A typical driver in the United States spends nearly $800 a year on car maintenance, according to AAA’s annual Your Driving Costs study.
That’s a lot of money, but forgetting or ignoring recommended maintenance will just end up costing you more in the long run!
Read more: These 10 vehicles are the cheapest to repair
Want your car to last? Follow this checklist
We told you last year about an Atlanta man named Yury who owns a 2000 Toyota Tacoma pickup truck with more than 700,000 miles on the dash — and it still purrs like a kitten!
His secret? Routine maintenance, including changing the oil every 3,000 miles.
Top 5 tips to keep your car running smoothly
If you want your car to have a chance at reaching 700,000 miles, YourMechanic surveyed hundreds of mechanics to identify the top five tips to extend the life of your vehicle:
1. Keep up with oil changes. When oil levels are low, or oil is old, added friction between moving parts can cause wear and tear to the engine. Follow your owner’s manual to determine the best intervals for changing oil. Check the brakes every time the oil is changed.
2. Take care of your tires. Check and maintain proper tire pressure. Tires inflated within five pounds per square inch (PSI) of their recommended level improve gas mileage and general handling of your vehicle. Recommended PSI can be found in the owner’s manual. Rotate tires every 5,000 to 8,000 miles.
3. Check vehicle fluids. Vehicles rely on transmission fluid, brake fluid, power steering fluid and properly mixed coolant to run. Fluids need to be topped off for optimal vehicle performance throughout the life of the vehicle.
4. Change air filters regularly. Dust and grime accumulates over time and can negatively impact gas mileage and engine performance.
5. Take care of minor repairs when they arise. New noises or changes in the drivability of a vehicle should be checked out promptly.
Car maintenance checklist
The easiest way to stay on top of recommended maintenance is to check your owner’s manual.
Having said that, YourMechanic has put together this easy-to-follow routine maintenance checklist that tracks suggested maintenance by time interval and mileage.
Basic car maintenance
- Ongoing: Noises or noticeable changes
- 3 months: Oil changes (3,000 to 5,000 miles)
- 1 year: Air filter (12,000 miles)
- 1 year: Brake pads (25,000 to 70,000 miles)
- 2 years: Power steering fluid (24,000 miles)
- 2 to 3 years: Brake fluid flush (36,000 miles)
- Based on total mileage: Automatic transmission fluid flush (Every 60,000 miles)
- Based on total mileage: Coolant flush (Every 40,000 to 60,000 miles)
- Monthly: Check tire air pressure
- Depending on tread wear: Rotation (Every 5,000 to 8,000 miles)
- Tread or wear damage: Replacement (Every 25,000 to 50,000 miles)
You can’t afford to delay or ignore scheduled maintenance
According to AAA, 35% of Americans have skipped or delayed service or repairs that were recommended by a mechanic or specified by the factory maintenance schedule.
Don’t delay! AAA found that doing so will only result in higher repair bills down the road.