Car Care Tips

Courtesy of the Automotive Service Association

According to recent studies, 50% of all motor vehicle fatalities are clearly caused by automobile maintenance neglect. The following simple and inexpensive preventive checks will greatly extend the life of your vehicle, ensure safer operation and even benefit the environment.

Always consult your owner’s manual for individual service schedules because maintenance requirements vary by manufacturer.

  • Always consult your owner’s manual, but a good rule of thumb is to
    have the oil filter changed regularly – every 3,000 to 4,000 miles
  • Have all fluids checked, including brake, power steering,
    transmission/transaxle, windshield washer solvent and antifreeze.
    These fluids play a large role in the safety and performance of the
  • Check tire inflation. Under-inflated tires can result in a loss of fuel
    efficiency and tire life. Tires should be checked once a month. This
    is the least expensive form of preventive and safety maintenance.
  • Keep your engine tuned. A fouled spark plug or plugged/restricted
    fuel injector can reduce fuel efficiency by as much as 30%.
  • Have the chassis lubricated frequently. This step extends the life of
    the moving components of the vehicle’s suspension system.
  • Check battery cables and posts for corrosion and clean them as
  • Have the lighting system checked frequently, including headlights,
    turn signals, and brakes and taillights.
  • Check windshield wiper blades for cracks, tears and windshield
    contact. Replace them at least once a year or sooner if streaking
  • Inspect engine belts regularly, worn belts will affect engine
    performance as well as disable the vehicle.
  • Have the air filtration system checked every oil change for clogging or
    damage. This system ensures the vehicle is performing at its peak
10 Minute Pre-Trip Checkup Can Pay Off

Car Care Council offers three suggestions for a traveler’s 10-minute pre-trip checklist:
Check all fluids. There are several fluids, in addition to antifreeze, that require attention, including engine oil, power steering, brake and transmission fluids and windshield washer solvent and antifreeze/coolant.

Check hoses and belts. A belt that fails can affect the electrical system, air conditioning and power steering, as well as the cooling system. Cooling system hoses may be deteriorating from within, so old hoses and clamps in marginal condition might need to be replaced. Check the tires. Check tires inflation and inspect the tread for uneven wear, indicating the need for wheel alignment. Also look for bulges and bald spots.

Fuel-saving driving tips include:

Don’t be an aggressive driver — Aggressive driving can lower gas mileage by as much as 33 percent on the highway and 5 percent on city streets, which results in 10 to 66 cents per gallon. Avoid excessive idling — Sitting idle gets zero miles per gallon. Letting the vehicle warm up for one to two minutes is sufficient. Observe the speed limit — Gas mileage decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph. Each mpg driven over 60 will result in an additional 10 cents per gallon. To maintain a constant speed on the highway, cruise control is recommended.

Service Interval Schedule
Vehicle System or Component Check Monthly Check
3,000 Miles
Automatic Transmission
Battery and Cables X
Belts X
Hoses X
Brakes X
Cabin Air Filter X
Chassis Lubrication X
Tire Inflation and
Engine Air Filter X
Engine Oil and Filter X
Exhaust X
Fuel Filter X
Lights X
Brake Fluid
Transmission Fluid
Power Steering Fluid
Shocks I Struts X
Wiper Blades X
Wiper Solvent X