Preventative Maintenance 101: The Benefits of Keeping Your Car Up to Date
A vehicle is an investment and should be treated as such. After all, the average new car price has hit above $48,000, going to show how rising prices have changed how vehicles should be viewed. To ensure you make the most out of your purchase by keeping your vehicle running for years and out of accidents, all drivers should be taking care of preventative maintenance on a regular basis.
What is Preventative Maintenance?
To those unfamiliar with the term, preventative maintenance is simply the act of handling regular maintenance tasks on your vehicle on a consistent basis in order to reduce the risk of serious breakdowns or mechanical failures. Generally speaking, preventative maintenance is based off three factors: age, condition, and usage.
As your vehicle continues to age, the types of maintenance that need to be performed will change as well. Likewise, depending on how much strain you are putting on your vehicle, the required maintenance stemming from its condition and amount of use will change as well.
Benefits of Preventative Maintenance
Taking care of preventative maintenance tasks may seem like a chore, but there are a number of key benefits that this can provide:
- The avoidance of major repair costs in the future
- A mechanic can spot serious problems under the hood before they become worse
- The overall safety of your vehicle will be maintained
- Your car will be running in its peak condition
- The value of your car will be higher if you ever decide to sell it
- You will get longer use out of that vehicle
With these primary benefits of preventative maintenance outlined, it’s worth noting that this form of maintenance will change on a car-by-car basis. However, below are some of the most common preventative maintenance tasks a driver should handle.
5 Common Preventative Maintenance Tasks to Handle
- Oil and filter changes
One of the most common types of maintenance a driver needs to perform is an oil and filter change. If the engine of your vehicle is its heart, oil is the blood. Serving as a lubricant for the metal parts in the engine, oil keeps everything running and even scrapes away built up dirt. In the past, oil needed to be changed every 3,000 miles, but most manufacturers now recommend replacing oil and the air filter every 7,500-10,000 miles on average.
- Scheduled maintenance
All vehicles come with a recommended maintenance schedule outlined by the manufacturer of the vehicle. The common intervals for maintenance include 10,000, 20,000, 35,000, and 50,000-miles, but these will vary by vehicle. Refer to your owner’s manual to handle these scheduled maintenance tasks when they arise, as you may actually lose your manufacturer’s warranty if you don’t.
- Tire rotations and replacements
One of the biggest dangers to tires is road defects that can damage your vehicle while driving. These potholes and other defects can throw off your tires and the suspension of your vehicle. That’s why getting your tires rotated, or replaced if necessary, at regular intervals is so important. Most experts recommend rotating your tires every 5,000 to 7,500 miles and replacing them every six years as a general rule of thumb.
- Replacing the battery
While car batteries should last anywhere from three to five years from the time they are installed, you shouldn’t hesitate to replace them after this amount of time. A battery can technically die at any time, which means you could be left stranded if you don’t have jumper cables and somebody to call.
- Topping off fluids under the hood
Finally, there are a large number of fluids under the hood of your car that need to be topped off every once in a while, beyond just oil. Transmission fluid, windshield wiper fluid, brake fluid, and coolant are just a few common examples. You should refer to your owner’s manual to see the specific interval at which you should be topping these fluids off.
Protect yourself and your car on the road
In an ideal world, a vehicle will last you for somewhere between five to ten years. However, repetitive breakdowns or a car accident can mean a new car is required, which will cost a large sum of money. Preventative maintenance helps to reduce the risk of both breakdowns and accidents by refreshing the parts under the hood of your car and by identifying mechanical issues before they become more serious. Don’t hesitate to take your vehicle to a qualified mechanic for maintenance the next time it’s due.