Maintanence Timeline and Preventive Maintanence Ideas

The basic idea here is that your car needs regular maintenance. If you plan to give it a blind eye, it will cost you far far more to fix an issue. There is a timeline for changing oil,air filter,spark plugs,brake pads, transmission fluid, coolant flush and such. This information is in your user/service manual

Brand New cars : - If you purchased a Brand NEW car , the maintenance schedule is pretty much set for you. A glance at the service schedule (part of the owners manual) will tell you when and what service should be done. Recently there is a trend that some luxury cars need only  "1 Year " service intervals. One thing I often do and see a lot of others do is to have an oil change done in the middle of the yearly service period. The reason being there have been a lot of horror stories of heavy sludge formation, even by following these 1 year service intervals. I guess the motivation for such a long interval are couple . First the dealers don't make a lot of money off oil changes.  Second , problems don't usually appear with in the factory Warranty period since it starts taking toll only after 70K miles or so. So if your service interval seems pretty long , throw in an oil change in the middle period of the service interval or so. You should be OKAY to use a cheap 19.99 oil change special at the local franchise stores.  Just make sure to take in your own -original factory specified oil and oil filter (that you can buy at the Dealer's Parts center or online or parts stores. Make sure it is the exact recommended oil type. See our notes on oil change DIY Here.

Late Model Cars :- If you purchased a 2 or 3 year old car, in most times you can get the service history from the authorized dealer. Then it is easy and you can start your service right where the previous owner left off. If no history is available , you can inspect the car using our tips provided and find out if the oil needs to be changed. You may get it done by the dealer the first time and then later as you get to understand your car better , you should be a position to do some of the maintenance as a DIY.

Used cars with high miles :- These cars are usually purchased from private parties where by you are at liberty to find out it was serviced or when the next oil change is. Nevertheless you should follow tips here and do your own inspection. If the Oil appears black you may get the oil change done sooner and then later as you get to understand your car better , you should be in a position to do some of the maintenance as a DIY. Some of the things I like to check for maintenance after purchase are ofcourse the oil,air filter, spark plugs,age of the battery, level and color of fluids and cabin filter , brake pads and tires. These are basically the maintenance items discussed below.

Preventive Maintanence Ideas

There are basic simple things that you can do every 2 weeks or even once a month, that can save you a lot of stress and headache with car worries in future. These quick checks take just minutes and can be done at your home , or when while filling gas at the gas pump. I would highly suggest you do these following checks monthly on newer cars and every 2 weeks on car with high miles (>100K):-

1.) Oil Level.

2.) Brake Fluid level.

2.) Tire Pressure

3.) Windshield Washer Fluid

4.) Power Steering Fluid

5.) Coolant Level

I would highly suggest these checks during oil changes :-

1.) Air Filter

2.) Transmission Fluid

3.) Belt Inspection

4.) Wiper Blades

Follow the maintenance /service schedule as per the User Manual for various items listed below. The normal-average duration is in the parenthesis :

1.) Oil & Oil Filter (4 to 5000 Miles)

2.) Automatic Transmission Fluid Flush  (25 to 35K Miles)

3.) Coolant Flush   (Every 5 Oil Changes)

4.) Air Filter      (20 to 30K Miles)  

5.) Spark Plugs     (>50K Miles)

6.) AC Filter (Cabin Filter)  (Every Year)

7.) Belts          (>70K Miles)

8.) Chassis & Suspension  Lubrication  (20K Miles)

9.) Tire Rotation (10-15K miles)

10.) Brake Pads (35-50k Miles)