A Guide to Routine Vehicle Maintenance Schedule
Avoid breakdowns and expensive repairs by getting in a routine of regular vehicle maintenance. Following this guide will help extend the life of your vehicle and will save you money by problems that become exaggerated as they are neglected. The following steps will help you stay on top of your vehicle’s regular maintenance schedule.
Refer to your owner’s manual for exact routine vehicle maintenance timelines
Every vehicle is different, but one thing is for sure, they all come with an owner’s manual. Usually when you buy your car, it will be located in the glove compartment. Of course, if you’ve lost yours, they can usually be found online or through your dealer. Inside that manual, you will find a scheduled maintenance section. Consider the intervals for engine oil and filter changes, belts, hoses, tire rotations, and more.
Oil and filter changes
Oil is one of the single most important elements that keeps your engine running smoothly. It lubricates your engine, keeping all the moving parts from rubbing against each other and simply grinding away. Friction that would be created without proper, clean oil can cause serious damage! Without good, clean oil, metal particles and other contaminants can destroy an engine in a few thousand miles. That’s why neglecting an oil and filter change is the most important step to caring for your vehicle. Be sure every time you change your oil, you also change your filter. A reputable oil change shop or auto shop can perform a professional oil change for people who are comfortable doing this routine vehicle maintenance themselves.
Knowing what type of oil you should use will typically be laid out in your owner’s manual. These days, many vehicles and manufacturers recommend a synthetic blend or a pure synthetic engine oil. Although there are resources that claim switching between petroleum-based engine oil and synthetic engine oil can cause damage, some experts claim as long as the viscosity requirements of your engine are met, switching back and forth causes no issue.
Routinely inspect your tires
Since your tires are the only thing separating you and your vehicle from the road, tires should be an important part of your routine vehicle maintenance. Be sure and visually inspect your tires monthly. Check tire pressure, tread depth, and also check your spare tire in case you need it. In colder weather it may be necessary to add air to your tires. Invest in a decent tire gauge so you can make sure your tire pressure is accurate. The tire inflation PSI information is usually located on a sticker inside the door of your vehicle, but also it will be printed into the side of the tires themselves.
As part of your routine vehicle maintenance, have your tires rotated a couple times a year is also good practice. On a front wheel drive vehicle, the front tires will typically wear fast because they are performing double duty: steering and pulling. Rotating your tires will keep the wear between all four of your tires equal, extending the life of your tires and their “ride quality.” There is typically a recommended rotation scheme laid out in your owner’s manual that will explain a rotation diagram of your vehicle’s tires.
Examine your vehicle’s fluids
Aside from motor oil, your vehicle also has other vital fluids for all the systems that need to be examined as part of routine vehicle maintenance. Transmission fluid, coolant, washer fluid, and brake fluid cover the bases for most vehicles’ fluids.
Like checking the oil, transmission fluid is also checked with a dipstick. Brake fluid, coolant and washer fluid can all be inspected by removing a cap and checking the levels visually. Never open the radiator cap to check coolant level while the vehicle is hot. It is safer to check the clear refill container located near the radiator.
Inspect Belts and hoses
Checking belts and hoses in the engine bay is a step beyond normal vehicle maintenance, however it is important on higher mileage vehicles. If your vehicle has reached 70,000-100,000 miles, be sure and have your belts and hoses inspected for any fraying, leaks or other issues that could cause them to break or burst. Replacing belts and hoses in time before that happens is crucial. These parts of your vehicle are critical to proper operation.
If you aren’t comfortable performing these routine vehicle maintenance recommendations, bring your vehicle into Auto Clinic of Franklin for evaluation and regular vehicle maintenance. Keeping your car or truck in tip-top shape is our #1 priority! Give us a call or send us a message below to schedule a time, or just drop by the shop during our regular business hours to have one of our technicians take a look! We look forward to serving you.