How Often Should You Really Take Your Car In for Service?

There is no doubt that car maintenance is essential for the good health of your vehicle. When you neglect to maintain it, you’ll have an old, run-down car sooner than you think!

The pandemic caused countless vehicles to sit around doing nothing, and maintenance was the furthest thing from people’s minds.

man refilling motor oil on car engine bay
Car Service / Photo by Tim Mossholder

But now that people are going back to work, the vehicles need attention. It’s not pleasant to be rushing to work and have a car issue mid-drive.

On the other hand, you probably don’t want to be slapped with a repair bill at this time either.

Continue reading to find out how often you should take your car in for service.

The 30-60-90 Service Intervals

It’s standard for mechanics to recommend that you take in your vehicle for scheduled servicing at 30,000, 60,000, and 90,000 miles.

This may be a tried and true formula in some circles, but Consumer Reports say there is no need to rush your car in after those milages since a well-maintained vehicle can go way beyond those landmarks in milage.

3-6-9-12 Service Intervals

Advance Auto Parts has their own tutorial advising owners of vehicles on how to maintain between the long intervals of 30-60-90. You check for different things at 3,000 miles, 6,000 miles, 9,000 miles and 12,000 miles.

Batteries, belts and cables after three months and 3,000 miles. Fluids like transmission and windshield washer fluids are checked at six months and 6,000 miles. Power steering and lights at nine months and 9,000 miles, while coolant and tires are checked annually.

NOTE: You can certainly still maneuver yourself through these schedules unless a problem develops.

Drive Your Vehicle Once Per Week

If you have not yet gone back to work, be sure to drive your car at least for 10 minutes per week or every two weeks.

It may not seem like maintenance, but since a car was made to be driven, not driving means deterioration.

The parts are ceasing as they get no motor oil, the tires deflate, your battery can die and your gas tank corrodes.

Oil Every 5000-10,000 Miles

Since the advent of engine efficiency over the past several years and improvements in fuel injection and oil quality, there is no need to follow the standard procedure of changing oil every 3,000 miles. Instead, the currently manufactured cars need to traverse 5,000 to 10,000 miles before getting an oil change.

Air Filter Every 15,000 Miles

This is a DIY task unless you prefer to leave it to the pros. Whatever you do, the air filter is critical to the vehicle’s well-being and should be changed every 30,000 miles. If you reside in an environment polluted by dust, however, you should change the filter every 15,000 miles.

Fuel Filter Every 30,000 Miles

Like the air filter, the fuel filter is just as critical. If the fuel filter suffers from corrosion, your engine is in trouble. Get a mechanic to tell you the shape of the fuel filter with a pressure test and replace it every 30,000 miles.

Fluids Every 30,000 Miles

Apart from other critical fluids mentioned before, the other fluids are critical- maintenance liquids to keep your vehicle intact.

It would help if you changed fluids like brake, coolants, power steering and transmission every 30,000 miles.

You will also need to drain and replace these fluids, so it’s not a do-it-yourself project unless you really know what you are doing.

Change Spark Plugs Every 40,000 Miles

If you drive slightly below standard conditions, you can go up to 40,000 miles without changing your plugs. Older vehicles and specialty vehicles may need a change at about 20,000 miles. However, the new, modern vehicles can traverse up to 120,000 miles with their original spark plugs.

Brakes Every 50-60,000 Miles

An excellent pair of brake pads and shoes ought to last for 50,000 miles. However, you can take them in before that time to see what type of servicing they need. If they begin to screech and make odd sounds, you need a change!

Replace Your Battery Every Five Years

Usually, in this day and age, a battery maintains a full charge until the day it dies. That can happen on the freeway or in an ally after five years–a dead battery is no respecter of person or place.

But that’s after five years, according to AutoZone, and they recommend you change at that point, even if the batter still seems strong. It will die suddenly on you! Also, after three years or so, you should get a mechanic to randomly -test your battery.

Change Tires Every Six Years

If the treading is showing on your tires, that’s generally a stark indication that you should change them before you have an accident, like a blowout! Five years is the recommended time frame, but it could be less, depending on your location and environment, like bad roads.

Also, it doesn’t matter the tires’ condition or the mileage on them; chemical compounds in tires break down from they are in use. So, even if they appear to be in good condition, they must go by the 6th year.

Consumables When They Fail

The so-called consumables such as rubber gaskets, windshield wipers and hoses, will just fail when they have done their due diligence over the years.

They are critical to the vehicle’s well-being, but they go at irregular times. CarGurus notes that there is no hard and fast way to tell when these items are going and when to replace them.

So, if you notice any drop in functionality or are at a mechanic and notice any wear and tear, you should make the changes.

Happy car, happy life

Whatever you drive, big or small, old or new, take care of it, for it’s taking care of you. You can now take note of your mileage and do your maintenance accordingly.

Garry L. Hemphill
Garry L. Hemphill

My mission is to help people discover their dreams and take action to make them a reality. I specialize in creating content that motivates, educates, and inspires others to pursue their passions with purpose.

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