How to Maintain Your Vehicle

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How to Maintain Your Vehicle

Your vehicle is likely one of the most expensive things you own. Regular maintenance will keep it running smoothly, and maintain its resell value.

Washing Your Car, Inside and Out

Keeping your car clean does more than just make it shiny and attractive. It also protects the surfaces, inside and out. Here’s a list of things to do to properly clean your car for maintenance purposes:

The Exterior of Your Car


  • Wash the entire car with mild soap and water, rinsing well.
  • In snowy climates, wash the undercarriage to remove road salt.
  • Remove bugs from headlights, hood, grill and windshield, using bug-remover soap.
  • Spray tire protectant on the outside of tires to protect the rubber.
  • Apply rubber protectant to rubber trim.
  • Apply wax.

The Interior of Your Car


  • Dust the dashboard, tops of doors and other surface areas.
  • Protect vinyl or leather-wrapped interior items with protectant.
  • Clean glass.
  • Clean mirrors.
  • Vacuum carpets and upholstery.
  • Clean upholstery with a damp cloth.
  • Protect upholstery with leather protectant or fabric protectant.

Regular Fluid Changes

gp-14Every 3,000 to 5,000 miles, you should have your vehicle’s oil changed. Also check:

  • Coolant levels
  • Transmission fluid
  • Power steering fluid
  • Windshield washing fluid
  • Windshield wipers
  • Tires—check pressure and tread
  • Headlights, brake lights and turn signals
  • Lubricate chassis
  • Check all belts and hoses

Mechanical Maintenance

gp-15Every vehicle has a manufacturer-recommended maintenance schedule. This schedule is designed to keep you from experiencing break downs based on wear and tear—you’ll replace worn out belts, hoses, brakes, etc. before you have a problem. Though the schedule for your vehicle may vary, these items are fairly standard:

Every 10,000-15,000 Miles

In addition to the 5,000 mile service, do the following:

  • Check brakes and wheel bearings
  • Check timing belt
  • Check engine thermostat temp
  • Replace spark plugs
  • Inspect cooling system
  • Replace the air filter

Every 20,000 Miles

In addition to the 5,000 and 10,000 mile service, do the following:

  • Replace brake fluid
  • Drain cooling system, heating system, radiator. Descale and inspect the radiator.
  • Replace transmission fluid

Every 30,000 Miles

In addition to the 5,000 and 10,000 mile service, do the following:

  • Adjust pocket-style valves.
  • Replace the power steering fluid.
  • Inspect the suspension.

Every 50,000 Miles

In addition to the 5,000 and 10,000 mile service, do the following:

  • Replace the oil in the transmission.
  • Replace the oil in the differentials/transfer case.

Every 60,000 Miles

In addition to the 5,000 and 10,000 mile service, do the following:

  • Replace rubber timing belts.
  • Replace brake pads and brake fluid.
  • Replace coolant.

Keeping Good Records


If your vehicle didn’t come with a maintenance tracker, get on and keep it in your glove box. Every time you have an oil change, or complete maintenance, write it down. Also keep receipts for any replacement parts you install, new tires, new glass, etc. Keeping track of the maintenance on your vehicle has many benefits:

1) You never have to remember when you completed your last oil change, or changed belts, spark plugs, tires, etc.

2) A thorough maintenance history is helpful when trying to sell your vehicle.

3) A record of fluid changes, etc. can help maintain your vehicle’s manufacturer’s warranty.






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