A large part of car ownership is taking care of and maintaining it. If you’re a first-time car owner or even just a casual driver, you may not know all of the different parts and services that car maintenance entails. It’s important to not only know what kinds of car maintenance services to get for your car, but also when and where. At first glance, this may be overwhelming for some car owners, but with the right tools and information, you can make informed decisions to keep your car operational for a long time with almost no hassle.
Today, we will be going over what basic car maintenance specifically entails, as well as car part replacement and some maintenance tips to help you succeed at car ownership.
Basic car maintenance
There are certain car maintenance services that are common and should be done on a regular basis. We call this type of maintenance “routine maintenance.” Below are the most basic and common routine maintenance items that you should stay on top of, as well as a description for each.
Oil/Oil Filter Change
Changing your car’s motor oil and oil filter will likely be the maintenance service you get done the most. Oil changes should occur every 3,000-7,500 miles depending on the car you drive and the type of oil you get. Check the manufacturer recommendation for your specific make and model to know exactly how often to get your oil changed. Oil changes are important because motor oil will lose its lubricating and cooling properties over time. Regular oil changes will help prevent expensive engine damage from occurring. Oil filters, which help rid the motor oil of dirt and debris, should be changed at least during every other oil change.
Engine coolant is the blue liquid that you see for sale at hardware and car maintenance shops. It is responsible for circulating around your engine and absorbing heat to prevent your engine from overheating. Over time, some coolant will evaporate, requiring more coolant to be added to prevent engine issues. It’s a good idea to open the hood of your car and check your coolant level every month or so, although you likely will not need to add more coolant that often. Check your manufacturer recommendations for the amount of coolant that should be in the car for your specific make and model.
Not to be confused with the cabin filter, which is another type of air filter in your car that serves a slightly different purpose, your engine’s air filter cleans the air that flows to your engine. Air is needed to be added to your fuel mixture to make the internal combustion process in your engine work. The air filter gets rid of any debris and unwanted particles that you don’t want in your engine. Over time it will get clogged up, so be sure to get it replaced about every 12,000-15,000 miles.
As you drive your car, your tire tread will start to wear. Since your front and rear tires will wear out at different rates, your mechanic will swap the positions of these tires to ensure that the wear for each tire evens out – this is known as a tire rotation. Tire rotations help ensure that the tread wears evenly, allowing you to still use your tires without issue. They also help extend the life of your tires. How often you get a tire rotation will depend on your driving patterns, however as a general rule of thumb you will want to get your tires rotated every 7,500 miles.
Car part replacement
After owning your car for an extended period of time, some car parts may start to wear out and break, requiring replacement. It’s a good idea to be knowledgeable about the lifespan of the major parts of your car so that you can be prepared when they require replacement. Your car’s owner’s manual is a great resource for checking the lifespan of your car parts and when they should be replaced. If you don’t know where your physical owner’s manual is, you can always look up the digital owner’s manual for your make and model for free online.
Costs to replace a car part will vary depending on the part that needs to be replaced, as well as whether you are replacing it with a brand new part or a used one. Another consideration to keep in mind is that some car parts, like the battery, are universal and can be replaced by any car battery, while other car parts require a specific model or type to be used for your make and model. Be aware of this before purchasing any replacement parts and have your mechanic or shop assist you with selecting the part you need.
A significant portion of the cost of a part replacement will be the labor cost. Labor will vary in cost depending on the part that is being replaced and the type of car you drive. Always remember to ask the shop what the labor cost will be for replacing a car part before you agree to the service. Although car part costs will be the same from shop to shop, you may find a lower labor cost elsewhere, so don’t be afraid to shop around!
What are maintenance intervals and how to use them to help you
A maintenance interval refers to the set amount of time or mileage that passes before you need to get a car maintenance item done again. This could be a hard number or a range. For example, the maintenance interval for an oil change can be “every 3,000-7,500 miles” while the maintenance interval for a battery replacement may be “every 3 years.” Utilizing and keeping track of all of your maintenance intervals will make taking care of your car much easier for you. They will allow you to plan ahead when it comes to scheduling appointments and ensure that you won’t have to wait until something is wrong with the car to get it fixed, which is often more expensive and inconvenient.
Keeping track of all of your maintenance intervals by hand or just from memory is considerably difficult, so make car care simpler by using CarAdvise! CarAdvise keeps track of all of the maintenance intervals for your specific vehicle and will send you maintenance reminders when it’s time for service. Plus, keep a digital record of your maintenance history all in one place for easy access. Download the CarAdvise app and sign up today!
Stay on top of car maintenance with CarAdvise
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