You’ve just bought your new car, it runs great, and you’re ready to drive it for years to come. What comes next? What can you do to make sure you get the most out of your shiny new investment?
Vehicles from compact sedans to full sized SUVs are filled with components that are designed to wear down as time goes on, and if you don’t keep an eye, you can find yourself with a big bill as you catch up on repairs. The best action to take against getting that big bill, and keeping your car in top shape in the road, is following a preventative maintenance schedule for the different systems that make your vehicle run.
First off, the basics, we’ve touched base on oil changes and tires in past articles, and we can’t stress the importance of keeping your oil and tires in check enough.
For non-synthetic oil, a good rule of thumb is to have your oil replaced every 3,000 miles. While for synthetic, you can go as long as every 5,000-10,000 miles. This is just a guideline, as always it’s a good idea to check your oil level every 2 weeks, especially in the winter months, to avoid any unwanted surprises.
For those of you wanting a deep dive into what the difference between non-synthetic and synthetic oil, click here.
As you drive, your tires wear down, every fast stop, every trip over uneven roads, and every time you start off a bit too fast, your tires will wear down a bit more than they would otherwise. That being said, its best to check the tread depth left on your tires. You can do this at home, and it’s easy! All you’ll need is a penny and a close eye, simply place the penny in the middle tread of your each of your tires, if you can see all of Lincoln’s head your tread depth is less than 2/32s and you need to replace your tires.
Regular maintenance like oil changes and tire checks are a great entry way to car maintenance, and with the right information, many people can do them at home. There are certain milestones to every vehicle. Many in the automotive industry place these at 30,000, 60,000, and 90,000 miles. Below we’ll look at some recommended components to look at for each leg of the journey.
Air Filter – An air filter that isn’t replaced will pick up dust and small particles, these small particles will clog the air flow to the engine, and impact performance. In order to prevent this you’ll want to replace it every 15,000 – 30,000 miles.
Fuel Filter – As your engine runs impurities build up, the same can be said for wherever fluids are running in your vehicle, whether its oil, transmission fluid, or fuel. A clogged fuel filter will severely impact the engine if not caught, your engine will run rough or it won’t run at all. Now recommendations for changing this filter vary by manufacturer, with some needing to be replaced as early as 30,000 miles! In this case it’s best to consult your regular mechanic and possibly conduct a pressure test to check the health of your filter if they recommend it.
Brakes and Battery
Your vehicle’s braking system contains quite a few components, for an in depth look at what makes it tick and maintenance recommendations click here.
Brake fluid – Brake fluid can become contaminated by water, when this happens the boiling point is lowered and the fluid can turn to gas. You can combat this by having the fluid drained and replaced. This is recommended for every 20,000 – 45,000 miles.
Brake pads – Your brake pads are designed to wear out with use. After enough use, you may begin to hear a screeching noise when you brake, this is a good indication to get them replaced. Overall, your brake pads can last up to 50,000 miles
Brake rotors – You have two different options for your brake rotors as they wear down. With use, the surface will become rough and uneven. You can have your rotors resurfaced to be made smooth, but this can only be done once. If not, you’ll need to replace them. This should happen around 60,000 miles with regular use.
Battery – While many components in your vehicle are judged to be replaced based on the mileage that you drive over your vehicle’s life, your vehicle’s battery are rated based on the years that they’ll last. Most batteries need to be replaced every 4 – 5 years.
Remember, this is just a guide. All of the recommended schedules for maintenance for your specific vehicle can be found in your owner’s manual, and this along with your regular mechanic should be your primary point of reference for preventative and regular maintenance for your specific vehicle. The recommendations listed here may vary based on the way you drive your car, if you drive more aggressively, you may need to take action sooner.
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