When it comes to cars, it really is the little things that matter. The little things in the automotive market are the routine maintenance items. Take care of them and your car will take care of you. Taking care of these things at the proper mileage intervals may seem like you’re constantly dumping money into a bottomless pit. Between the payment, the insurance, and the gas, it seems like our vehicles take up enough of our paychecks. However, replacing the routine maintenance items on time will end up saving you money in the long run. Here’s a look at the ones you definitely don’t want to overlook.
1.) Engine Oil Change
Your engine oil is the life-blood of your car. Constant metal-to-metal friction within your engine builds up extreme heat. Your engine oil not only lubricates these parts but helps keep them from overheating and melting. Change it every three-to-four-thousand miles. It is a fluid that breaks down after time and protection decreases. Keep on the schedule and your engine will last as long as you own the vehicle.
2.) Air Filter
Your engine needs to breathe in order to run. It is constantly taking in air in order to operate. Your air filter is making sure no hazardous contaminants enter your engine. After so long it can become plugged with these contaminants, making your engine work harder to try and take in air. This will only use up more of your fuel. Changing your air filter at regular intervals will both protect your engine and save you in gas money.
3.) Fuel Filter
Speaking of saving money on gas, there is no more neglected filter on your vehicle than the fuel filter. This is due in large part to its location. Most fuel filters are underneath your car near the gas tank. Many become difficult to remove after time thanks to rust forming and fusing it to the fuel line. Changing it regularly will help prevent this rust build up and keep your fuel efficiency from decreasing.
4.) Tire Rotation
Tires are expensive. Nobody wants to replace them more often than necessary. Rotating them every 5,000 miles will keep tread wear even and prolong the life of the tires. Having this done in a repair facility will also help your technician see if your vehicle is having any alignment issues.
5.) All Other Fluids
Your antifreeze, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, and even your brake fluid should be changed at regular mileage intervals. These intervals vary by vehicle and should be listed in your owner’s manual, or you can get a list of the intervals from your dealership. All of these fluids will break down over time, some faster than others. Keeping them fresh will keep other more expensive parts from wearing out.
6.) Belts and Hoses
Just like your tires, your belts and hoses are made of rubber. Due to excessive temperature changes this rubber gets weaker after time. Having a belt or hose fail while you’re driving will leave you stranded. Making sure these get replaced on time will keep you always getting to where you’re going.
Your spark plugs, spark plug wires, and PCV valve (if applicable, not all vehicles have one) are the main tune-up items you’ll want to take care of. Plugs should at least be checked, cleaned, and re-gapped every 10-15,000 miles, if not replaced. Wires should be replaced every 30,000 miles and your PCV valve, also one of the most neglected items on a vehicle, should be checked at every tune-up interval and replaced if needed.
Some of these maintenance items are on the low side of cost, others not so much. But all of them are very necessary if you want to extend the life of your vehicle and avoid more costly repairs or, even worse, avoid becoming stranded on the side of the road. Take care of your car and it will take care of you.