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

Essential Cosmetic Repairs to Your Vehicle

repair side mirror

Cosmetic repair, especially on older vehicles, can sometimes run owners a fair amount of money.  In some cases, it may cost more than the vehicle is worth (see our blog on What To Do If Your Vehicle is Declared a Total Loss). Although not all cosmetic repairs are necessary, there are certain ones that must be made in order for vehicles to remain street-legal, to pass inspection in certain states, and to avoid a police-issued repair order.

Below are some of the most essential cosmetic repairs that need to be done should the situation arise.

Cracked or Chipped Windshields – Despite the fact that you may be able to see out of a cracked or chipped windshield, it is still very dangerous to drive with this damage. Even a small crack or chip can easily become something much worse and more dangerous just by exposure to the elements. In cold, wet weather, water can get trapped in cracks and chips. When the temperature drops, that trapped water will freeze and expand, causing the crack or chip to widen or lengthen. Over time, small areas of damage can grow to become large and dangerous obstacles that impede your vision while driving. In addition, dirt and oil from the road can get in those large cracks and cause even more vision hazards for driving.  In some states, it is mandatory that the entire windshield be replaced if a crack or even a chip is in the driver’s line of vision.  In those states, if the windshield is not replaced, the vehicle will not pass inspection.

Head and Tail Lights – Head and tail lights are essential to the safe operation of your vehicle. When driving, almost all of your decisions depend upon what you can see outside of your vehicle. Therefore, your headlights are essential when driving in inclement weather or at night. Sunlight, gravel, sand, ice, and even calcium deposits from rock salt can damage headlights and impede your ability to drive safely. Tail lights are equally important because they notify other drivers of when you are braking, turning or changing lanes, and backing up.

Side-View Mirrors – As we mentioned above, your ability to see what’s happening outside of your vehicle is essential to driving safely. The ability to see on either side of your vehicle is necessary for turning, changing lanes, judging distance when parking, and safely backing up. Damaged or missing side-view mirrors make your vehicle a hazard to others on the road and can result in disastrous consequences.

Bumpers and Fenders – Repair to damaged bumpers and fenders must be a priority because they can obstruct your vehicle’s ability to make sharp turns, causing tire blowout. In addition, cracked or torn bumpers can be made worse by the friction of the wind while driving at high speed. This situation could result in an accident if the bumper is torn off or falls off and becomes an obstacle to others on the road.

Some cosmetic repairs are just that – they make your vehicle aesthetically pleasing and help maintain the vehicle’s resale value. But others are essential to your safety and the safety of others, as well as your ability to keep your vehicle legally on the road. We highly recommend making the repairs listed above as soon as possible. In addition, it is advised that you research what other repairs are necessary in your state for your vehicle to remain on the road legally.

Let us know in the comments section if you think there are any essential repairs we may have missed or share any past experiences in having to get these repairs done. We always appreciate your input!

*image courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org