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What are the Best Methods for Car Maintenance?

By Phil Shepley
Updated Feb 15, 2024
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A car can be one of the worst investments you'll ever make. Many vehicles depreciate in value quickly, mostly depending on how many miles they have accrued and whether or not they have been damaged from accidents or lack of care. Maintaining a car or truck is one of the most important things that one can do to ensure that it retains its value over time. This can also increase the value of the investment by making the car run reliably for as long as possible. Some maintenance methods include regular oil changes, tire rotation and tune-ups. New owners may benefit from a visit to their mechanic, who can usually recommend a regular maintenance schedule.

The required maintenance for a new vehicle is usually spelled out with much detail in the vehicle’s manual. It is very important to find this maintenance schedule and follow it, not only because it is designed to prevent future problems, but also because not following it may void the warranty of the car. Many people make the mistake of assuming that a new vehicle needs little or no car maintenance until problems occur. The schedule itself includes maintenance that needs to be done once the car reaches specific mileage milestones.

The necessary car maintenance of a used vehicle can be trickier to determine, especially if the owner doesn’t know the previous history of the car. If this is the case, it may be necessary to seek out a qualified and reliable mechanic to assess the vehicle’s maintenance needs—a step which is essential before purchasing a used car. The mechanic can assess any immediate problems, as well as making the driver aware of any future needs of the vehicle.

Oil changes are one of the most important vehicle services needed for prolonging the life of any car. Older oil is less effective as a lubricant, and it's also dirtier, which can lead to engine problems if left unchanged. The intervals for when this car maintenance is necessary depends on many factors, such as the type of car, vehicle mileage, type of oil, and age of the car. Nowadays, the use synthetic oil allows a car to travel significantly farther between oil changes, and vehicle manuals will typically specify that a car gets new oil and a filter between 3000 miles (4828 km) and 10000 miles (16093 km), or about every six months. Thrifty car owners will also often change their own oil, which can save money as well as time. It is equally important to check the oil level frequently, especially in older cars.

Since an oil change happens at frequent intervals, it is usually a good time to receive additional car maintenance. Shops will usually offer additional maintenance services, such as tire rotations, which are essential for prolonging tire life. Visual inspections are also almost always offered on other vehicle fluids and components. Mechanics can detect leaks and assess other possible vehicle malfunctions, such as worn out brakes and windshield wipers. A tune-up is another necessary type of vehicle maintenance for replacing old or worn parts, which will increase the overall mileage of the car.

Never underestimate the value of preventive vehicle maintenance. It will not only guarantee longer vehicle life and higher resale values, but your safety and security as well. The best way to make sure your car is well maintained is to keep a record of all the work that has been done on it. If the vehicle's manual does not explain in detail the necessary maintenance, a qualified auto mechanic will be able to do so. Be sure to take notes, and follow the recommendations necessary for not only protecting your investment, but also making it a much safer and more secure ride.

WikiMotors is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By Talentryto — On Feb 18, 2014

Never underestimate the importance of following your car's maintenance schedule if you want your car to last for years. Having recommended car maintenance performed can be the difference between a smoothly-running car and costly car repairs bills.

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