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What to Include in Your Maintenance Schedule

You hear it all the time, but proper maintenance is essential to prolonging your vehicle’s lifetime.  Without appropriate care, your vehicle could run into some serious problems down the road, which could in turn cost you a considerable amount of money.

Here’s what you should be including in your maintenance schedule:

OIL CHANGE

This is often the most debated part of a typical maintenance routine, with modern car manufacturers claiming you can longer and longer without an oil change.

While this may be true, it’s likely not worth the risk to go too long without an oil change, especially considering the cost typically outweighs the benefit.

Realistically, you should go about 5,000-10,000 kilometres between changes or every 3-4 months – whichever is sooner. Of course, be sure to check with your specific manufacurer and owner’s manual.

AIR FILTER

Along with your oil, your air filter is the other item you’ll want to change on a regular basis.

A clean air filter will improve both your performance and fuel economy, and should be replaced every 20,000-30,000 km.

FLUID

Arguably nothing is more dangerous than having your brakes fail on you, so it’s absolutely crucial that you don’t forget to replace your brake fluid when the time comes.

In general, your brake fluid should be flushed every couple of years, but you should always bring your car to be looked at immediately if you sense even the slightest problem with your brakes.

Both your transmission and power steering fluid can be replaced approximately every 50,000 km in order to ensure proper performance.

TUNE-UPS

While tune-ups aren’t as necessary as they were back in the day, your spark plugs and filters should be replaced every once in a while to keep your car running smoothly. Be sure to check with your manufacurer and owner’s manual.

TIRE ROTATION/PRESSURE

Regularly rotating your tires and checking their pressure will help to improve fuel economy, performance, and most importantly, your own safety.

You should have your tires rotated about once every 10,000 kilometres to avoid uneven wear, while checking them on the daily to ensure they’re properly inflated.

LIGHTS

It’s important to replace your lights before they fail, as you could be putting yourself into a potentially dangerous situation otherwise.

Since the lifespan of a lightbulb varies significantly, it’s best to check them regularly to detect any issues ahead of time.

BELTS AND HOSES

Have your rubber hoses, drive belt and timing belts checked periodically to ensure there isn’t any wear and tear. Most mechanics recommended replacing your timing belt every 4-5 years or every 80,000-100,000 kilometres – whichever comes sooner.

A broken timing belt can completely cripple your engine, so don’t wait until something goes wrong to have it replaced.

MAKE YOUR OWN SCHEDULE

Unless you have a great memory, you’ll likely forget the last time you had certain parts replaced, which could throw your maintenance schedule completely out of whack.

Either track your vehicle’s maintenance yourself with a pen and paper, or download one of the numerous apps online to make sure you’re not forgetting anything.