The Car Maintenance Schedule
If you follow a car maintenance schedule, you can prevent some engine damages before they occur.
Some items need to be checked and replaced every 30,000, 60,000, and 90,000 miles. Bur some things, like rubber gaskets and hoses, windshield wiper blades, tires wear out faster. That means they need to be maintained at irregular intervals. The rest of the parts need to be checked periodically by your mechanic or you. Here are some tips and advice for you when and why you should do regular maintenance for your car.
Oil and Oil Filter
Oil and oil filter need to be changed regularly as the oil filter may become clogged because tiny bits of metal, dirt, and carbon got in the oil which can lead to engine’s wear. For older cars with the non-synthetic oil, it is recommended to change oil and oil filter every 3,000 miles. For most of today’s cars running on synthetic oil, it is recommended every 5,000 to 10,000 miles, depending on the type of oil.
Maintenance Before 30,000 Miles
A clogged air filter can decrease the vehicle’s performance. It is recommended to replace the air filter every 15,000 to 30,000 miles. If you live in a dusty area, then change the air filter every 15,000 miles.
If the fuel filter gets clogged, it will become hard to start your vehicle, or it won’t be able to start at all. A fuel filter replacement varies, mostly it depends on the manufacturer's recommendation. But mostly it is suggested replacing the air filter closer to 30,000 miles. It is better to consult with your mechanic before replacing it or to do a pressure test to determine the condition of the fuel filter.
Maintenance Before 60,000 Miles
A lot of things affect battery life span, such as age, temperatures, and more. Most batteries last from 4 to 5 years, which means approximately every 50,000 to 60,000 miles. Remember, batteries come with a warranty prorated over a period of time, not mileage.
Brakes are engaged through a hydraulic system. If the fluid in the system gets contaminated by water, the boiling point gets lower, and it can turn to gas, which is compressible. This leads to a “squishy” brake pedal. To avoid this failure, bleed the brakes and replace with new brake fluid. Check the owner’s manual for more info. It is recommended to change the brake fluid every 20,000 to 45,000 miles.
You will start to hear a squealing noise when brake pads and shoes need to be replaced. Check them regularly. Usually, they can last up to 50,000 miles.
The brakes work by squeezing the pads against metal rotors to stop the vehicle. Due to constant friction between the rotor and brake pads, rotors get subjected to lots of heat, which leads to damage. In this case, you can replace the rotors or resurface them after 60,000 miles. Resurfacing the rotors is cheaper, but can be done only once for their entire lifespan.
A mix of water and antifreeze is used in the radiator to cool the car. If missing a coolant, the engine will overheat, which can lead to some severe damages. It is recommended to change the coolant every 60,000 miles. But before replacing the coolant, go to your mechanic to flush the cooling system.
Check regularly the transmission fluid level. Low transmission fluid can cause shifting problems and even can burn up the transmission. And always examine the color of the transmission fluid. A right fluid color should be pink and smell sweet, while bad transmission fluid will be darker red, or even brown, and smell burnt. Some vehicles have a transmission fluid dipstick to check the fluid level, but some cars don’t have a dipstick for the transmission fluid. If the fluid level becomes low or contaminated, often the check engine” warning light will illuminate on the dashboard.
For the manual transmission vehicles, it is recommended to change the transmission fluid every 30,000 to 60,000 mile
For the automatic transmission vehicles, the fluid change interval can be up to 100,000 miles.
For more accurate information about the fluid change, check your vehicle owner’s manual.
Maintenance Before 90,000 Miles
Hoses serve for running the coolant in your car, and also power steering fluid if you have it. Over time, the rubber cracks, and the damaged hose loses its efficiency. That’s why you should check them regularly and replace them if needed, before 90,000 miles.
Power Steering Fluid
Low power steering fluid can lead to hard steering and will make a squealing sound while turning the wheel. Flush and replace the power steering fluid every 75,000 miles.
Spark Plugs/Ignition System
If the ignition system components fail, “check engine” light will illuminate on the dashboard, or it will become hard starting your car, or you may experience a rough running. You will need a car code reader scan tool to determine what exactly needs to be replaced.
Most new cars use iridium or titanium spark plugs, which can sometimes last up to 100,000 miles. But spark plugs, which are made of copper, need to be replaced before 30,000 miles.
Timing belts need to be replaced more often than timing chains. Usually, it is recommended to change the belt between 75,000 and 90,000 miles. For the timing chain replacement interval, ask your mechanic to inspect it. Over time, the chain can get stretched, but it should last up to 100,000 miles.
Always check your vehicle owner’s manual for a more precise maintenance schedule. The interval also depends on the way you drive, and the road and weather conditions. You can avoid a lot of expensive repairs by following all the regular maintenance schedules.