New Car Maintenance Schedule

by Don Elliott on May 9, 2012

Are you one of those vehicle owners who never even looks at your car manual? How do you plan for car maintenance expenses? What automotive maintenance work do you need to schedule besides oil changes and tire rotations?

All of these answers are in your car manual. New car manufacturers put an owner’s manual in every car and, almost always, you can find it in the glove box. Not only does the car manual explain how things work, but towards the back of the car manual, the car manufacturers list “recommended car maintenance” schedule.

While your car is under its original new car warranty, regular scheduled maintenance is particularly important. We all know we need to get an oil change from time to time, but the owner’s manual will detail out exactly how many times that is. This is important in order to keep your warranty valid. Should a car maintenance problem arise, not following the manufacturers recommendation can result in denied claims.

If you’ve lost your car manual or it is not available, there are multiple resources online that can provide the manufacturer’s suggested car maintenance. Edmunds offers this information at no charge. The service departments of franchised car dealers can also provide scheduled car maintenance records for their brands. In fact, many new car brands have pushed the long-term regular maintenance schedules into their service departments, requiring their customers to check in for maintenance advice and to schedule an appointment.

The information is also available to your auto repair center. Most quality service shops do a courtesy check while your car is in the service bay. They do a walk around the car, checking the obvious wear items including lights, wiper blades, tires and fluids. They also run the recommended car maintenance specifications and check to see if your car is up to date.

Some service customers are offended by the shops efforts, suspecting that they are campaigning for extra work. In a way, that might be the case, but more likely they are using their expertise to help you identify service timing. If you are curious, match up your service technician’s recommendations with your service records and the car maintenance schedule in your owner’s manual.

For budgeting purposes, your auto repair shop can identify the required upcoming car maintenance and provide an estimate of the costs. Depending on the age of your car and your driving style, the technician can offer advice as to which service items are most critical.

Typically, major service intervals break at 30,000 miles. If your car is at the 30,000, 60,000, 90,000 or 120,000 mile mark, it is time to check with your auto repair shop for advice. Belts, transmission fluid and filter, fuel filter, coolant flush and spark plugs/wires all may be due for some attention.

Keep your car running at peak performance to get the most used car value. A small investment in regular car maintenance now will prevent a major investment in repair bills down the road.

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