The last thing on many of our minds is vehicle maintenance. We drive our cars and trucks daily, but rarely do we want to think about fixing it. None of us enjoys taking our car to the shop, however a little proactive maintenance can go a long way toward keeping vehicles on the road instead of the shoulder.
Remember to Change Your Oil
Oil is the lifeblood of your engine, and running on the same oil for too long can produce problems which may turn out to be much worse than the cost of an oil change. Proper lubrication is absolutely essential for your engine’s health, so make sure to change that oil and oil filter often. You will typically want to change your oil every 3,000 miles (see our post).
The First Big Check-up: 15,000 miles
Your vehicle should have its first major checkup at around the 15,000 mile mark, or after about 12 months of ownership. At this stage, oil and oil filter will be changed, as well as your engine air filter and cabin air filter. Wiper blades will also likely need replacing at this point.
These simple procedures are very important to remember, as they should be performed at every major maintenance interval.
30,000 Mile Check-up
When you bring your vehicle in at 30,000 miles, all the previously mentioned items need to be checked, along with a fresh fuel filter to keep you running smoothly. In addition, engine coolant, transmission and power steering fluid should also be replaced to ensure optimal operation, as these fluids can slowly break down over time and are less effective. The services performed at this check-up should be repeated every 30,000 miles.
The 45,000 Mile Mark
This checkup will be very similar to your initial servicing at 15,000 miles, including the basics like an oil change and new oil filter, but this servicing is primarily to address your vehicle’s ignition system. Spark plugs are often neglected by many motorists, but are essential for smooth operation and general engine health. Failing to replace spark plugs after about 3 years can result in undesirable behavior from your engine, like misfires, and possibly something more severe such as dead cylinders.
At this point you will also want to replace your vehicle’s brake fluid, and the brake pads and rotors should also be check and replaced as necessary.
60,000 Mile Service
At 60,000 miles, the 30,000 mile service should be repeated, along side checking one very important component – timing belt. The timing belt runs critical internal engine components (specifically valves and cams) and can cause catastrophic damage to an engine if it breaks, so make sure this item is checked and double checked.
Over time, the engine’s battery will lose some of its charge. To help prevent the possibility of a call to AAA in the future, it is a good idea to equip your vehicle with a fresh battery at around 60,000 miles or about 4 years, or earlier if you notice problems.
Regular and proactive vehicle maintenance is no doubt an inconvenience, however by following this guide you can easily remember what your vehicle’s needs will be. Not only does regular maintenance result in a more pleasant driving experience, but keeping your vehicle’s internals in shape can lead to higher resale value if the time comes to sell.