Admit it. You hate taking your car into the shop, especially when you don’t absolutely have to. But maintenance is a necessary pain that we all have to endure if we’re going to get our money’s worth out of our cars. Here’s a list of the 4 most critical car maintenance services you should stay on top of.
1. Oil Change. Having your oil changed on a regular basis is the most important thing you can do to ensuring your car lasts a long time. Without regular oil changes, you run the risk of damaging expensive engine parts. Oil changes are relatively inexpensive, and wind up being incredibly inexpensive when compared to replacing a seized up engine. Take your car in for an oil change roughly every 3,000 to 7,500 miles.
2. Tire Rotation. Replacing your tires can be expensive, especially if you drive an SUV or a sporty car. But regardless of what kind of vehicle you own, proper tire maintenance is essential to keeping you on the road and out of a ditch somewhere. When you rotate your tires, you ensure that they wear evenly and you get the maximum mileage out of them. Likewise, keeping your tire pressure at the recommended setting cuts back on drag and helps you get better gas mileage. But beware – overinflating your tires can be dangerous and can cause them to blow out or separate. Check your air pressure monthly, and have your tires rotated every 5,000 to 10,000 miles.
3. Brake Checks. Your car’s brakes should be replaced on average every 20,000 to 30,000 miles. But just because you’re nowhere near this mark doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have them checked. Do this regularly, as your car’s braking power is the number one safety essential when you’re driving. If you’re hearing squealing sounds or are feeling vibrations when you brake, this is clear indication you need someone to check them out. As a best practice, always ask your mechanic to check the remaining depth of your brake pads every time you have your tires rotated.
4. Fluid Checks. The fluids that exist under your hood are there to keep your car chugging along, and if they run dry you could find yourself totally out of commission, with a huge repair bill to boot. The types of fluids your engine requires are numerous – everything from transmission fluid to engine coolant to brake fluid – and should be checked and topped off every single time you take your car in for any work.
Getting your car serviced is a lot like going to the dentist every six months to get your teeth cleaned. You hate going, but you feel great once it’s done. And you smile a lot more. So get your car into your local shop and take care of business. If your car could talk, it would thank you. And it would probably also smile back.