Oil Change and Other Maintenance
Keeping up with your car's routine maintenance will help it run for many, many years. A simple $20 maintenance job can add years of life to your car's engine. If you own a vehicle, you need to understand the importance of having a regular oil change and other routine maintenance.
An oil change involves taking out the old lubricant from your car's engine and replacing it with fresh fluids. This is essential, because engine oils gather debris while they circulate through vehicle engines, and that debris keeps the lubricant from functioning properly. Eventually it can gum up your vehicle’s engine, increase wear and tear on engine parts, and keep your engine from functioning well.
When you have an oil change, you should also have the other fluids in your vehicle serviced and, if necessary, replaced. This includes steering fluid, transmission fluid, and coolant. Talk to your mechanic about the proper levels for these fluids, and have him check to make sure they are still clean and at their proper levels whenever you have your regular maintenance done. Many mechanics will recommend a coolant and transmission fluid flush from time to time to ensure that these fluids are clean and fresh. They do not pick up debris as quickly as the engine lubricant does, but they can still become dirty.
Another aspect of your car's regular routine maintenance is its brakes. The brake pads on your vehicle get run down over time. These need to be replaced as needed. The length of time you will go between replacing the brake pads will vary tremendously based on the way you drive your vehicle. The more often you use your brakes, the more quickly the pads will need to be replaced. Talk to your mechanic about signs that it's time to replace your pads, which may include sounds from your brakes.
You may want to include tire rotation on your list of routine maintenance. Rotating your tires, perhaps every other time you have an oil change, will help them to wear evenly. This will prevent uneven tread wear, which can lead to blowouts and flat tires at inopportune times.
You will also want to replace your windshield wipers from time to time. This will keep you from being in a situation where your wipers do not clear your windshield well. Consider rubber clad blades if you live in an area where it gets icy in the winter. You may also want to swap out your washer fluid for a de-icing washer fluid in the winter, and then switch to one that eliminates bugs from the windshield in the warm months.
Whenever you have your vehicle serviced for maintenance, take the time to check all of your vehicle’s lights. Don't forget the emergency blinkers and turn signals. If any are burnt out, replace them. Driving without properly functioning lights is dangerous.
Remember, routine maintenance should go beyond the oil change. By taking care of all parts of your vehicle now, you will ensure that it runs reliably for a very long time.