There are some basic things you can do to keep up with your vehicle on your own, and extend the time between required services. Here are some of our general guidelines:
Most car batteries today will last for more than three years without needing maintenance. If your car struggles to start quickly, then it may be a sign that you need a new battery.
Checking your tire pressure regularly, and making sure it is equal to the recommended pressure of your vehicle, is a great way to ensure that you're getting optimal gas mileage and preventing unnecessary wear and tear on your vehicle. You'll naturally lose about 1 pound per square inch of pressure in.your tires each month, so it's a great idea to check this monthly.
Rotating tires is a great way to make sure that you maintain an even wear and tear on your tires to prevent needing to replace them too quickly. We recommend having your tires rotated from front to back every 6K to 8K miles. Additionally, keep an eye out for whether your car is pulling to one side or if your tires are wearing unevenly. See our Tire Care tips for more on this.
Engine oil levels and quality is something you should check and change regularly. Depending on your type of oil (e.g. synthetic) you may only need to change this every 5K to 10K miles. However for certain types of oil, you may need to change your oil more frequently. This is critical to keeping your engine running smoothly and preventing much more costly (or catastrophic) repairs down the road.
Checking fluid levels
Checking your fluid levels like, automatic transmission fluid, engine coolant, power steering fluid, and brake fluids will ensure that these systems are operating properly and able to manage the heat and friction generated by them. This is a very simple and cost-effective way to ensure that your vehicle continues to run properly.
Checking your filters
Your air filters and fuel filters are parts on your vehicle that need eventual replacement. Clean filters mean better performance and gas mileage. This is a cheap way to make sure that you're not spending more dollars at the gas pump than is necessary and that your car is performing as well as it can.
You should change your air filters every 12 to 15 thousand miles, typically.
Windshield wipers and wiper fluid
You never want to be caught in the rain with bad windshield wipers. Check and change your windshield wipers the moment you think they're not cleaning your windshield properly. Additionally, checking and filling your wiper fluid levels will make sure you can keep your windshield clean and easy to see through. Typically, you'll want to replace your windshield wipers every 6 months to a year, or when the rubber gets worn out.
Headlights and brake lights
With your car turned on and parked, see that your headlights turn on and high beams operate properly. Additionally, have someone go to the rear of your vehicle and verify that your brake lights come on.