The average age of vehicles on the road is rising, and as cars get older, they need more service and repair. Motorists who own an older car, truck or SUV should become more diligent about preventative maintenance.
With the average vehicle age exceeding 11.5 years, the chance of a breakdown or service issue on an older vehicle is much greater. The Car Care Council urges drivers of older vehicles to implement a preventative maintenance plan for their vehicle to minimize the chances of a roadside breakdown and to also help their vehicle run more efficiently and economically.
The average age of passenger vehicles on the road is rising, up from 11.29 years in the first quarter of 2015 to 11.61 years in 2019. The most common maintenance procedures to keep a car operating safely and reliably, while maintaining its long-term value, involve checking the oil, filters and fluids, the belts and hoses, brakes, tires and air conditioning. An annual tune-up and wheel alignment are also recommended.
You rely on your vehicle to get you everywhere. You need it to run smoothly and run for a long time. If you’re not staying on top of these six services, though, your car may not be getting the attention it needs to live its longest life. Find out what these preventative maintenance services are and how they can help your car live its longest, most cost-efficient life!
Get an oil & oil filter change: As often as your vehicle manufacturer recommends.
Follow the specifications set by your vehicle manufacturer. Every 3,000 miles is a good rule of thumb.
Every 6 months: Rotate your tires.
All tires wear down over time, but they wear down differently depending on their position. For example, your front tires typically work harder and wear more quickly than your back tires.
During a tire rotation, your tires are removed, swapped, and remounted. Regular rotations help all four tires wear down at the same rate.
Tires should be rotated every six months/6,000 to 8,000 miles.
Every 6 months: Balance and align wheels.
Wheel balancing and alignment is equally as important. Routine balancing will ensure that weight is distributed equally around the axel so that your tire doesn’t wobble or bump along down the road.
Wheel alignment, on the other hand, consists of making sure your tires are parallel to each other and perpendicular to the road, improving your drive comfort and fuel efficiency simultaneously.
Getting your tires balanced and aligned every 6,000 miles or six months will keep your car on the straight and narrow!
Every 6 to 12 months: Install new windshield wipers.
Windshield wipers aren’t something you rely on every day. But on the days when you need them, you really need them. Your windshield wipers will stop making proper contact with your windshield over time, causing them to leave streaks and smears. This results in decreased visibility for you – not good! Windshields can also get scratched by badly worn wipers.
After a few seasons of rain, sleet, and sun, the rubber on your wiper blades can really start to deteriorate. Don’t get caught in a downpour with crummy wipers and poor visibility. Get your windshield wipers inspected and replaced every time you notice they aren’t keeping your view of the road clean and clear (or every six months or so).
Every 3 to 5 years: Clean and test your battery.
A dead battery can leave you stranded at the most inconvenient times—although it’s always inconvenient to be stranded! Luckily, there are ways to help prevent being blindsided by a dead battery. A little battery maintenance can go a long way, too. About every 30,000 miles: Replace spark plugs.
Spark plugs don’t need maintenance as often as some other components, but shouldn’t be neglected. Most manufacturers suggest getting new spark plugs every 30,000 miles or so.
At various mileage intervals: Change interior/exterior filters not just your oil filter.
- Your vehicle’s air filter removes dust and debris from the air before it goes into the engine. Replace your air filter every 30-40,000 miles, or according to manufacturer specifications.
- Your car’s cabin air filter cleans the air before it flows through your air conditioner, preventing you from getting a face full of pollen, dust, and other pollutants. Replace your cabin air filter every 15-20,000 miles, or once a year.
- Your car’s fuel filter keeps dirt, debris, and other contaminants from obstructing and clogging up your fuel lines. Replace the fuel filter every 20-40,000 miles, or according to manufacturer specifications.
All of these filters will get gunky and contaminated over time, meaning that they need to be regularly replaced in order to do their job effectively.