How to Manage Your Car Maintenance Schedule
April 20, 2022
Do you give much thought to your routine car maintenance schedule? It is something that you can easily overlook, especially if you are not experiencing any problems with your car. Or perhaps you continue to drive after your dashboard car service alert light comes on? These oversights do happen. However, it is important to keep on top of your car maintenance. Regular car care will detect any issues with your vehicle. Auto preventative maintenance helps to avoid vehicle breakdowns and costly repairs. It also helps secure a higher resale value.
About Your Car Maintenance Schedule
When it comes to your car maintenance schedule, different factors will come into play. For example, tire wear and tear or oil consumption depend on the type and age of vehicle and how often you drive it. However, our general guidelines and suggestions will help to keep your car maintenance schedule on track:
Schedule Car Maintenance Once a Year or Every 10,000 Miles
Most car manufacturers advise that you should schedule a full car service every 12 months to help troubleshoot any problems. Alternatively, you can schedule according to mileage. According to latest highway statistics from the US Department of Transportation, Americans drive an average of 13,500 miles per year. Therefore, aim to schedule a car maintenance appointment every 10,000-12,000 miles to ensure everything is in good working order. The standard car health inspection will include the following inspection and checks:
- Oil and oil filter
- Air filter
Tip: In between a full service, you may want to schedule an oil change and oil filter change every 6 months or every 5,000 miles. Better car maintenance is key to the smooth running of your car.
Car Maintenance Schedule at 30,000 Miles and 90,000 Miles
As you clock up the mileage, it is advisable to schedule a more thorough inspection and in-depth preventative maintenance at around 30,000 miles and thereafter at 90,000 miles. This maintenance will usually include:
- Underbody inspection for any signs of corrosion
- Replacing brake fluid and other vehicle fluids
- Checking/replacing brake pads
- Inspecting steering and suspension systems
- Replacing spark plugs
- Checking wheel alignment
- Battery check or replacement
- Replacement of parts and components showing signs of wear and tear
- Checking timing belt
- Transmission fluid change
- Tire check and rotation
Tip: Your vehicle handbook also offers instructions for DIY maintenance to help you troubleshoot common problems. For example, what to do if your engine overheats, and how to check oil and other fluid levels. See also our car maintenance checklist.
Tire Rotation Every 5,000 Miles
You should check your tires monthly to ensure safe driving. However, the tire industry also recommends tire rotation every 5,000-7,000 miles to extend the life of your tires. This involves moving the wheels and tires from one position to another to help the tires wear more evenly. Again, tire rotation depends on the age and make of the vehicle.
Modern vehicles usually have a TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System). This may be affected if the wheels are rotated. However, a qualified tire technician can reset the system during a car maintenance schedule. They’ll also check and assess tread depth and inflation pressures.
Tip: Trained technicians will also check your car battery at an annual car service appointment. However, a car battery will eventually need replacing. Industry experts recommend changing a car battery every 3-4 years.
Scheduling Car Maintenance for Older Vehicles
If you drive an older vehicle, it will benefit from a little extra love and attention. Therefore, don’t skip maintenance appointments. If you’ve lost the service manual for your vehicle, simply search online for the car manufacturer’s official website. You will find service and maintenance advice, including where to find a reputable dealer and trained technicians. For example, you can create a customized own maintenance schedule at Ford.
Tip: An official car service history from the manufacturer or an approved/certified dealership will help to secure a higher resale price. Keep the relevant documents or paperwork as proof of your regular car maintenance schedule.
Car Maintenance for Newer Vehicles
New cars will also need ongoing maintenance checks. Therefore, after the first 12 months schedule an appointment to get your vehicle looked over by a professional car technician. Ask your dealership if there is an annual maintenance plan included in the price you paid for your car. Your servicing costs may be covered for the first 2-3 years. You should also enquire about fix-priced service and maintenance plans.
Tip: Failure to upkeep a new car service schedule may invalidate your warranty coverage, see below. Be aware also of car care tips and tricks to keep your new vehicle looking great.
Warranty and Car Maintenance Schedule
If you buy a new car, it will have a conditional warranty period. However, the conditions of the warranty may become invalid if you don’t stick to the manufacturer’s recommended servicing schedule. Warranties vary between manufacturers, so be sure to check. For example, every new Toyota vehicle has 36 month/36,000 mileage limited warranty coverage.
Tip: Ask your dealership about the cost of enhanced protection if you want optional extras included in your maintenance plan. For example, this may include windshield repair, key replacement, and diagnostic coverage.
Fleet Maintenance Schedule Once a Month or Every 3,000 Miles
The success and profitability of your transportation or delivery business depend on the health and performance of your fleet. Vehicle breakdowns will cost you in repairs and lost revenue. Therefore, don’t fall behind with your fleet maintenance scheduling. For example, you might prefer once a month or every 3,000 miles. Regular and ongoing is key.
Tip: Fleet maintenance software is extremely useful when you want to keep track of routine maintenance, inspections and repairs. There are different ones available. For example, Fiix software is well-reviewed and also allows you to manage fleet maintenance from your mobile.
Interior and Exterior Detailing
In between maintenance appointments, regular interior and exterior detailing can also benefit your vehicle. For example, DetailXPerts offers specialty professional detailing services using environmentally-friendly steam technology to help maintain the health of your car. For example, specialties include engine steam cleaning, headlights restoration, mold removal and air sanitation.
Tip: Engine steam cleaning makes it easier to spot oil leaks. It also restores the appearance of your engine which may help boost resale value.
Apps for Your Car Maintenance Schedule
If you love an app to organize your life, there are car maintenance schedule apps to help keep your car running smoothly. For example, My Car is a car management app that includes service reminders, mileage tracking and gas log. Drivvo is another popular app that makes sure you don’t forget about regular maintenance tasks.
Tip: See our guide on how to avoid car maintenance mistakes. This will help you to keep your vehicle in tip-top condition in between check-ups with a trusted technician.
Your car maintenance schedule is important. Not only will it keep you and others safe on the road but it will also give you a higher resale value. Bear in mind that maintenance varies according to vehicle age and usage. Check the car manual database according to your vehicle’s make, model and year if you need to read up further on service recommendations and timelines. Also, keep an eye out for promotions and fixed-maintenance price plans to get the best deal for your maintenance program.
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