Oil changes are a necessity (but not as often as you may think). Do you vaguely remember your father telling you that a car needs an oil change every three months? While it’s true that regular oil changes are critical to an engine’s long term well-being, you may not to visit the Jiffy Lube as often as they would like you to believe. Get out your car’s maintenance manual (it’s probably still in the glove compartment where it was the day you drove your new car off the lot), and check to see what the manufacturer recommends for oil changes. You may find that every 6,000 to 7,000 miles is sufficient for your car’s make and model. But if you aren’t sure, don’t skimp.
And while we’re talking about oil changes, you can forget the every-three-month rule as well. The mileage driven has much more effect on the condition of your oil than does the calendar. If you are a senior citizen who only drives a few thousand miles a year, you can probably get away with an oil change every six months.
Which brings us to tires. Be honest, have you ever had your tires rotated? If not, you are going to end up replacing your tires more frequently than is necessary. At an average cost of $100 per tire, that can be an expensive oversight. Your tires should be rotated about twice a year, so plan to have it done when you change your oil, or every other oil change if you are still changing your oil every three months.
Your tires will also last longer if you drive on properly inflated tires. But what is properly inflated? It depends on the make and model of your car. You can check the sticker on the inside of the car door to learn the proper inflation for your tires, which is measured by PSI (or pounds per square inch). Driving on properly inflated tires will help your tires last longer, improve your gas mileage and help to avoid a dangerous blowout on the road. You can easily find an automotive shop that will check the inflation of your tires when they are doing your oil change. If they don’t offer that service, find another shop that does.
If you are using a quicky oil change shop for your oil changes and tire checks, it is a good idea to take you car into the dealer for a more thorough check up at least once a year. Your auto mechanic is more qualified to check brakes, spark plugs, radiator coolant, transmission fluid and belts. They will also know the history of the car and can recommend regular tune-ups when necessary.
Don’t forget to keep records and receipts for all of your auto maintenance and repairs. In the event you have to make a warranty claim, your records will help prove to the manufacturer that you have properly maintained the vehicle. Your records will also help you get the most amount of money when you sell the car, as you can prove to the new buyer that the car has been properly maintained.