If you are like me, your vehicle is just a mode of transportation that takes you from point A to point B. I know to change the oil and rotate my tires, but how often should that be done and what else am I missing? 

Since getting a new (to me) car six months ago, I have taken much more of an interest in its upkeep and what I can do to keep it running in tip top shape. I have started by keeping a small notebook in my middle console with notes and reminders about my vehicle’s maintenance. For instance, I am keeping a record of my vehicle’s oil changes, tire rotations, and what size wiper blades I need. I not only keep a record of the date of change, but also the mileage that my vehicle is at during that time.  

Once I started thinking of my vehicle maintenance as the health of my car, the importance of its upkeep has made more sense to me. Here are some specific items to keep in mind when caring for and maintaining your vehicle. 

Oil Changes. It is recommended that you have your oil changed every 3,000 miles and most engines require five-to-seven quarts. The type of oil that is recommended for your vehicle can often be found in the owner’s manual. 

Tire Rotation and Replacement. These days, tires can last up to 50,000 miles. It is recommended that you have them rotated every 3,000 miles or every six months. It has also been proven helpful to check the air pressure in your tires once per month. 

Brake Pads and Routers. Pay attention to how your vehicle sounds and feels. If the brakes start to feel soft or have a grinding sound to them, it is best to have them checked by a professional. Your brakes and routers should be checked every 12,000 miles or once per year. 

Wiper Blades. Clean your blades once per month and make sure to top off your wiper fluid. It is recommended to change your wiper blades every six to 12 months, depending on how often you drive. 

Fluid Levels. Fluid levels should be checked when you have your oil changed. These fluids include coolant, power steering fluid, brake fluid, transmission fluid, and wiper fluid. It is not uncommon for the service center that changes your car’s oil to also check the rest of your fluid levels and even top them off for you at your request.

It is also important not to ignore the check engine light should it appear. Also, having your vehicle washed regularly is important to rid your car of all sorts of elements that may develop, especially salt buildup in your undercarriage during our rough Michigan winters. 

Lastly, I have been refueling when my vehicle gets to a quarter of a tank. I am on the go regularly and don’t always have to fill up on my way to local appointments and events. By keeping my gas tank at least a quarter full, I know I have enough gas to get me where I need to go and home safely.

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