How Often Should You Get Your Vehicle Serviced?CAR OWNER TIPS Sep 8th, 2015
It’s no secret that getting your vehicle regularly maintained can have a profound effect on the lifetime of your car. However, many people don’t know how often they should get their vehicle serviced – especially if they don’t use it very often.
How often should I get my vehicle serviced?
Although you can consult your owner’s manual for many maintenance checks, knowing what to look for on your own will give a better idea of whether you need to get your car serviced.
You’ve probably heard that you should change your oil every 5,000 kilometres, but that’s just a rule of thumb, and most people find it difficult to remember when that is. That’s why it’s best to learn to check your oil yourself.
Simply pull out the dipstick and run it along your fingers. If the oil is transparent, you’re good to go. However, if the oil is dark and murky, you should strongly consider getting a change in the near future.
Every car owner should learn how to check their fluid levels. Most dipsticks will show you the optimal levels for each fluid, so as long as you’re comfortable with refilling the proper fluid, you should have no problem performing this maintenance check on your own.
Your owner’s manual will tell you how often you should have your tires rotated/realigned, but you can easily check yourself to see if there’s a problem. If you notice uneven wear on your tires (one side of the car has more wear than the other), then you should go to your mechanic immediately to get them realigned. Not only will this help you save on gas, but it will also improve your safety, as you’re also running a risk by driving with irregularly worn tires.
Also, don’t forget to check the pressure of your tires. Having underinflated tires can hurt fuel economy and will decrease handling. This is especially important to check in the winter time, when the roads are slippery and you need all the grip you can get.
This is one thing that’s better left to the professionals. You should take your car in every 6 months (depending on how often you drive), so that a mechanic can make sure your lights, steering, brakes and tires are in optimal condition. Of course, if you notice any problems by yourself, it goes without saying that you should take your vehicle in to get it checked out right away.
This is a check that many people forget to do, but it’s one of the easiest and most effective. As soon as your windshield becomes streaky with your wipers on, you’ll know it’s time for a change. Being able to see the road ahead is crucial, don’t neglect this.
As mentioned earlier, it’s often difficult to remember either how long ago or how many kilometres ago you got your vehicle serviced. Fortunately, there are some apps available for your smartphone that can take away the guesswork. While you shouldn’t rely solely on your phone, it will give you a good estimate of when you should get it checked.
Apps such as “AutoCare,” “Car Maintenance Reminder,” and “aCar,” can be used to track your vehicle’s service records.