PREVENTIVE MAINTENANCE

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Car Care Aware

Courtesy of the Automotive Service Association

According to recent studies, 5 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities are clearly caused by automobile maintenance neglect. The following simple and inexpensive preventive checks will greatly extend the life of the vehicle, ensure safer operation and even benefit the environment.

Always consult your owner's manual for individual service schedules because maintenance requirements vary by manufacturer.

  • Always consult your owner's manual, but a good rule of thumb is to have the oil filter changed regularly - every 3,000 to 4,000 miles.
  • Have all fluids checked, including brake, power steering, transmission/transaxle, windshield washer solvent and antifreeze. These fluids play a large role in the safety and performance of the vehicle.
  • Check tire inflation. Under-inflated tires can result in a loss of fuel efficiency. This is the least expensive form of preventive and safety maintenance. Tires should be checked once a month.
  • Keep your engine tuned. A fouled spark plug or plugged/restricted fuel injector can reduce fuel efficiency by as much as 30 percent.
  • Have the chassis lubricated frequently. This step extends the life of the moving components of the vehicle's suspension system.
  • Check battery cables and posts for corrosion and clean them as needed. The battery fluid also should be checked and filled if it is low, unless it is a maintenance-free battery.
  • Have the lighting system checked frequently, including headlights, turn signals, and brake and taillights.
  • Check windshield washer blades for cracks, tears and windshield contact. Replace them at least once a year, or sooner if streaking begins.
  • Inspect engine belts regularly. Worn belts will affect the engine performance. Look for cracks and missing sections or segments.
  • Have the air filtration system checked frequently. The air filter should be checked every other oil change for clogging or damage. This system ensures that the vehicle is performing at its peak condition.
Service Interval Schedule:

Vehicle System or Component

Check Monthly

Check Every 3,000 Miles

Automatic Transmission Fluid


Battery and Cables


Belts


Brakes and Brake Fluid


Cabin Air Filter


Chassis Lubrication


Check Engine Light On


Coolant (Antifreeze)


Engine Air Filter


Engine Oil and Filter

Exhaust


Fuel Filter


Hoses


Lights


Power Steering Fluid


Shock Absorbers and Struts


Tire Inflation and Condition


Windshield Washer Fluid


Wiper Blades


Associations

  • ASE (Automotive Service Excellence)
  • Jasper
  • Parts Plus
  • ALL-DATA
  • Car Care Aware

Vehicle Tips

  • According to recent studies, 5 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities are clearly caused by automobile maintenance neglect.
  • The cooling system should be completely flushed and refilled about every 24 months. The level, condition, and concentration of coolant should be checked. (A 50/50 mix of anti-freeze and water is usually recommended.)
  • Never remove the radiator cap until the engine has thoroughly cooled. The tightness and condition of drive belts, clamps and hoses should be checked by a pro.
  • Change your oil and oil filter as specified in your manual, or more often (every 3,000 miles) if you make frequent short jaunts, extended trips with lots of luggage or tow a trailer.
  • Replace other filters (air, fuel, PCV, etc.) as recommended, or more often in dusty conditions. Get engine drivability problems (hard stops, rough idling, stalling, diminished power, etc.) corrected at a good shop.
  • A dirty windshield causes eye fatigue and can pose a safety hazard. Replace worn blades and get plenty of windshield washer solvent.
  • Have your tires rotated about every 5,000 miles. Check tire pressures once a month; let the tires cool down first. Don't forget your spare and be sure your jack is in good condition.
  • Check your owner's manual to find out what fuel octane rating your car's engine needs then buy it.
  • Keep your tires inflated to the proper levels. Under-inflated tires make it harder for your car to move down the road, which means your engine uses more fuel to maintain speed.
  • Lighten the load. Heavier vehicles use more fuel, so clean out unnecessary weight in the passenger compartment or trunk before you hit the road.
  • Use the A/C sparingly. The air conditioner puts extra load on the engine forcing more fuel to be used.
  • Keep your windows closed. Wide-open windows, especially at highway speeds, increase aerodynamic drag and the result is up to a 10% decrease in fuel economy.
  • Avoid long idling. If you anticipate being stopped for more than one minute, shut off the car. Contrary to popular belief, restarting the car uses less fuel than letting it idle.
  • Stay within posted speed limits. The faster you drive, the more fuel you use. For example, driving at 65 miles per hour (mph) rather than 55 mph, increases fuel consumption by 20 percent.
  • Use cruise control. Using cruise control on highway trips can help you maintain a constant speed and, in most cases, reduce your fuel consumption.
  • Keep your engine tuned. A fouled spark plug or plugged/restricted fuel injector can reduce fuel efficiency as much as 30 percent.
  • Inspect the engine's belts regularly. Look for cracks or missing sections or segments. Worn belts will affect the engine performance.
  • Have the fuel filter changed every 10,000 miles to prevent rust, dirt and other impurities from entering the fuel system.
  • Change the transmission fluid and filter every 15,000 to 18,000 miles. This will protect the precision-crafted components of the transmission/transaxle.
  • Inspect the suspension system regularly. This will extend the life of the vehicle's tires.