Between work, family events, and the dozens of other obligations people have, basic car maintenance can fall by the wayside. However, performing regular maintenance on your vehicle matters more than you think. Following basic car maintenance tips may help keep your car running. But that’s not all. There are many rewarding advantages to proper car maintenance that don’t have to do with getting from point A to point B. Keeping your car maintained will help your vehicle last longer. It can even help you snag a higher resale price if you decide to sell.
1. The Importance of Oil Changes
If your car uses conventional motor oil, it likely should be changed every 3,000 miles or 3 months.
If your car has synthetic oil, it likely should be changed every 5,000-10,000 miles or 6-12 months.
As we move further away from the days of conventional motor oils, most newer vehicles no longer have to have an oil and filter change every 3,000 miles. High-efficiency engines and high-quality oil have changed the way we approach this service. Some vehicles don’t have to get an oil change more than once every 7,000 – 10,000 miles. Due to how efficient engines and motor oils have become, commonly-held advice may not be correct anymore.
2. Learn Your Vehicle’s Warning Lights
No one likes seeing a warning light turn on. It could turn a simple spin around town into a stressful drive home. That’s why you should learn what each warning light means and what to do when one is on.
3. Get Your Car’s Fluids Checked
Like tires and lights, it’s a good idea to check your vehicle’s fluid levels. Even if you leave changing them up to the pros, you should still know how to check them.
4. Check Your Car Battery
While most modern batteries don’t need much tending to, it’s good to know how to check them and where they are. This is especially true if you suspect there’s an issue with your battery.
5. Check Spark Plugs and Break Pads
Clean and working spark plugs are essential to a smooth running engine. However, as with the battery, your spark plugs can get covered in buildup. Dirtier spark plugs mean the engine has to work harder to get a spark. You may have to clean or replace the spark plugs throughout the life of your car. Luckily, spark plugs are one of the easiest and cheapest engine parts to replace. Check your owner’s manual for when it’s best to replace them. In general, you should check about once every year. For assistance with this task, you can ask your dealer’s Toyota mechanic to check them for you.