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 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, and how many miles are on the car. However, drivers can still rely on this basic car maintenance schedule to serve as a guide.
5,000 kilometers/three months
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 5,000 kilometres or three months, whichever comes first, are Engine oil level, Windshield washer fluid, Coolant, Brake fluid level, Transmission fluid and Power steering fluid.
Drivers also can use 5,000 kilometres 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. 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.
8,000 kilometers/six 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 Do It Yourself (DIY) project. 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 drivers can complete in a few minutes.
16,000 kilometers/12 months
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 are typically changed every 16,000 kilometres 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.