Are you someone who regularly takes your car to the shop for oil changes and diagnostics? Surprisingly, not everyone abides by the suggestion of routine maintenance and then they end up with costly vehicle repairs. Maintenance is a required part of owning a vehicle and shouldn’t be overlooked.
Here are 5 things you should look into frequently for your car.
1. Oil Changes
As simple as it sounds, you need to change the oil in your car on a frequent basis. Most shops will recommend every 3,000 to 5,000 miles depending on where you drive. If you do a lot of inner-city driving, you will need to stick closer to the 3,000 mark. And if you are mostly commuting and gathering highway miles, you will want to get your oil changed every 5,000 miles. Regular oil changes are must as engine oil keeps your car running smoothly. Be sure to get the right oil weight recommended for your car (by the manufacturer) or ask your service professional for suggestions.
2. Brake Repairs
Your brakes are bound to have issues if you drive your car a lot. The most common issue is with pads and rotors, which should be replaced every few years (again, this depends on how much you drive). If you feel like your vehicle is struggling to stop right away, you’ll want to take the car to your local shop for an inspection. Brakes are a major safety factor and can impact other drivers, so it is critical for you to stay on top of your brake repairs.
3. Tire Rotation & Balancing
Just as important to safety are your car’s tires. First and foremost, be sure your tires have plenty of tread on them. You may need more tread on your tires depending on where you live and if you drive in the weather a lot. As far as regular maintenance goes, you’ll want to balance and rotate your tires every 5,000 miles. This keeps the vehicle in balance and ensures the tires are used evenly. Consider replacing your tires every 50,000 to 60,000 miles or ask your local shop for guidance.
4. Smogging & Emissions
In states like California, your vehicle must pass an annual smog check. This is referred to as an emissions test in other states but indicates the same thing – how many pollutants the car expels into the environment. While this is only required on an annual basis, you’ll want to keep this maintained to pass the state check and to keep your car healthy. Some shops work exclusively on smog checks and can help with recommendations should the vehicle fail the test.
5. Safety Lights
Finally, when it comes to routine vehicle maintenance, you need to be sure all of your safety lights work. These lights include your headlamps, interior lights and brake / tail lights. Because these lamps all have a safety implication, you need to be sure all bulbs are well lit and working properly at all times. Failure to properly illuminate your vehicle could lead to accidents with other drivers and can lead to a ticket from the highway patrol.
Maintenance is part of owning and operating a vehicle. While your local shop might suggest a few different things to keep your car running healthy, these 5 areas are the most critical. Keep these suggestions in mind and keep your car running to its best ability.