Preventive maintenance helps extend the life of your vehicle. It is always better (and cheaper!) to replace components before they break or wear out. Regular maintenance on your car or truck will save you money in the long run, and helps ensure that your vehicle is operating safely. These service items need to be inspected and/or replaced on a regular basis.
Air Filter – Cabin
The cabin air filter is inside the passenger compartment. They remove allergens and dust from outside air to keep your ventilation system clean. These filters need to be replaced annually, or more often in areas with heavy airborne contaminants. If your car or truck’s heater or air conditioner is not working as well as it used to, a clogged cabin air filter might be the problem.
Air Filter – Engine
Your engine’s air filter keeps dirt and dust out of your vehicle’s engine. Inspect the engine air filter at each oil change. Replace annually, or when torn, water or oil soaked, clogged, or showing other signs of wear.
Automatic Transmission Fluid
Check fluid level with engine running and transmission in park or neutral (according to manufacturer specification). If fluid is low, add the manufacturer-specified type of automatic transmission fluid. Learn more about Transmission Repairs
Noise in the belt system is a sign of wear. Check serpentine and V-belts for looseness and condition. Check all components in the serpentine system. Inspect tensioners and pulleys. Replace serpentine at 60,000 to 90,000 miles. Replace V-belts when cracked, frayed, glazed, or showing signs of excessive wear – typically 40,000 – 60,000 miles. Replace timing belt according to manufacturer specification.
Automotive hoses should be inspected at each oil change. Replace a hose when it is leaking, brittle, cracked, rusted, swollen, or clogged.
Battery and Cables
Your car or truck’s battery should be securely mounted. The battery connections should be clean, tight, and free of corrosion. If your battery is three years old or more, it should be tested and replaced, if necessary. Learn more about your vehicle’s Electrical System
Check the entire brake system every year, including brake pads, shoes, rotors, drums, calipers and brake fluid. Brake fluid should be changed every 24,000 – 36,000 miles, or as specified by manufacturer. Learn more about Brake Repairs
Many newer cars are lubed for life, but some still require this service. Steering and suspension components may also require periodic lubrication.
Never open a hot radiator cap! When engine is cool, check coolant level at reservoir. If reservoir is low, and a 50/50 mix of approved antifreeze and distilled water. If reservoir level drops again, your cooling system should be checked for leaks.
Change coolant according to the manufacturer’s recommended schedule, using their recommended coolant fluid.
Engine Oil and Filter
You should regularly inspect your vehicle’s oil level, and take prompt action if your dashboard Oil Level indicator light illuminates. Your vehicle’s engine oil and filter need to be changed regularly, though industry recommendations about how frequently are evolving.
Historically, the industry recommended oil and filter changes every 3,000 to 5,000 miles. But innovative formulations such as AMSOIL can greatly extend the life of your engine oil, and modern manufacturer recommendations vary. How often SHOULD you change your oil?
If you hear an unusual noise, visually inspect your exhaust system for leaks, damage, and broken supports or hangers. Exhaust leaks can be dangerous, and must be promptly corrected.
Lights: Head Lights, Tail Lights, Turn Signals
You should frequently check your head lights, tail lights, brake lights, and turn signal lights. Burned out bulbs should be replaced immediately. Note that if several bulbs simultaneously stop functioning, the problem may be a fuse. Learn more about your vehicle’s Electrical System
Power Steering Fluid
Check the fluid when engine is warm. If level is low, add manufacturer specified fluid. If frequent topping off is required, inspect steering system for leaks. Replace fluid if system has been contaminated.
Steering and Suspension
Symptoms that indicate your suspension might need repairs include: uneven tire wear, excessive bouncing, and unusual noises when driving.
Your vehicle’s steering and suspension systems should be inspected annually:
- Check wheel alignment, shock absorbers, struts, and chassis components (ball joints, tie rod ends).
- Replace loose or damaged mounting hardware.
- Identify and repair worn components.
Tire Inflation and Condition
At least monthly: check the pressure of all tires – including the spare.
Every 6,000 miles:
- Check the tread for uneven or irregular wear, and cuts or bruises along the sidewalls.
- Inflate all tires to recommended pressure.
- Rotate tires to ensure even wear.
- Replace worn or damaged tires.
Windshield Washer Fluid
Check windshield washer fluid monthly. Note that some vehicles have two reservoirs. Always refill reservoirs with washer fluid – do not use water.
Replace wiper blades every six months, or when cracked, cut, torn or when you see streaking or hear chattering during use.
Vehicle Maintenance in Austin, TX
With proper maintenance, we can keep your vehicle running reliably forever. Let our experts maintain your vehicle to stop small problems from turning into more expensive repairs. Contact Us today to schedule an appointment.