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Pay attention to your vehicle maintenance schedule

Pay attention to your vehicle maintenance schedule Pay attention to your vehicle maintenance schedule

Maintenance is an essential component of responsible vehicle ownership. Routine maintenance can help discover problems before they escalate into potentially costly issues. Maintenance also keeps vehicles running smoothly, making them more enjoyable to drive and extending their life expectancy.

Various factors can help to determine how often drivers should change their vehicles’ fluids and take them in for tuneups. Such variables include how frequently a vehicle is driven, the type of driving (city or rural) drivers do and how many miles are on the car. However, drivers can still rely on this basic car maintenance schedule, courtesy of Advance Auto Parts, to serve as a guide.

3,000 miles/3 months

Advance Auto Parts notes that monthly fluid checks typically are unnecessary with newer vehicles, though older vehicles should be inspected for leaks once a month. Among the fluids to check after every 3,000 miles or three months, whichever comes first, are:

• Engine oil level

• Windshield washer fluid

• Coolant

• Brake fluid level

• Transmission fluid

• Power steering fluid Drivers also can use 3,000 miles or three months as a benchmark to check tire pressure, hoses and belts. Many vehicles now display tire pressure for each tire on the dashboard, and drivers should pay attention to those numbers and put air in their tires when necessary. When inspecting hoses, touch them to make sure they’re not leaking and bulging. Hoses should be a little flexible, especially when they are warm.

5,000 miles/6 months

Oil and oil filters should be changed at this interval. In addition, this is a good time to rotate tires and inspect lights to make sure they’re still operating at peak capacity. Drivers also can check their cabin and engine air filters and replace them if need be. Changing these filters is a simple DIY project, and drivers can find an assortment of YouTube tutorials to help them complete these projects. Wiper blades also can be inspected around this time or whenever drivers suspect the blades aren’t operating at peak capacity. Replacing wiper blades is another simple DIY project that drivers can complete in a few minutes.

10,000 miles/12 months

Advance Auto Parts notes that synthetic oil is typically used in cars made since 2010. Each manufacturer is different, and drivers should check their manuals for recommendations. Synthetic oil and filters in vehicles that use synthetic oil is typically changed every 10,000 miles or 12 months, whichever comes first. Once a year drivers should ask their mechanics to check the alignment on their vehicles and the condition of their brakes.

Routine maintenance can keep vehicles running strong for years on end.