A big part of car ownership is taking care of your vehicle through regular and preventative maintenance. Maintaining your car through proper maintenance can be a large and stressful undertaking. Some may even find it to be annoying. However, by staying on top of your car maintenance and getting the necessary services completed when they need to be, you will reap the rewards of a good-working vehicle. A car maintenance schedule is an easy way to stay on top of your car care and today we will be taking a look at what is included in one and how you can best serve your car for all of its maintenance needs.
What to check during car maintenance
The specific services you get done on your car will depend on how long it has been since you last got that service done. This is typically measured in miles, so after 7,500 miles driven, for instance, you might be due for an oil change. For this reason, it is important to keep track of all of the maintenance that you get done on your vehicle. If you have not been keeping track of your maintenance or are not sure what services your car may need, not to worry. You can schedule a service called a “multi-point inspection” in which the technician will inspect over 50 different parts and components in your vehicle to identify the ones that need maintenance or a replacement.
The fact is that there are many, many different types of maintenance services you will need to get for your vehicle throughout its lifespan. The good news is that your technician will often be able to let you know when they are needed. That being said, here is a list of the maintenance items that require the most attention and should be addressed every time you bring your vehicle in for maintenance:
- Oil and Filter Change
- Oil and Coolant Level Check
- Tire Rotation
- Tire Pressure
- Tire Tread Depth
- Air Filter Change
- Battery Performance Check
How often do I need car maintenance?
How often you need to go in for car maintenance will vary depending on a variety of factors such as the car’s age, make and model, and condition. It is important to always consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual to get the exact recommendations from the manufacturer for when to get certain services done. If you no longer have the physical copy that came with your vehicle, a digital copy of your owner’s manual can be found online and accessed for free.
Vehicle maintenance services can be grouped into three separate camps: short term maintenance, long term maintenance, and seasonal maintenance items. Your short term services will need to be completed the most often while long term services will keep you covered for a while. Seasonal maintenance items should be addressed before the start of their applicable seasons. Below we have listed these maintenance items by group as well as how often they should be done:
Short term maintenance
- Oil and coolant level check – every month (can do this by just lifting the hood of your vehicle)
- Tire pressure check – every month
- Check tire tread depth – every month
- Oil and oil filter change – every 5,000 – 7,500 miles
- Tire rotation – every 5,000 – 7,500 miles
- Change air filter – every 15,000 miles
- Battery performance check – at every maintenance check-up
Long term maintenance
- Spark plugs – every 30,000 miles
- Front or rear differential fluid change – every 30,000 – 60,000 miles
- Transmission fluid change – every 30,000 – 60,000 miles for manual transmission, 60,000 – 100,000 miles for automatic
- Shocks and struts – every 50,000 miles
- Transfer case fluid change – every 60,000 – 70,000 miles
- Change wiper blades – once a year
- AC system check – right before summer
- Change to snow tires – right before winter
Tips for scheduling car maintenance
When it comes to scheduling car maintenance, there are a few things to remember that can make the whole process a lot easier for you. Get into the habit of doing these things while scheduling your car maintenance and you’ll be able to tackle your car care with a whole lot less stress.
Get the price before you book your appointment
It can be frustrating to get services done on your car without knowing how much to expect to pay. Sadly, most shops do not offer upfront pricing for a majority of their services. This is because the amount of labor and parts cost for any particular service may vary depending on the vehicle. Make things easier for yourself by always remembering to get a price quote before you agree to any services.
Compare prices across shops
Depending on how you go about doing this, it may be a little time-consuming but it’s time well spent when you end up saving money on your car care. As we mentioned, many shops do not have upfront pricing for all services, so you will have to call each shop individually to get price quotes for your specific maintenance job. Always try to get in touch with a few different shops to see how their prices compare. You may also learn that some shops offer certain services or additional perks that others do not, such as a free inspection included or quick service guarantee. Take these into consideration when deciding on a shop to book your maintenance at.
Double-check that you are getting all of the maintenance that you need
It is important to keep track of all of your maintenance so that you know the next time you will need to book those services again. Above is our basic guide for all of your preventative maintenance and how often they should be done – use it to get a sense of how often you should be getting these services. It’s always a good idea to check your owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s recommendation on maintenance intervals for your specific car model. Many times you will be due or close to due for multiple services, so try to knock as many of them out as you can in one trip to save yourself the headache.
CarAdvise for easier maintenance scheduling
Looking for an easier way to implement our maintenance tips above? CarAdvise is the solution for you! With the CarAdvise app, you’ll get upfront prices on all services, be able to compare them to other shops around you, and schedule your maintenance all in one platform! Plus, never worry about missing important maintenance for your vehicle – CarAdvise will send you maintenance reminders whenever it’s time to get a service done.
CarAdvise makes car care simple, so sign up today and download our mobile app.