Make sure you keep up with these basic automotive maintenance services
Basic automotive services are as helpful to your car as regular doctor visits are for your body. If you fall behind, you may end up having to get surgery. For a car, this means expensive major repairs or replacements.
The best thing you can do for your car is drive safe and smart. This is similar to having a good diet and keeping up with a regular exercise routine. However, a general checkup every so often is also important.
Here is a look at some routine maintenance that can help you save money in the long run.
Basic automotive service #1: Oil changes
This is a pretty common service that most drivers know about. This prevents the risk of dirt and sediment buildup in your engine, which are like blood clots in your body. It should happen every 3,000 to 5,000 miles, depending on your vehicle.
Most oil change shops put a sticker with the mileage for your next change in the window. If you miss the recommended mileage, do not panic. (Well, unless you miss it by more than 500 miles.) If you are a low-mileage driver (5,000 miles per year or less), it is still smart to get the oil changed at least once a year.
Basic automotive service #2: Electric diagnostic
Think of this like an x-ray or a CT scan. You may not have to get it done on a regular basis, but if you think there is an issue with your onboard electronics, get it looked at by an expert.
- Check engine light
- Power windows, locks or mirros not working
- Dim lights in the dash
- Radio does not turn on at all
You might just have a short circuit. You may also have a battery that is out of juice. Either way, if you are unsure about the state of your auto electrical system, get it checked before going on any long road trips.
Basic automotive service #3: Brake pad replacement
Some drivers do not think about their braking system until it whines every time they stop. This is a costly approach to brake maintenance. Be sure to get the pads replaced at least once a year to avoid rotor or caliper damage.
Basic automotive service #4: Filter and hose checks
The air filter should be changed annually to ensure peak performance. You will also want to have the hoses, gaskets, seals and belts looked at least once a year, having them tightened or replaced as needed to prevent leaks.