What to Expect at Regular Service Intervals on Your Vehicle

regular service intervals

For most new vehicles, it’s recommended by manufacturers that routine services be performed at standard intervals, which occur at the following mileage marks: 15,000, 30,000, 45,000, and 60,000.  In this post, we’re going to give you a brief outline of what to expect and a checklist of areas for each milestone.

By its very nature, vehicle maintenance is a necessary evil, but by following the outlines and checklists below, you can easily keep track of your vehicle’s major maintenance items. Regular maintenance will ensure that your vehicle remains as problem-free as possible and help it to retain an appropriate resale value.

15,000-Mile Service

This will be your first major service and should come at about 15,000 miles, which typically occurs within or close to the first year anniversary of purchasing your vehicle. Given the young life of your car and its components, it’s a relatively basic procedure. Expect to have the engine oil and oil filter changed, along with the engine air filter and the in-cabin air filter. A new engine air filter will ensure optimal gas mileage and keep engine contaminants to a minimum, while a new in-cabin air filter will keep your car’s interior dust and contaminant free.

Wiper blades should also be inspected at this point, especially if winter is approaching, and replaced as needed. Understanding all of the items in your 15,000-mile service is important, because this process will be repeated at all major service intervals.

15,000-Mile Checklist:

  • Engine oil
  • Oil filter
  • Engine air filter
  • In-cabin air filter
  • Wiper blade replacement

30,000-Mile Service

In addition to the items replaced at your 15,000-mile service, a new fuel filter will be needed to keep your engine running smooth. Engine coolant will also be changed at this time to ensure that your car’s engine does not overheat, and power steering and transmission fluids should be flushed out and replaced. These fluids break down over time and lose their effectiveness; for the average commuter, these fluids will have been in use for roughly two years. This service should be repeated every 30,000 miles to keep your car in good health.

30,000-Mile Checklist

  • Engine oil
  • Oil filter
  • Engine air filter
  • In-cabin air filter
  • Wiper blade replacement
  • Fuel filter
  • Power steering fluid
  • Transmission fluid
  • Engine coolant

45,000-Mile Service

Your vehicle’s 45,000-mile service will include its commonly changed maintenance items (such as an oil and oil filter change), but will additionally focus on the service of the car’s ignition system. Spark plugs are key engine components that need to be replaced after three years or 45,000 miles. Worn-out spark plugs can cause misfires and dead cylinders, which seriously harm the performance and lifespan of an engine. A new ignition management system, which runs the spark plugs, should also be fitted to ensure that the entire ignition system is functioning normally.

Brake fluid should also be changed after 45,000 miles or three years, as it absorbs water over time and thickens, losing its efficiency. Brake pads need to be checked and replaced as needed, especially for drivers who spend a significant amount of time in stop-and-go traffic. This service should be repeated every 45,000 miles to ensure maximum engine health and brake use.

45,000-Mile Checklist

  • Engine oil
  • Oil filter
  • Engine air filter
  • In-cabin air filter
  • Wiper blade replacement
  • Spark plugs
  • Distributor cap
  • Brake fluid
  • Inspect brake pads/replace if necessary

60,000-Mile Service

At 60,000 miles, the 30,000-mile service should be repeated with one additional replacement – the timing belt. The timing belt runs critical internal engine components (specifically cams and valves) and can cause serious damage to the engine if it breaks, so be careful not to overlook this easy-to-miss item. Due to its age and constant use, the car’s battery will probably be losing its charge by now and should also be replaced to avoid future start-up troubles. Repeat this service every 60,000 miles, and at 75,000 miles, repeat your initial 15,000-mile service.

60,000-Mile Checklist

  • Engine oil
  • Oil filter
  • Engine air filter
  • In-cabin air filter
  • Wiper blade replacement
  • Fuel filter
  • Power steering fluid
  • Transmission fluid
  • Engine coolant
  • Timing belt
  • Battery

Whether you decide to have your vehicle serviced with the dealership service center or at a local repair shop, the important thing to remember is that each milestone service must be done to ensure your vehicle is running its best.

Let us know what you think or if you have any questions in the section below. We always appreciate your feedback!

image: osunick on Flickr.com

How Important Is Scheduled Maintenance For Your Car?

maintenance for your car

It goes without saying that a vehicle is a pretty large investment and that, new or used, it will come with the responsibility of maintaining its parts and systems. It’s through the routine of regularly-scheduled maintenance that owners can extend the road life, maximize fuel efficiency, and retain resale value for their vehicle.

Oil and filter changes are just a few of the important maintenance items that need to be done throughout the life of your car. While some maintenance items are more frequent than others, they all play a role in the overall care of your car.  Below is a list of the top 10 most common maintenance services. Some of them can be DIY if you have the tools, knowledge and time, while others require you to take the vehicle to a certified mechanic.

The Top 10 Most Common Maintenance Services:

  1. Changing the Oil and Filter – This is the most common and widely-known maintenance for all vehicles on the road, and it is also the most important. Changing the oil and oil filter every three months or 3,000-5,000 miles (depending on the use of conventional or synthetic motor oil) is crucial to maintaining the internal parts of the engine and preventing the build-up of damaging sludge, which can be fatal to the engine.
  2. Changing the Air/Cabin Filters – In most cases, when you take your car to a chain store for oil changes, a change of air filter is included with the oil change services. However, those who change their own oil need to be aware of the importance of a clean air filter. Clean air filters help to improve gas mileage, increase engine life and provide better acceleration, all while lowering the harmful emissions created by the vehicle.
  3. Tire Maintenance – Regularly balancing and rotating tires helps prevent the imbalanced wear of tires and may also reveal problems such as bald spots and partial punctures. In addition, properly inflated tires help increase fuel mileage and extend the life of the tires.
  4. Fuel Filter Change and Cleaning of the Fuel Injection System – For high-mileage vehicles, it is recommended that the fuel filter be changed every year to help maintain fuel mileage and prevent the build-up of harmful particles from gasoline in the fuel injectors. It is also recommended that fuel injection cleaner be added to a tank of gas every 15,000 miles to keep the fuel injection system performing properly.
  5. Flushing the Cooling System – This service is recommended every two years to help extend the life of the car’s radiator, heater and engine by flushing away dirt and rust that can clog the cooling system. The integrity of antifreeze also breaks down over time and should be replaced at the time of the system flush.
  6. Maintaining the Brakes – Next to steering, your brakes are the most important aspect of your vehicle, so brake shoes and pads must not be neglected. Poor shoes and pads can lead to more dangerous (and expensive) problems with rotors, calipers and drums. A yearly inspection is recommended to keep on top of any potential brake problems and a flush of the vehicle’s brake fluid is suggested every two years.
  7. Changing the Transmission Fluid – Much like the cooling system, the transmission fluid also requires regular changing to prevent the build-up of dirt and rust, which can cause damage to the gear system of the car. Changing the transmission fluid on a regular basis (every 30,000 miles) will help to extend the life of the transmission.
  8. Replacing Spark Plugs and Wires – Damaged spark plugs can cause engine misfires, rough idling and even problems with starting the vehicle. For optimal engine life, spark plugs and wires should be replaced every 100,000 miles.
  9. Replacing the Timing Belt – Timing belts should be replaced between 60,000 and 105,000 miles depending on the make and model of your car, and they should be inspected at least once a year.  Having to replace a broken timing belt can cause severe damage to valves, pistons, heads and the engine block and could possibly leave you stranded!
  10. Replacing Hoses and Other Belts – An annual inspection of all hoses and belts should be performed in order to maintain the integrity of the systems that connect to the engine through them. In addition, replacing rusted or damaged hose clamps can prevent failure of these systems and help them to perform at their best.

The good news is that most car maintenance facilities and dealerships keep records of your vehicle’s maintenance history and will keep you informed of when an upcoming service needs to be scheduled. In addition, there are a number of smartphone apps that can help you keep track of and schedule your own maintenance for your vehicles.

We hope this article brought to light the importance of proper maintenance of your vehicle.  If you would like to schedule an appointment for maintenance, simply click on the link below. We will be happy to go over everything you need to keep your car running at peak performance!

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*image courtesy of em2me on flickr.com