Vehicle Maintenance Guide

  • Body
  • Engine
  • Frame
  • Tires
  • Cabin Air Filter

    Replace every 12,000 to 15,000 miles.1

  • Headlights2

    • Replace halogen lights after about 1,000 hours.
    • LEDs have 20 times the lifespan of halogen lights. Replace them after 20,000 hours.
  • Wiper Arms and Blades3

    • Windshield wiper arms have an average lifespan of 2 to 3 years.
    • Replace the rubber blades every 6 to 12 months.
  • Battery

    Test and replace the battery after 3 to 5 years. Mileage doesn’t count – a battery will age even sitting in a garage.4

  • Coolant (Antifreeze)

    Change after 30,000 to 50,000 miles.5

  • Engine Air Filter

    Replace every 15,000 to 30,000 miles, or every 3 years if you don’t drive often.6

  • Hoses

    Fluid hoses should be replaced every 4 years.7

  • Oil

    • Old rule of thumb: Change motor oil every 3,000 miles or 3 months, whichever comes first.8
    • New take: More vehicles now run on synthetic oil, which can last from 7,500 to 10,000 miles.9
  • Power Steering Fluid

    Replace every 2 years, or about every 30,000 to 100,000 miles.10

  • Spark Plugs11

    • Replace copper tip plugs after 30,000 miles.
    • Replace platinum and iridium tip plugs after about 100,000 miles.
  • Timing Belts

    Replace every 60,000 to 100,000 miles.12

  • Transmission Fluid13

    • Automatic: Change after 60,000 to 100,000 miles.
    • Manual: Change every 30,000 to 60,000 miles. Under heavy-duty use, every 15,000 miles.
  • Windshield Washer Fluid

    Refill at every service interval or change of seasons.14

  • Chassis Lubrication

    Inspect and grease every 6 months.15

  • Exhaust System

    Inspect periodically for corrosion or signs of damage.16

  • Brakes

    Replace brake pads every 25,000 to 70,000 miles, depending on driving habits and environment.17

  • Tire Check18

    • Check tire inflation and tread depth every 1,000 to 3,000 miles.
    • Rotate tires, if necessary, every 10,000 miles.
    • Have wheels aligned every two years, or every 15,000 to 30,000 miles.

It’s something you may not think about every day behind the wheel, but your car is a complex machine. The inner and outer parts of your vehicle, from the spark plugs to the wiper blades, work in unison to ensure that you can drive safely and peacefully – without needing to pay attention to the intricate machinery surrounding you. However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep track of basic auto maintenance.

Aside from unforeseen times you may need to bring your car to a mechanic for repairs, you should get in the habit of practicing preventive maintenance for car parts that need regular tuneups, whether it’s replacing an air filter, refilling the power steering fluid or changing your motor oil. These steps make sure that your car continues functioning properly and may help avoid some of those unexpected issues later.

But how often do you get a car serviced? As it turns out, it depends on the part. Some need to be checked after a certain number of miles, while others follow a steady cadence based on your calendar, such as every few months or years. When in doubt, refer to the owners manual to learn the particular vehicle maintenance your car requires.

Staying on top of preventive maintenance is an important part of being a responsible car owner. Fortunately, you don’t need to memorize a car maintenance schedule, but can refer to, your owners manual and your mechanic’s recommendations.

Now you know when to check up on your car, but do you know how? Read these maintenance tips you can try yourself.