You depend on your car to get you everywhere, and you need it to run well and last for a long time. However, if you are not performing regular preventive car maintenance, you may not be giving your vehicle the attention it needs to keep running smoothly.
Regular service inspections and learning how to do preventative car maintenance on a car will help your car last longer and ensure that it gets you where you need to go when you need to be there. In addition, regular preventive maintenance can save you from costly emergency repairs or being stranded with no vehicle.
Preventive car maintenance is the regularly scheduled care and protection of your car. Preventive car maintenance is done before your car breaks down or develops a serious issue and protects against potential major repairs.
Negligence is the most common cause of costly, unexpected major repairs. Often, performing regular car maintenance could have prevented the bill for a major repair. Depending on your vehicle, the lack of preventive maintenance on certain parts and components has the potential to void the manufacturer’s warranty.
Maintenance intervals are designed to keep your car running safely and efficiently, improving your vehicle’s durability, reliability, and resale value. The service intervals for your vehicle are impacted by several factors, including your driving conditions.
For instance, short drives with a lot of stop-and-go traffic or carrying heavy cargo are considered severe driving conditions and require your vehicle to have more frequent servicing. Severe driving conditions can also result from extremely hot or cold temperatures, rough roads, high elevation, and dusty or salty environments.
Because of these many factors, scheduling and adhering to a strict preventive car maintenance schedule can help keep your vehicle operating at maximum efficiency. While preventive car maintenance covers every component of your car, these are some of the most important preventive car maintenance services.
While an oil change every 3000 miles used to be the standard interval, that has changed. With today’s advanced engines and modern synthetic lubricants, most manufacturers recommend an oil and filter change every 5,000 to 7,500 miles, with some stretching the interval to 10,000 miles.
Friction causes all tires to wear with use, but they wear differently depending on their position on your car. For instance, the front tires on a front-wheel-drive vehicle will wear slightly faster than the rear tires under normal conditions. The front tires also wear faster because they handle the steering and most of the braking force.
During a tire rotation, your tires are removed, positions rotated and then remounted. Regular tire rotation helps to ensure even wear of all four tires and is usually recommended every 7,500 miles or at the same interval as your oil and oil filter.
Typically, most manufacturers recommend that your wheels are balanced and your vehicle aligned every 5,000 to 7,500 miles. Balancing your wheels ensures that the tire and wheel weight is distributed evenly around the axle, so your tires don’t wobble or bump as you drive down the road. In contrast, an alignment ensures that your tires are parallel to each other and track straight, improving your ride comfort, increasing fuel economy, and reducing uneven tire wear.
We often don’t give much thought to windshield wipers, but they are vital for safety when we need them. As they wear, the wiper blades stop making complete contact with the windshield, which causes them to leave streaks and smears, limiting your visibility.
Over time, the constant exposure to the elements and road pollutants causes windshield wiper blades to deteriorate. After a season or two of rain, sleet, snow, ice, UV rays, oil, dirt, and grime from the road, your windshield wipers will begin to lose their effectiveness. Having your windshield wipers replaced as soon as you notice they aren’t working correctly will ensure that you don’t get caught in the rain with poor wipers and no visibility.
Many vehicle parts and components wear naturally with use and time, while road hazards can have a negative impact on critical components. By following the recommended preventive maintenance schedule provided by the manufacturer in your owner’s manual, you can avoid expensive repairs and ensure that your car performs optimally.
Depending on your car’s make and model, the service interval mileage and preventative car maintenance requirements may vary. Preventive maintenance at the intervals suggested in your owner’s manual may include an inspection of your vehicle steering and suspension components, brakes and axles, belts and hoses, fluid and filters, tire wear and inflation levels, and other critical components to help ensure that your car functions safely and efficiently.
Your owner’s manual includes a preventative maintenance schedule for every component of your vehicle, including checking exterior and interior lights, inspecting hinges and locks, examining windshield wiper blades, checking the battery, inspecting the level of ball joint wear, and checking exhaust system components.
Scheduling and performing preventative car maintenance is critical to keeping your car safe and functioning as intended. Depending on road conditions, the type of driving you do, and environmental factors, you may have to schedule and perform preventive maintenance more frequently.
In addition to eliminating expensive unplanned and unexpected repairs, performing preventive car maintenance can help save on your fuel consumption. According to Edmunds, a properly tuned vehicle can improve gas mileage by about 4%, and keeping your tires properly inflated can add just over 3%. Additionally, a dirty air filter can reduce fuel economy by up to 10%, while more severe issues, such as an oxygen sensor, can decrease fuel consumption by as much as 40%.
Scheduling and performing preventative car maintenance is critical to keeping your car safe and functioning as intended. Depending on road conditions, the type of driving you do, and environmental factors, you may have to schedule and perform preventative maintenance more frequently.
Overall, performing preventive car maintenance according to your owner’s manual’s suggested intervals will prolong the life of your car and provide significant savings in operating costs and unplanned repairs.