Auto Maintenance

Auto maintenance is nothing like it used to be. In the past, your vehicle required regular replacement of a variety of parts: spark plugs, ignition wires, PCV valves, distributor caps, ignition rotors, and more.

With the exception of spark plugs, technology has replaced most of these with advanced, integrated ignition systems.

Nevertheless, vehicle maintenance is still vital. So what does your vehicle really need in order to maintain it? Put another way: “What am I paying $300, $400, $900 for anyway?”

To simplify car maintenance questions, let’s put the general requirements of today’s vehicle maintenance management into two categories:

  • Tune-Ups
  • Regular Vehicle Maintenance

Tune-Ups

Let’s start with tune-ups. Tune-ups are a thing of the past. As mentioned above, most of today’s vehicles are equipped with advanced technology, which has replaced many wearable parts of the past (points, distributor caps, ignition rotors…etc). While there are still many vehicles on the road with the above parts, they are fading fast.

Today’s tune-ups are incorporated into general automobile maintenance.

So what makes up today’s tune-up?

There are four primary tune-up components:

  1. Air Filters
  2. Fuel Filters
  3. Cabin Filters (also called dust filters, or HVAC filters)
  4. Spark Plugs

Two of these have often extended replacement time intervals or “auto extended maintenance.”

  1. Some fuel filters last the life of the vehicle. Others last 60,000-miles
  2. Many platinum spark plugs last 100,000-miles.

This reduces primary tune-up components down to only two: Air Filters and Cabin Filters.

Air Filters: Some air filters can last 60,000 miles, although most last between 15,000 to 30,000 miles.There are lifetime performance air filters, but these require maintenance.

Cabin filters: Cabin filters filter the incoming air of dust and debris, helping to keep your interior clean and dust and pollen free. They require replacement starting around 10,000 miles. Not every vehicle is equipped with cabin filters.


Maintenance Online Help & Car Maintenance Schedules

Let’s move on to regular vehicle maintenance. Vehicle maintenance management procedures vary, depending on the year, make, and model.

Again, vehicle maintenance is separated from the Tune-Up section above for clarity, not because they’re separate.

Below is a break-down to five vehicle maintenance services:

General Vehicle Maintenance

  1. Oil and Oil Filter Service
  2. Coolant/Antifreeze Flush
  3. Brake System Flush
  4. Transmission Fluid Service
  5. Differential/Gear Box/Transfer Case Services

There is also tire maintenance – rotation, balance, replacement, and alignments. Then there are various maintenance inspections: brakes, front end, under-carriage, belts, hoses, and battery. Lastly, we can’t forget wiper blades and miscellaneous lubrication services. That about covers the extent of vehicle maintenance services for today’s vehicles. It’s not much.

There are two other maintenance services to keep in mind outside of manfacturer recommendations. The first is fuel system cleaning maintenance. Also called fuel injector cleaning auto maintenance. The second is pre road trip car maintenance.

Important note on tire rotation: many manufacturer maintenance sheet guidelines do not cleaerly articulate the importance or the intervals of tire rotations. To keep it simple: rotate your tires approximately every 5,000 miles, as applicable.

If you’re wondering if you need a tune-up, just follow your manufacturer’s maintenance interval. More importantly, find a auto repair shop that will  follow your manufacturer’s maintenance intervals for your specific make and model car.

A final thought: What’s surprising about today’s tune-ups and maintenance services is that the costs have not come down. One would think fewer parts, less work, less money – right?

How come auto maintenance prices are still extraordinarily high?

What’s going on? Learn more @ car repair prices

Vehicle Maintenance Chart

The auto maintenace chart below is just a sample, but will provide a good overview of the simplicity’s of today’s cars andf their maintenace needs. Note there are only a few “replace” sections. While it’s important that the other components get checked periodically for safety and proper function, they’re usually fine.

Maintenance Services
5,000
10,000
15,000
20,000
25,000
30,000
Air Filter
inspect
inspect
inspect
inspect
inspect
replace
Ball Joints
inspect
inspect
Body/Frame
torque
torque
torque
torque
torque
torque
Brake Hoses/Lines
inspect
 
 
inspect
Cabin/Dust Filter
replace
replace
 
Axles/CV Joints
inspect
inspect
inspect
inspect
inspect
inspect
Coolant
replace
Brake System
check
check
check
check
check
check
Drive Belts
 
 
 
Engine Oil & Filter
replace
replace
replace
replace
replace
replace
Exhaust System
inspect
inspect
Auto Trans Fluid
inspect
replace
Man Trans Fluid
 
 
replace
Differential Fluid
 
 
replace
Fuel System/Air Flow
inspect
 
inspect
Spark Plugs
Steering Gear/Rack
 
inspect
inspect
Steering System
inspect
inspect
inspect
inspect
inspect
inspect
Suspension System
inspect
inspect
inspect
inspect
inspect
inspect
Tires, including Spare
rotate
rotate
rotate
rotate
rotate
rotate
Valve Clearance
Alignments
Wiper Blades
Maint  Continued…
35,000
40,000
45,000
50,000
55,000
60,000
60,000-120,000
 
Air Filter
same
same
same
same
same
replace
Ball Joints
same
same
same
same
same
inspect
Body/Frame
same
same
same
same
same
torque
Brake Hoses/Lines
same
same
same
same
same
inspect
Cabin Dust Filter
same
same
same
same
same
replace
Axles/CV  Joints
same
same
same
same
same
inspect
Coolant
same
same
same
same
same
replace
Brake System
same
same
same
same
same
check
Drive Belts
same
same
same
same
same
inspect
Engine Oil & Filter
same
same
same
same
same
replace
Exhaust System
same
same
same
same
same
inspect
Auto Trans Fluid
same
same
same
same
same
replace
Man Trans Fluid
same
same
same
same
same
replace
Differential Fluid
same
same
same
same
same
replace
Fuel System/Air Flow
same
same
same
same
same
inspect
Spark Plugs
same
same
same
same
same
Steering Gear/Rack
same
same
same
same
same
inspect
Steering System
same
same
same
same
same
inspect
Suspension System
same
same
same
same
same
inspect
Tires, including Spare
same
same
same
same
same
rotate
Valve Clearance
same
same
same
same
same
inspect

 

This is an auto maintenance guide. Refer to your manufacturer’s guidelines for your specific car or truck.

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