In order for your car to last, you need to perform regular upkeep. Aside from necessary repairs, auto maintenance will make the difference between a car that offers valuable service for many years, and one that gives up the ghost ahead of its time. Unfortunately, many people are unfamiliar with the basics of car maintenance. Aside from regular oil changes, the average driver simply uses their car until major repair needs appear. Aside from the expense involved with this, you also have to consider the inconvenience of losing your vehicle until the repairs get conducted.
With regular auto maintenance, you can avoid this unfortunate scenario. The prevention of major repairs represents the whole purpose of maintenance. In order to perform this service for your vehicle, however, you must know what maintenance entails. Even if you merely plan to drop your vehicle off with a mechanic, you must at least know the recommended maintenance schedule for your vehicle. At West Side Tire & Automotive, we’re happy to educate drivers on the needs of their vehicles. If you ever need auto maintenance in Jersey City, NJ, give us a call at __PHONE__ to set an appointment.
Car Maintenance vs Repair
Maintenance and repair cover different needs for a vehicle. In order to properly care for your car, you must know how to distinguish between these, and when to pursue one or the other. Essentially, maintenance represents a required service for the upkeep of your vehicle. Repairs, on the other hand, become necessary when your car ceases to function properly. If you do not perform necessary maintenance, then you will need to deal with repairs. The downside of this, aside from the inconvenience of a malfunctioning vehicle, is that repairs generally cost much more than maintenance. As as a vehicle ages and issues become more frequent, you will also need to consider the money and time spent on auto repair, and whether it’s worth the continued investment.
Every car has its own maintenance requirements. To learn about the specific maintenance schedule for your vehicle, you simply need to check your owner’s manual. You will likely find a list of maintenance necessary at the achievement of certain mileage milestones. These particular requirements aside, there exists standard maintenance procedures that all vehicles require.
Standard Car Maintenance Checklist
As mentioned above, your owner’s manual will state the specific maintenance requirements of your vehicle. It will also likely make recommendations for standard car maintenance. Oil changes stand as the most well-known piece of standard auto maintenance. While indispensable, oil changes do not cover all the maintenance needs of a vehicle. A list of standard maintenance procedures would include attention to the following components:
- Oil Changes
- Fuel Filter
- Power-Steering Fluid
- Timing Belts and Engine Belts
- Spark Plugs
Car Maintenance Tips
Oil Changes: At the top of any maintenance list, oil changes should occur either every 3,000 miles, or every three months, dependent on how much you drive. Oil changes performed at these intervals ensure the smooth operation of a car.
Fluids: Whenever you get your oil changed, have the mechanic make sure that all of your car’s vital fluids are topped off. If one seems low, make sure to have it refilled. If this appears as a recurrent problem, you likely have a leak. Take care that your fluids never fall too low, as it creates the risk for serious damage.
Filters: The various filters in your car include your air filter, fuel filter, oil filter, and the emission valve and filter. Each of these performs a vital function for your vehicle, and should be replaced every 15,000 to 30,000 miles.
Tires: Every once in awhile, check your tires to make sure they have the proper level of air pressure. You should also have them rotated every 6,000 miles.
Spark Plugs: Spark plug maintenance is infrequent, but absolutely necessary. Every 100,000 miles, you will need to have them replaced. If you don’t, their failure will prevent your vehicle from functioning.
Belts and Hoses: These crucial elements have different lifespans, so check your owner’s manual for the recommended maintenance procedures. Never skip belt or hose replacement, as their failure can leave you with a large repair bill.
Battery: If you drive your vehicle regularly, you will actually preserve the function of your battery. If this seems counter-intuitive, consider that the battery charges itself through operation. Most batteries will last for around 5 to 7 years.
Brakes: A grinding noise when you brake indicates a need for immediate service. On average, you will need to have your brake pads replaced every 50,000 to 70,000 miles. Your brakes may also need more significant service at some point, such as the repair or replacement of a brake master cylinder.
When Should I Do Maintenance on My Car?
As stated above, the various elements of your vehicle require maintenance at different intervals. You will also find a detailed maintenance schedule for your particular vehicle in the owner’s manual. Aside from the standard maintenance discussed above, you should also perform a few pieces of seasonal maintenance. The changing seasons create unique demands on a vehicle, and it will serve you well to get prepared.
Car Maintenance for Winter: In the winter, you’ll want to pay particular attention to your battery, as it will struggle in especially cold weather. You should also consider the replacement of your wiper blades, as old ones will have difficulty dealing with ice and snow. Winter is also a good time to get new tires. When the roads become slick, you don’t want to have a set of balding tires that cannot properly grip the pavement.
Car Maintenance for Summer: For summer, you’ll want to pay particular attention to your cooling system, which needs flushing at intervals defined in the car owner’s manual. Also, regardless of your maintenance habits, summer represents the season when most cars have repair issues. This occurs for the simple reason that people tend to drive their cars more in the summer, and extreme heat can put a lot of stress on a vehicle. To prepare for the worst, make sure your car has an emergency kit. A kit should include non-perishable food, water, jumper cables, road flares, a flashlight, a first aid kit, and basic tools.
Auto Maintenance FAQ
What Maintenance Does My Car Need?
A vehicle needs a variety of maintenance procedures to ensure proper operation. Standard maintenance includes oil changes, tire rotation, the refill of fluids, filter changes, and reviews of elements like belts and hoses. To learn the details of your particular vehicle’s maintenance needs, you must check the owner’s manual.
How Often Are You Supposed to Get Your Car Serviced?
The different types of maintenance become necessary at widely different intervals. For example, oil changes should occur every 3,000 miles, while brake pad replacement should happen every 50,000 to 70,000. As a general rule, you should have your filters, fluids, belts, and hoses checked every time you have an oil change.
What Is the Most Important Car Maintenance?
All vehicle maintenance is required for the proper function of your vehicle. In terms of overall importance, however, you should prioritize oil changes, tire pressure checks, and brake pad replacement.
How Can I Keep My Car Well Maintained?
The simplest way to accomplish proper car maintenance is to adhere to the recommendations in the owner’s manual. You can alternately make your own schedule to keep on your phone. You will also want to remain aware of any odd noises, smells, or drips from your vehicle. These indicators typically reveal the need for maintenance or repairs.
For help with any type of auto maintenance in Jersey City, NJ, call __PHONE__ for the team at West Side Tire & Automotive. We’re the premier mechanics in our regional, and we prioritize customer service over everything else. When it comes to your vehicle, you can count on our careful, thorough, and honest service.