Times are changing, and that goes for car maintenance too! Some over-enthusiastic drivers make sure their car maintenance is completed at certain mileage intervals, on the dot, while others wait until several thousand miles over the recommended time period or completely ignore the flashing engine light on the dashboard altogether. Neither scenario is appropriate to today’s vehicles, which require much less maintenance than previously but still require regularly scheduled maintenance to perform at their peak.
The best way to determine your car’s needs, and also save time and money, is simply to check the owner’s manual. Each car comes with a pre-determined maintenance schedule specific to the model’s requirements. Since we understand it is highly unrealistic to expect every driver to read their vehicle’s manual, we offer the below tips to help keep you safe, your car running smoothly, and save you some expensive headaches:
- Check Your Tire Pressure Twice a Year – Improperly inflated tires wear out quicker and kill your mpg. Make sure they are at the correct pressure and also have them rotated to even out the wear and tear.
- Change Your Windshield Wipers – Summer heat can destroy your wipers making it very difficult to see through fall and winter’s nasty weather.
- Forget Tune-Ups – Stick to the big 60 and 120 thousand mile service visits but forget about those in-between visits as most vehicle parts and systems no longer require minor adjustments.
- Premium Fuel is Not Better – Use the octane recommended for your engine. Higher octane fuel will not increase your mpg or give you more power; it will just cost you more.
- Update Your Oil Change Schedule – The 3000 mile rule generally no longer applies. Many newer cars have a sensor that tells you when to change the oil. If not, check the owner’s manual for the optimal distance between oil changes, which can range all the way up to 15,000 miles.
- Change Your Tires – The best way to assess the need for new tires is to check with a mechanic. Some conditions make tires wear down faster, while others don’t, but bald tires with no tread are unsafe no matter what conditions.
- Pay Attention to Your Air Filter – Dirty air filters will decrease your fuel economy and cost you money. Follow the recommended schedule, unless you drive through polluted cities or on dirt roads often, as these conditions will wear out the filter twice as fast.
- Listen to Your Brakes – Anything out of the ordinary needs to be seen by a mechanic, ASAP.
- Don’t Ignore a Loose Gas Cap – This will trigger the check engine light. So, tighten it before seeking help.
- Use the Garage – Garages are great for storage, but even better as protection for your car. Decrease the likelihood of damage by keeping your second most valuable investment safely parked inside, especially during bad weather.
Have questions about the appropriate maintenance schedule for your particular car or need to have service performed? Call us today or visit us online to schedule an appointment with our Service Department.