Proper auto maintenance is essential for your car or truck, and there are some things you should do at specific times, but there can be some exceptions to this rule. Understanding the vehicle's maintenance needs can sometimes be challenging, but each manufacturer gives you a tool to guide you when you buy your vehicle.
Uncovering The Information
Knowing when to do specific auto maintenance tasks on your car may be a mystery to some people, especially if they just purchased their first car or are a new driver. The manufacturer of the vehicle you bought includes an owner's manual with the car when it is new, and the owner's manual is filled with information detailing what maintenance you should do and when to do it.
If you purchased your car used and the owner's manual is no longer in the car, you may need to get another copy. You can find them online in PDF format to download, or you can go to the dealership and have the parts department order one for you.
Downloading the PDF will get you all the same information as the hard copy. Still, if you like the idea of having the book available in the glove compartment to reference anytime, you may want to spend the money on a factory replacement.
Guidelines Not Rules
When you get your owner's annual and start looking at the maintenance suggestions in it, you might find that you fall outside the standard guidelines and wonder what to do. For instance, most manufacturers recommend you change the engine oil at three thousand miles, but if you don't drive very far, you may need to drive for a year to hit the mileage recommendation.
The important thing to remember is that these are guidelines and not maintenance rules. The information in the owner's manual is there to help you determine when to start looking at maintenance items, but if you have a regular service shop that you use, the tech there can help you set up a service plan that works with your driving style.
For some people, that may mean changing the oil every other month because they drive a lot, and for others, it may mean checking and maintaining the engine oil levels and other fluids every six months. Each situation is going to be different. The key is to keep an eye on the car, check the fluids regularly, and have brakes, tires, and parts under the vehicle inspected to ensure they are in good shape.
Auto maintenance does not have to be difficult, and the tech at the shop is an excellent resource to help you keep your maintenance on track so your car will run correctly and dependably.