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Keep Your Car Going Longer with these Maintenance Tips

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Keeping up with regularly-scheduled maintenance is something any car owner can do to easily maintain a healthy car and save money over time, but according to AAA, “35 percent of Americans have skipped or delayed service or repairs that were recommended by a mechanic or specified by the factory maintenance schedule.”

Ignoring regular maintenance can lead to roadside emergencies and end up costing you more money in the end. To avoid the dreaded “breakdown,” follow the simple tips below and keep your car healthy and happy.

Every 3 months or 3,000 miles

CHECK OIL
Make sure that your oil is clear and clean, and that the levels fall between the two level indication pinholes. Engine oil starts out as a lubricant for your engine’s vital parts but will become sludgy and less effective over time.

TOP OFF FLUIDS
Have you ever been driving down the highway after a snowstorm, with the slush and salt hitting your windshield, and realized you were out of wiper fluid? Add checking and topping-off fluids to your list; you won’t be sorry.

CHECK YOUR TIRES
Checking your tire pressure is easy and can save you from a flat. The lower your tire gets, the higher your chances are of getting a flat. You also don’t want to over-inflate your tires, so make sure to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines when it comes to filling up your tires.

CHECK BELTS AND HOSES
Pop the hood and take a look for any cracked or brittle parts. Make note of the damaged parts and bring your car to the mechanic for replacement or repair.

CHECK WIPERS
Make sure they are clean and tear free; remove any debris. Also check the wiper arm to make sure that it is tight.

Every 6 months or 6,000 miles

ROTATE TIRES
Tires tend to wear unevenly. Your front tires wear on the outside edges while the rear usually wear more evenly. Poor alignment or unbalanced tires can also cause uneven wear. It’s also easy to have your tires rotated during an oil change (6K -10K miles).

Every 12 months or 12,000 miles

CHECK TRANSMISSION FLUID
It is recommended that you inspect your transmission fluid annually. There are a few things to look for, and the Transmission Repair Guy has some great tips.

CABIN AIR FILTER
Keep dust and dirt out of your car, and enjoy more efficient heating and cooling.

Every 30,000 miles

POWER STEERING FLUSH
Old or low steering fluid should be attended to, and you’ll feel the improvement in your car’s handling and performance.

NEW FUEL FILTER
Your fuel filter helps protect your fuel pump. The fuel pump catches particles, debris or impurities in the gas tank before the fuel reaches the pump to ensure only clean gasoline reaches your engine. Recommended every 20K – 40K miles)

ENGINE COOLANT
Heat is your engine’s enemy; replace it’s coolant and avoid expensive fixes.

BRAKE SERVICE
If you notice you are tapping your brakes a little sooner than you used to, it’s probably worth a trip to the mechanic for a checkup. Have your brake fluid flushed as well as an inspection of your brake pads.

CHECK BATTERY
Your car’s battery loses charge and strength over time. Avoid getting stuck somewhere with a dead battery and have your mechanic check your battery’s charge.

Every vehicle is different, so find your vehicle’s exact maintenance needs on Edmund’s Car Maintenance Guide.

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