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Research has shown that car owners annually spend more than 25% —of the price of the new car —on maintenance costs. Besides, the annual number of car accidents has increased drastically. However, having a car maintenance schedule will free you from these unnecessary problems.
This article takes you through the process of taking good care of your car. It outlines what you should practice, enabling you to see your nice car for a longer duration.
After reading this article, you will be well-equipped — to comfortably avoid unnecessary disruptions —throughout your driving life.
Basic Car Maintenance Schedule You Should Follow
1. Every 3 to 7 Months
Ensure you replace the oil and oil filter, the coolant, the transmission fluid as well as the power steering fluid. This should take place after 3000 to 7000 miles. Read more below:
Oil and Oil Filter
Before you handle oil, ensure you have a pair of nitrile or latex gloves. These two will help maintain the cleanliness of your hands. There are 3 main types of oil to choose from. These include synthetic blend, conventional, or full synthetic— there also exist variations of high mileage.
In choosing the best oil type, you should adhere to the recommended oil viscosity of your car. The information on your car’s oil viscosity is available in the Owner’s Manual. Alternatively, you can find the information on the oil cap of your car’s engine.
As far as durability is concerned, synthetic oil is preferred over conventional oil. Again, conventional oil can withstand more extreme temperatures — heat and cold— than synthetic oil.
As you pay attention to the oil, you should consider swapping the oil filters too. Oil filters are very essential to your car’s engine. This is because oil filters lengthen the engine of your car. They do these by removing contaminants from the oil.
To change the oil; run the engine for some minutes. Then, drain out the old oil —for about 15 minutes. Follow closely by cleaning and returning in the drain plug. Next, clean the engine’s mating surface after ensuring that the filters are in place.
Finally, apply clean oil to fill the new filter gasket. You can check for leaks after determining the oil level.
Transmission fluid should be changed based on vehicle recommendations. If you can’t find that interval, every 30,000 miles is a safe bet. An automatic transmission that roughly shifts, slips or is noisy might also benefit from a transmission fluid change. A low fluid level can also cause these issues, so examine the level before you replace the fluid.
Depending on the manufacturer’s instructions, you should inspect—and possibly change— the transmission oil after 3 months. Once the automatic transmission begins to shift roughly, become noisy or slips, know that it is time to change the transmission fluid.
Here are steps to follow when replacing the transmission fluid:
After wearing gloves, turn on the car’s engine for 2 minutes. Then, drain the fluid for about 10 minutes. After this, reinstall as well as torque the drain plug. However, if your vehicle lacks a drain plug, remove the bolts followed by the pan to allow it to drain completely.
Get rid of the old gasket material from mating surfaces of the transmission pan. Next, remove O-ring and the old filter. Insert the new filter into the transmission; in the same position as the old one. Then, fix the new gasket.
Using the long funnel, fill the transmission with the recommended amount and type of fluid. For transmissions that lack dipsticks, you may have to fit a hose between the funnel and the fill opening.
Whenever you run your car’s engine, the antifreeze chemicals do significant tasks. The fluid gets pumped — through the car’s engine — to maintain the required temperature and prevent corrosion of the engine.
Regular change (between 3 and 7months) of the coolant is significant since failure to do so leads to the ineffectiveness of the antifreeze chemicals. When changing the engine coolant, it is recommended that you strictly follow the Owner’s Manual for specific guidelines.
Power Steering Fluid
Replace the power steering fluid after every 3000 to 7000 miles. Follow the guidelines below:
Locate the fluid reservoir or pump of the power steering. The pump is within the accessories of the engine. Search for and remove a cap that possesses a steering wheel symbol or one that reads something such as “Power Steering Fluid Only.”
After this, run the fluid out of the reservoir to the catch can. Once the fluid cannot be siphoned further, get inside the car then turn the key accessories followed by turning the wheel lock to lock. The pump will push dirty fluid to the reservoir. Siphon the dirty fluid out to the can.
Into the neck of the power steering reservoir, pour in power steering fluid. Switch on the cap then turn the accessories’ key. Make the wheel lock to lock once more. Then, check and add more fluid.
Restart the engine for about 15 seconds, switching the lock to lock. examine the fluid level to ensure air has escaped from the system. Drive for five minutes, as you take some turns while paying attention to the whine of the power steering pump. For the last time, examine the fluid. In case it is at the line of “Full Hot” on the dipstick, then the process is successful.
2. Every 15 to 30 Months
Apart from checking on the coolant of the car, it is necessary to monitor the air filter, battery as well as the fuel filter, between periods of 15000 to 30000 miles.
Clogging up of air filters stops the heater as well as the air conditioner. You need to regularly check the cabin air filter before examining the AC system. This is crucial as well as prior to taking your car for repairs due to cooling system damages— failure to which you may end up paying for repairs which are not necessary.
During the maintenance, it is not enough to clean then reinstall a soiled air filter. Instead, you should replace it.
A healthy battery reflects a well-functioning engine. This is why regular maintenance for a battery is necessary.
You should carry out one or all of the following during the maintenance schedule:
- Clean the battery terminals
- Monitor electrolyte level
- Inspect the condition of the battery as well as the charge of the battery. In examining the charge, use either a hydrometer or a multimeter
- Replace an old battery.
I guess you hate a coughing engine as I do. Besides, you won’t wait till your car’s engine completely breaks down. These are defects that arise from a clogged fuel filter.
For this reason, it becomes necessary to regularly maintain the fuel filter. The manual should dictate the length of time you can use the car without replacing its fuel filter. However, many of the Owner Manuals require you to change the filter after 24000 to 30000 miles — that’s between 2.5 years and 3yrs.
3. Every 35 Months to 50 Months
Suspension and Ignition System
A suspension means all parts of your car that makes it possible to connect to the road. Read more on the parts and how to schedule maintenance for them:
- Wheels and Wheel Bearings: Noise from the wheels while driving indicates worn-out wheel bearings. On average, a sealed wheel lasts for 85000 miles to 100000 miles. With regular maintenance of 3.5 to 5 years, some can even last for 150000 miles (12.5 years).
- Shocks and Struts: Unstable steering, delayed braking, fluid leaks, and too much bounce are not admirable signs. To avoid such, a regular check after 35000 miles to 50000 miles is necessary.
- Coil Springs: These buffer the road and the car while absorbing and storing energy. When your car begins to drop or sag, it means the time to replace the coils has come.
- Ball Joints and Tie Rod Ends: They join the wheels and the steering linkage. A clunking sound —while moving on bumps —indicates that the tie rods and the ball joints need to be replaced.
- Stabilizer Bars and Brushings: The moment you begin to realize that your steering is loose and sloppy in handling is the moment you know the stabilizer bars should be replaced. This mostly occurs after every 40 000 miles.
Additionally, you should inspect as well as replace the spark plugs and their wires, and the ignition system. This should occur after 40000 miles. Again, you should redo the checks after 45000 miles to 50000 miles.
4. Every 5 Years
If you want smooth drives, you should consider changing the brake pads and fluids, radiator hoses, the coolant, power steering fluid as well as the timing belt. This, you should carry out after every 60000 miles of the drive.
Brake Pads and Fluids
Use this guide to change the brake pads during the maintenance schedule:
First, buy Ceramic brake pads that give you the best feel and a very long protection fade of brakes. To take off the lugs with a ratchet, you have to loosen them. Then raise the wheels to expose the nuts of the lug. As soon as the wheel is off, let go of the parking brake. Next, raise the car, followed by loosening the caliper. Then, remove the carrier of the caliper.
After this, remove the rotor by hammering it. Then, install a new motor after removing the rust. Use a lug nut as well as an open-ended wrench to fix it. Again, you should wipe off the oil from the packing residue using a brake cleaner. Next, assemble the Carrier.
When all these are done, compress the caliper using a C-Clamp plus one of the old pads of the brake. Using anti-squeal grease, install the pads and the caliper. Finally, put back the wheels. After this, you can replace the brake fluids using the instructions from the Owner’s Manual.
Follow these steps to replace the hose:
- Put the car in N-Mode or P-Mode.
- Remove the radiator’s pressure cap followed by placing a drain pan under the valve of the radiator drain.
- Open the valve of the drain.
- Collect the coolant in the container then close the valve.
- Take off the clamps. This should be at both ends of the hose.
- Remove the hose by twisting it.
- Clean the fittings then install a radiator new hose.
- Restart the engine then add more water to the coolant when the level drops below the minimum.
- Replace the pressure cap then run the engine as well as checking that no leaks are taking place.
The best way to make the timing belts remain forever new is simple; buy a new car and park it. You will do that, won’t you? I bet your guess is as good as mine; nobody buys a car to keep but to drive. What do these say about the timing belt?
As long as your car is in motion, it will produce heat. A hot engine makes the timing belt to lose its strength and texture. Consequently, the belt becomes snapped with time. Then, the belt breaks.
Due to irregular or lack of maintenance, the timing belt will always break. It wears and tears since it is made of rubber. For this reason, the belt is regularly maintained as well as replaced after 60000 miles of usage.
Replacing a timing belt is simple. Every step is outlined in the Owner’s Manual that comes from the manufacturer of the car.
These are some of the steps you can undertake to care for your car. However, sometimes you will have to replace parts of your car instantly or before 3 months. This will depend on the fragility of such parts or exposure to risks.
Most cars will obey the schedule as they wear out. So, if you too strictly follow the above schedule, you are guaranteed a healthy car, throughout your driving life.