Keeping up with vehicle maintenance is critical if you intend to keep your car beyond its warranty period. Just as with your own health, your actions when your car is young will impact it well into old age. The better you manage your vehicle's maintenance needs, the less time you'll spend repairing and maintaining it at high mileage.
Unfortunately, it's easy to let maintenance tasks fall by the wayside, especially when you're busy or times are tough. These four tips will help you manage your car's maintenance schedule so that deferred maintenance now doesn't cost you thousands of dollars in the future.
1. Keep Records
If you bought your car new (or lightly used), you have an excellent opportunity to get started on the right foot with long-term service records. Keeping service records is easy and can be as simple as a folder where you store receipts and invoices. Maintaining records will allow you to remember when you last performed maintenance tasks and may even increase your car's resale value.
At a minimum, you should consider keeping a log of mileage and dates for oil changes, air filter changes, and similar jobs. You can use this information to quickly decide if it's time for your next service visit.
2. Follow Manufacturer Recommendations
Sticking with your manufacturer's recommended service intervals is another easy way to keep to a maintenance schedule. Your manufacturer should recommend specific services at set intervals. If you schedule your maintenance visits following these recommendations, you'll never need to worry about missing an oil change or waiting too long for new brake pads.
3. Schedule Inspections
Inspections are a crucial part of preventative maintenance that allows you to anticipate problems and deal with them before they lead to breakdowns or other costly failures. If your manufacturer provides inspection recommendations with their service schedule, you should follow those. If not, consider routine brake and tire inspections at least once per year.
The good news is that you can often pair these inspections with other routine maintenance tasks, such as having technicians check your brakes when you rotate your tires. This approach will save you money while also ensuring that you can spot problems as soon as possible.
4. Avoid Deferred Maintenance
Remember that it's better to schedule maintenance work too often than too infrequently. Deferring maintenance oil changes, brake pad replacements, or belt inspections and replacements can lead to much more expensive problems in the future. In many cases, the difference between a well-maintained vehicle and a poorly maintained one simply comes down to timing.
Contact a company like Greg's Japanese Auto Parts and Service to learn more.