Anyone who wants to prolong the life of their car should keep up with regular car maintenance. Not only does it help with overall performance, but it also can help prevent major car repairs that can be costly and stressful. When it comes to keeping up with a regular car maintenance schedule, it can be tough to keep track of it all. Here, we’ll go over a few of the most important car maintenance services you shouldn’t forget.
Regular Oil Changes
The most well-known of all regular car maintenance. Most people know they should get an oil change regularly but may not know the actual recommended timeframes. It can also be confusing because some new cars require oil changes less frequently, even going a full year before requiring one. However, the standard recommendation is every six months or 3,000-5,000 miles, whichever is earlier.
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Too-Old Engine Oil Can Cause Overheating
What can happen if you put off an oil change too long? If your car is also burning oil, you risk running way too low on engine oil. This can increase wear and tear on the working parts inside your engine, as well as potentially leading to overheating due to added friction.
Regular Brake Services
The main necessity with brake maintenance is getting new brake pads when the old ones wear out. The frequency will depend on your driving habits and stop-and-go city driving will mean you’ll need them more often than if you typically drive longer distances on the highway. Occasionally, when you bring in your car for new brake pads, you’ll also need new rotors, though they typically wear down much slower.
Don’t Forget About a Brake Fluid Flush
Another consideration is having regular brake fluid flushes. Over time, your brake fluid will accumulate debris and can even develop air pockets that will inhibit your ability to brake as effectively. This also will not be necessary as frequently as brake pad replacement, but if you start to notice a soft or spongy brake pedal, it’s time.
Get a Transmission Fluid Flush
Just like your engine oil, transmission fluid will need to be replaced regularly. They carry out similar functions and both will accumulate debris and contaminants over time. You may also be able to check your transmission fluid with a dipstick similar to the one you use to check your engine oil. You won’t have to have your transmission fluid flushed or replaced as often as you need oil changes, but you should check your owner’s manual for recommended timeframes.
Schedule the Service Sooner if You Notice a Leak
Also just like engine oil, your transmission fluid circulates in a closed system. If you notice drips under your car and think it may be transmission fluid, it’s important to get it checked out in case there’s a leak. If there’s insufficient transmission fluid to lubricate the moving parts in your transmission, you’re in for a costly transmission repair.
Have Your Cooling System Serviced
Don’t let your cooling system fall by the wayside. Your cooling system helps maintain a healthy operating temperature for both the engine and transmission by circulating coolant through the engine, transmission, and radiator. If any part of the cooling system, including the radiator, water pump, fans, thermostat, and coolant, aren’t working the way they should, it can cause major issues.
Coolant Keeps Your Engine and Transmission Healthy
Proper levels of coolant, as well as coolant that isn’t overly dirty, are essential to keep your engine and transmission healthy. If your coolant levels get too low or you go too long before having your coolant replaced, it can lead to your engine overheating. An overheating engine is a serious concern as it can lead to major engine damage.
Tune Up Servicing
Getting a tune up doesn’t have to be very frequent, but it does become important once you hit about 30,000-50,000 miles. The tune up service will check essential components that impact fuel combustion in your engine and therefore fuel economy. This includes all the parts that monitor and control the air-fuel mixture being sent into the engine’s cylinders, as well as the spark plugs responsible for igniting that mixture.
Your Spark Plugs Can Impact Performance
If one or more of your spark plugs fails, you’ll notice your car’s performance decrease. Your engine can start to misfire, knock, and lose power to accelerate. Fortunately, a tune up service should catch any worn spark plugs and they are simple and inexpensive to replace.
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