For many people, it may be a hassle to schedule a regular car maintenance service but when you think about the overall monetary value of a vehicle and taking it for a checkup a few times a year, it’s definitely worth it and only requires minimal effort.
There are a few ways to remember when to check up on your car and when to schedule a car maintenance service appointment. First, refer to your odometer. This usually comes with the option of resetting 2 of them, A and B, to track your mileage between services.
The second is writing down the total mileage and service received at the time. Third, there are many apps available to track and remind you when you should get your car serviced. With excuses to remember out of the way, here are the key services to stay on top of and extend the life of your car.
Fluid Service for Vehicles
Since a car is essentially a bunch of moving parts, the best thing you can do to extend its life is to keep the fluids clean and available to lubricate the various parts and gears. This reduces damage to the parts due to friction. Also, this makes your ride smoother and not bumpy or squeaky.
Basically, just check the fluid levels first, then look for clarity or if it’s dark and viscous. Top off where needed or get it changed if it’s viscous or smelly. Extremely low levels is an indicator of a leak somewhere.
Engine Oil Change
It is usually best to change your engine oil and filter every 3,000 miles, depending on what your owner’s manual says. However, synthetic oil is a better option for your car because it offers better protection. It costs a little more but only requires a change every 5,000 miles so oil changes are much less frequent over the life of the car.
Brake Fluid Flush
The brake fluid requires less maintenance as it only requires a change every three years or 36,000 miles if it does not have an antilock braking system (ABS). However, if it has ABS, then flush this every two years or 24,000 miles.
Transmission Fluid Change
The transmission fluid allows you to shift gears and power the vehicle through moving parts. The frequency of getting a transmission fluid flush depends on whether or not you have an automatic or manual transmission.
If you have an automatic, then getting a transmission fluid flush every three years for front-wheel drive or every five years for rear-wheel drive is recommended. Manual transmissions require much less maintenance but still needs a transmission fluid change every 60,000 miles since they are less complicated.
It’s easy to forget to pay attention to the fluid level but remembering to check for leaks and quality will save you a lot of money and avoid needing a premature transmission repair.
Power Steering Fluid
Power steering fluid is easily overlooked but it actually makes steering very easy and not a struggle to turn. Not having enough fluid can suddenly make it very difficult to navigate and lose control. It is very simple to check these levels and to top it off.
Coolant comes with a variety of names: radiator fluid, radiator coolant, and antifreeze coolant. As the name infers, it keeps your engine cooler so it can run longer. Some people add water as a temporary fix when their engine overheats but it’s actually a blend of coolant and water, usually 50-50, that makes it work efficiently. It should never be 100% coolant.
The timing belt, or camshaft, is very important to check up on since cars are built with interference engines, if a belt breaks or comes loose, valves and parts will collide and can result in the car breaking down completely. It’s best to replace it about every 50,000 miles but each time you take it to a car repair shop, ask that they check how your belts are doing.
Taking care of your tires is also crucial because as the four things the car sits on and moves around on, there’s a lot of wear and tear that happens. Check the traction of the tires and check the tire air pressure each month to make sure they are in good condition. Get your tires rotated each time you change your oil or at least every 6 months so that the burden of wear is more even among the tires and you’ll also get more miles out of your tires.
In addition, getting a wheel alignment at least twice a year or every other oil change. This helps your tires get even wear, make sure your tires are pointing in the right direction, improved drivability, help your suspension, and correct your car’s ability to rebalance itself. As a bonus, you also get better fuel efficiency.
Trust in AAMCO Colorado. We can help extend the life of your car by providing regular car maintenance services, transmission fluid changes, and transmission repair. Schedule an Appointment with one of our many Colorado AAMCO Locations. From our Ft. Collins AAMCO to our Denver AAMCO or Colorado Springs AAMCO, we have many locations up and down the Front Range.