Thousands of kilometres on the road wear down your car’s parts. A proper maintenance schedule can help you avoid costly repairs and inconvenient breakdowns. Here are 13 things you should regularly check.
Being a responsible car owner means sticking to a car maintenance schedule. Why? Because the better care you take of your car, the longer it’ll last and the less trouble it’ll give you.
Basic guidelines to follow
When it comes to a schedule, most car experts agree that:
- Regular oil and oil filter services are very important. You should plan for this at least every 5,000–10,000 km or every three months.
- Tune-ups are essential. They ensure your spark plugs, filters and hoses are clean, intact and can do their job. Each piece varies in the amount of time between replacements and depends upon your car’s make and model. A rule of thumb is every 60,000–100,000 km for spark plugs and every 80,000–100,000 km for the belts and hoses.
- An air filter replacement is recommended every 20,000–30,000 km. Fuel filter replacement is recommended only every 50,000–100,000 km.
- Get your car’s timing belt changed every four or five years. If it ever breaks, replace it immediately.
- Add a fuel system additive or cleaner every 5,000-10,000 km. It can help improve your engine’s performance.
- Have your lights and tire pressure checked monthly. This is something you can do yourself.
- A tire rotation and brake inspection should happen at every other oil change or every 10,000 km. They are your main point of contact with the road and it is vital both are in top shape.
- Flush the cooling system every three years or 80,000-100,000 km. Have it checked for leaks, blockages, contamination, and corrosion/oxidation issues.
- Have the brake fluid flushed every two years. This will ensure your brake system is working properly.
- A power steering system flush is recommended at least every 50,000 km.
- Plan on a manual transmission fluid change at least every 50,000 km.
- Change the automatic transmission fluid and filter. Although when you should do it varies, it’s a good idea not to go over 100,000 km without one.
- It’s recommended you get single or double clutch automated manual transmission fluid changes or differential fluid service every 50,000 km. Around the same time you get the manual transmission fluid changed.
Refer to your owner’s manual or manufacturer
If you’re unsure when your car my need maintenance, check your owner’s manual or manufacturer’s website for specifics that pertain to your make and model. Your regular mechanic may also be able to tell you. If you notice any emergency lights come on, hear any strange noises or smell anything unusual coming from your car, it goes without saying you may want to take it to your local garage.