You love your car and rely on it absolutely. And in return it gives you faithful service, without any trouble. The best way to keep that engine humming along smoothly is to follow the owner’s manual when it comes to oil changes and routine service checks. That heads off any major problems, though the longer you own your car, the more likely that tires and brakes will have to be changed. The manual that came with your car will give you a schedule for everything from oil changes to how often to get brake pads replaced.
Another question every car owner faces is whether to take your car to the dealership or an independent shop for routine maintenance as well as bigger jobs. After trying both, you may find to your surprise that the independent shop does a better job, as well as charging less for the same work.
What everyone should know about routine auto maintenance
Following the owner’s manual keeps your car happy. And conversely, if you neglect your car, forget oil changes and keep putting off major repairs, it’s almost a certainty that you will face major problems down the road, in the not-too-distant future. In fact the costs of neglecting regular maintenance on motor vehicles are estimated to be more than $2 billion a year.
Some basic recommendations that every car owner should know and follow are:
- Tire alignment should be checked every 6,000 miles. It’s convenient to do that along with every oil change.
- Tire rotations should be done every 7,500 miles, or sooner, as recommended by the manufacturer. This makes sure that your tires wear evenly.
- Brakes are a major expense and luckily don’t need to be changed all that often. They can last anywhere from 25,000 miles to 50,000 miles. Depending on how much driving you do, that’s two to four years. The service shop will be able to tell you how often to get brake pads replaced.
- Routine checks should include vehicle belts and hoses. These should be replaced if they’re looking worn. In a spot inspection, almost one vehicle in five, or 19%, had one belt in unsatisfactory condition, and in 17% percent of the vehicles, at least one hose needed to be changed.
- According to the Car Care Council, timing belts typically need to be replaced between 60,000 and 90,000 miles. You owner’s manual will tell you the exact recommendation for the make and model of your car.
- Tire air pressure should be kept at the recommended level. This is an important safety issue. Under inflation caused problems like tire stress, irregular wear, and loss of control.
When in doubt, it’s best to check your owner’s manual for the exact recommendations. One of the unexpected benefits of establishing a good relationship with a local independent auto repair shop is that you can pick their brains for advice on caring for your car. They will be able to answer most questions, on everything from whether you need snow tires to how often to get brake pads replaced.
All about tires
As winter approaches, it’s time to think about snow tires. Snow tires are wider and give your car a better grip on winter roads. An independent auto repair shop can not only install your winter tires, they might also store your regular tires for you. If you do choose to install snow tires, you should be aware that all four tires need to be changed. Whether your vehicle is all-wheel drive, front-wheel drive, or rear-wheel drive, all four must be changed; you get can’t get by with just two winter tires.
Many insurers will give you up to 5% off of your car insurance premium for installing winter tires. Your regular tires of course should be checked for wear each time you get an oil change.
For all your questions about how often to get brake pads replaced to which type of fuel is best for your car, independent auto repair experts can provide the answers. Car care is a simple investment, with results that you can rely on.