When you buy your first vehicle, new or used, you want to make sure that you think about every aspect of owning a vehicle. It isn’t just the title and insurance; you also have to make sure that you keep the engine well taken care of. This means keeping up on the maintenance on your car from bumper to bumper.
Read the owner’s manual
First thing is first, the owner’s manual. This dictionary for your vehicle is the best tool that you possess, outside of Google. One section to particularly pay attention to is: your car’s maintenance schedule.
The maintenance schedule is a simple chart to follow that tells you how often your car needs to be serviced and what work needs to be done at each of those milestone markers. The schedule was created by the good folks at the factory who designed and built your car — not the guys at the dealership selling you a $120 transmission flush, “just to be on the safe side.”
Then there are you “mile marker” maintenance checks and what should be checked during these trips to the auto shop:
Every 3,000 to 7,000 Miles
The oil and oil filter should be replaced according to the manufacturer’s recommended auto maintenance schedule with a majority suggesting the oil and oil filter be replaced between 3,000 and 7,000 miles. Furthermore, inspection of the transmission fluid level, coolant, power steering fluid, windshield washer fluid and wipers, tires and all exterior lights is also encouraged.
Every 15,000 to 30,000 Miles
Replace the air filter every 15,000 miles. Every 20,000 miles inspect the battery and coolant. Most 25,000-mile maintenance service requires replacing the fuel filter. Every 30,000 miles replace the air filter and power steering fluid. Inspect the coolant, radiator hoses, HVAC system, brake pads and all suspension components.
Every 35,000 to 50,000 Miles
Inspect and replace the battery every 35,000 miles, as needed. Every 40,000 miles replace the spark plugs and spark plug wires and inspect the ignition system and suspension. These checks are recommended again at 45,000 miles and 50,000 miles.
Every 60,000 Miles
Replace brake pads and brake fluid, radiator hoses, coolant, power steering fluid and timing belt. Inspect the HVAC, suspension components and tires.
Oil changes and air filters are very important parts of engine maintenance; however, a thorough inspection of all engine, transmission, cooling, brakes and suspension components should also be performed regularly. The owner’s manual provides a routine auto maintenance schedule based on engine mileage for most cars.