Unexpected auto repair costs are always unpleasant, but they’re easily avoidable. These quick preventative maintenance recommendations will help drivers avoid unexpected breakdowns and poor vehicle performance.
- Every 3,000 to 10,000 miles: Change the oil. That 3,000-mile rule doesn’t always apply, as many can go 10,000 miles between oil changes. The owner’s manual will give the manufacturer’s specific recommendation.
- Every 5,000 to 10,000 miles: Rotate and balance tires; check alignment. This ensures that the car drives smoothly and the tires wear evenly and last longer.
- Every 30,000 miles: Check spark plugs and replace to improve engine efficiency.
- Every 40,000 miles: Replace serpentine belt.
- Every 60,000 miles: Replace timing belt.
As needed: Replace windshield wipers when windows get streaky; replace the battery when it leaks or dies (it’s wise to carry a backup or a charger); replace the engine air filter as recommended in your owner’s manual.
Periodically: Perform a general inspection of the car to check that all lights are working, tires are properly inflated, the battery is not leaking, and fluids are filled to the appropriate level.
Always: Listen and watch for anything out of the ordinary and have it addressed by an auto repair mechanic as soon as possible.