How often should you service your vehicle? Just like many other important questions in life, the answer to this question is … ‘it depends.’ Now, before you get frustrated with that response, let’s take a closer look at exactly what we mean by that statement.
When and how often you should service your vehicle depends on:
- Whether or not something is wrong,
- Whether or not your vehicle is due for routine maintenance, and
- Other factors, such as your travel plans.
Let’s look at some examples. If you head out to the garage one morning and your car won’t start, you can’t jump start your vehicle, and there’s no one to give you a ride to work, your options are limited. You likely need to call a tow truck and then your auto repair shop to schedule service ASAP.
On the other hand, if you’re preparing for a road trip, you should schedule service for your vehicle sooner than later, but it’s not exactly an emergency situation. Before you hit the road, it’s good to follow a road trip checklist and have your mechanic make sure everything looks good. Common items to be checked include windshield wipers, the battery, tires, and fluid levels.
Follow a good service interval schedule
Now, let’s say that nothing is obviously wrong with your vehicle and you have no travel plans. Does that mean you shouldn’t schedule service for your vehicle? Absolutely not! That is, if you want your vehicle to continue to be safe to drive and also last as long as possible. What you have serviced and when you have it done, however, depends on where you fall in the service interval schedule.
Let’s look at some common car maintenance items and when they should be completed:
- Is your check engine light on?
- Check tire pressure and tread.
- Clean your vehicle.
- Make sure all lights are operational.
- Refill windshield washer fluid if needed.
Every 3 months or 3,000 miles:
- Check fluids: transmission, power steering, and windshield washer fluids.
- Schedule an oil and filter change (some models may be able to go longer between oil changes – check with your mechanic or owner’s manual).
- Check the fuel filter and engine air filter and replace if needed.
Every 6 months or 6,000 miles:
- Inspect belts and hoses for wear and tear.
- Check oil, transmission, power steering, and windshield washer fluids.
- Check engine air and oil filters as well as the fuel filter – replace as needed.
Every 9 months or 9,000 miles:
- Check the battery and cables.
- Inspect belts, hoses, filters, lights – replace as needed.
- Measure tire pressure and tread depth, inspect for wear and tear.
- Check fluid levels and schedule an oil change.
Every 12 months or 12,000 miles:
- Inspect brakes, chassis lubrication, steering, and suspension components.
- Check fluid levels, including coolant/antifreeze.
- Check and/or replace spark plugs, filters, and wiper blades.
Service your vehicle with a trusted mechanic
If you think this list is a lot to remember, you’re right, and this isn’t even everything that needs to be checked! The good news is that you don’t have to remember everything if you have an honest mechanic that you can trust. At Good Works Auto Repair, we believe that preventative maintenance like this actually saves you money. In fact, it’s the main reason why our own vehicles have lasted for more than 160,000 miles!
With today’s new car shortage and used cars being in high demand, it’s not as likely that you’ll be able to replace your current vehicle at a great price. Instead of replacing it, why not follow the recommended service interval schedule for your car and make it last as long as possible? Simply schedule your preventative maintenance appointment today and we’ll be happy to do our part in keeping your vehicle safe and healthy.