s important to note that certain driving conditions can also interfere with the health of your vehicle. You may want to consider bringing your car in for additional maintenance visits if you regularly:

  • Drive in a dusty environment
  • Drive-in an area that salts the roads
  • Sit in stop-and-go traffic
  • Have a very short commute (5 miles or less)
  • Drive on rough roads
  • Carry heavy loads in your car
  • Live in extremely hot or cold environments

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