Take care of your car and it will take care of you. Following basic car maintenance tips can help you stay on the road and out of the repair shop.
Engine oil – Checking and changing the oil is critical in keeping today’s engines running properly and efficiently. Follow your manufacturers guidelines for changing oil intervals, usually every 3,000 miles or three to six months.
Transmission fluid – Checking the transmission fluid is another vital item on the car maintenance list. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for change intervals, usually about every 30,000 miles.
Battery – Most car batteries today are maintenance-free, sealed, and can last more than three years. The first sign your battery should be replaced is often when you have trouble starting the engine.
Tires – A car tire inflated to 35 pounds per square inch (psi) can lose one psi every month, or for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit of temperature change, so your car maintenance list should include checking tire pressure. Also check your spare. Rotate the tires every 6,000 miles to prevent uneven wear. Replace them when they become worn, and have the alignment checked if the car pulls to either side when driving or if you notice uneven tire wear.
Engine coolant – Replace most engine coolant or antifreeze every 30,000 miles – or every two to three years. Newer formulas, however, may last up to 50,000 miles.
Brakes and brake fluid – Have the brake fluid levels checked to ensure they are within tolerance. How often you need to replace brake pads or other components depends on how you drive and typical driving conditions. Warning signs of a brake problem include noise, vibration or “grabbing” when you apply the brakes.
Air filter – Basic car maintenance recommends changing your air filter each year or every 12,000-15,000 miles. A clean air filter can help your engine “breathe” better and improve gas mileage and reduce harmful emissions.
Windshield wipers and wiper fluid – Windshield wiper care is one of the most neglected basic car maintenance tips. Replace the blades every six to twelve months or whenever the rubber becomes worn. Check the wiper fluid every couple weeks and keep it full.