Keeping up with the basic maintenance on your car can seem like a hassle—why fix something if it isn’t broken? But you shouldn’t wait until your car starts giving you problems before you start thinking about repair and maintenance.
If you want to help ensure the longevity of your car or vehicle, you want to keep up with maintenance on a regular basis. Here’s a breakdown of how often you should check the general functionality of your vehicle to keep it with you for as long as you need it.
Car Maintenance Timeline: Let’s Break it Down
- Check Often – Every month or so you want to make sure the following features are functioning properly in your vehicle:
- Dashboard indicator lights – Along with the various gauges on a car’s dashboard, there are also some symbols that may light up on the dash as well. While you definitely want to take care of any issues as soon as possible, not all the indicator lights that can appear on your dash require immediate attention. If you see a symbol on your dashboard and don’t know what it means, Auto Zone has a helpful list of dashboard symbols and what they mean that you can reference.
- Lights – The more a car is driven, the dirtier it can get. Over time, the headlights and brake lights on a car collect dust, bug guts, and other general road debris that can dim the brightness of the lights. Every now and then give your headlights and brake lights a quick wipe down to make sure they are working at their full potential.
- Tires- Have you ever walked a long distance in shoes that hurt your feet? It can be painful, and even damaging to the body. Well, when your car is driving on wheels that are in poor condition, the car is also more susceptible to damage. Make sure your tires are properly rotated and have enough air so your car can drive happily and comfortably.
- Windshield washer fluid- If you have ever run out of windshield wiper fluid before, you know what an inconvenience it can be to not have a way of cleaning the main window of your vehicle. Avoid the inconvenience, and the potential danger of running out of windshield washer fluid by checking how much you have regularly.
- Check Approximately Every 3 Months, or 3,000 Miles
- Automatic transmission fluid – transmission fluid helps a car when it automatically changes gears when driving in different conditions—such as uphill and downhill. Keeping up with the automatic transmission fluid will help a vehicle run as smooth as possible.
- Engine oil level – Have you ever been low on oil and noticed that your car runs differently? Having the proper amount of oil in your car helps the parts work together so the vehicle runs as efficiently as it can.
- Battery and cables – The battery and cables of a car aid the electronic functionality of a vehicle—which can be important when it comes to the synchronization of features and functions of a car.
- Check Approximately Every 6 Months, or 6,000 Miles
- Chassis Lubrication – this prevents the different parts of your car from rubbing together and creating friction, which can deteriorate the parts of a car over time. Keep your car parts well lubricated so they can work together smoothly.
- Wiper blades – Just as the fluid of your windshield wipers is important, so is the functionality of the blades themselves. Make sure they are straight and intact, so you aren’t left with any distracting streaks when you go to use them.
- Belts and hoses – When you check the lubrication of your car parts, you might as well check the functionality of the belts and hoses in your car as well. As you make sure they are well lubricated, make sure they appear unscathed—especially if they haven’t been lubricated in a while.
- Check Approximately Every 12 Months, 12,000 Miles
- Air filters – Overtime, the various filters of a vehicle can collect dust and debris, and if we don’t clean it out—we can end up breathing those particles in when we turn on the heating or air conditioning in the car. Prevent this unwanted hazard by making sure the air filters in your car are clean and clear.
- coolant (antifreeze) – When your car runs, the parts can get hot in temperature due to the consistent motion, friction, and movement of the vehicle. Coolant, or antifreeze helps keep the car at a normal temperature, so it doesn’t overheat. Most cars have a coolant, or temperature gauge on the dashboard—keep an eye on this and fill up your car with coolant when its low.
- Brakes – Brakes are definitely one of the most important features on your car—it can be literally life threatening to you or cars around you if your brakes are not functioning properly. Get them checked regularly, or immediately if you feel a change in how efficiently they stop the motion of your car.
Quick Tips for Saving Money on Car Maintenance
- Read the owner’s manual – this may seem like a basic tip, but not many people actually read the owner’s manual to their vehicle. You can miss some valuable information by not doing this. The owner’s manual to your vehicle has specific instructions to your individual car and can give you insight that no other source can.
- Use online resources when you can – If your car needs a basic repair or checkup, like an oil change, you can use online resources to help you perform the maintenance yourself instead of having to take your car into a shop. Save money by doing basic car maintenance on your own.
- Get a title loan – if your car needs lots of repair or maintenance, you might feel a bit overwhelmed when it comes to paying for it all. LoanMart car title loans can be a fast and convenient way to get some extra money for car maintenance1. Click here to find out more.