Vehicle maintenance is not a tedious chore. In fact, making sure your car runs properly with scheduled visits to the mechanic will most likely keep your car out of the repair shop and on the road.
Most mechanics are honest, but some do try to convince you to perform maintenance more often than you need it. Keep this checklist and your owner’s manual handy to avoid any unnecessary auto repairs.
- Lube, oil, and filter. Change the oil every 7500 kilometers and/or every six months.
- Tyre rotation. Ask the mechanic to complete a tyre rotation and check your tyre pressure at every other oil change.
- Windscreen wipers. A good rule of thumb is to replace your windscreen wipers at the beginning of every winter. If your wipers leave streak marks, try wiping them down with a rag and warm water. This will clean them and also allow the wipers to last longer.
Scheduled Maintenance and Repairs as Instructed by Your Owner’s Manual
- Automatic transmission service. While the need for an automatic transmission service will vary by the auto manufacturer, most automatic transmissions should be serviced every 50,000 kilometers. A transmission service means that the transmission fluid is drained and replaced. They increase the life of your transmission and are essential to long-term reliability. Standard (manual) transmissions do not need to be checked as frequently, but they should also be serviced every 150,000 kilometers or so. Check your operator’s manual.
- Fuel filters and air filters. Approximately every 40,000 kilometers your vehicle’s fuel filters and air filters will likely need replaced. Have your mechanic check for sure before replacement. If you drive a diesel vehicle, you’ll likely need to replace your air and fuel filters more often – check your operator’s manual to be certain.
- Serpentine and timing belts. The serpentine belt and the timing belt will most likely be changed two times in a vehicle’s life. The average vehicle’s life is between 200,000 and 250,000 kilometers. Take a look at your owner’s manual to find out what your vehicle’s manufacturer suggests.
- Vital fluids. The car’s vital fluids include coolant, brake fluid, and power steering fluid. There is no routine number of kilometers recommended for filling or replacing the vital fluids for all cars. However, 150,000 kilometers is a good rule of thumb. Your vehicle owner’s manual will help you to determine when each of these fluids need to be drained and replaced. Just like belt and hose replacement, it’s likely that you won’t need to replace these fluids more than once or twice in a car’s lifetime.
- Hoses. For most vehicles manufactured in the last 10-12 years, hoses should only be replaced when they fail. While you can pre-empt a failure by replacing hoses that appear to be cracked and worn, remember that often times the hoses in a modern vehicle will never need replaced.
- Spark plugs. Spark plugs are typically replaced every 150,000 kilometers in most modern cars. If it’s an older vehicle produced before 1995, then you may need to replace the plugs sooner and more frequently.
- Know exactly what services you’re paying for. When it’s time to perform maintenance on your vehicle, auto repair facilities will often package a variety of services into a “tune-up special.” While these packages can sometimes be a good value, they often include services you simple don’t need. Insist on knowing exactly what is included in the price for one of these packages, and if you have any doubts make the vehicle service facility show you in your own manual that each of these items need replaced. If the package includes maintenance you don’t need, ask for a discount of the package price.
For more vehicle maintenance and repair advice, visit www.AccurateAutoAdvice.com.