Learn How Regular Car Maintenance Can Save You $$$$

All vehicles need regular maintenance and care to function properly and last for several years. Unfortunately, many drivers never learn how to take care of their cars and quickly run into problems. You can avoid costly repairs by keeping up with your car’s needs, like oil changes, tire rotations and part replacement.

Although the cost of performing car maintenance might deter you from getting it done, keep in mind that the cost of repairing it is usually far worse. You can save thousands of dollars at the body shop by performing regular upkeep for your vehicle. Not sure where to start? Continue reading to learn about some basic car care needs.

Oil Changes 101: How Often Should You Do It?
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Every car that runs on gasoline needs an oil change periodically. A common rule of thumb is to change the oil every 3,000 to 5,000 miles. However, this is only a rough estimate. Your vehicle and your driving habits determine how often you should get an oil change. 

There are three basic factors that determine the frequency of your car’s oil changes:

  • The age of your vehicle. The older the car, the more often you should change the oil.
  • How much you drive. The more often you drive, the more oil your car is using to function properly, which means you should change it more often to keep it clean.
  • How hard you drive. Driving fast, revving the engine or stopping and starting frequently can cause your car to use up more oil.

Just like you don’t want to miss an oil change, you don’t want to change it too often. Newer cars can often go much longer between changes. For instance, your vehicle’s manual might state that you only need an oil change every 7,000 to 10,000 miles. This is far less often than the general rule of thumb explained above, saving you hundreds of dollars in unnecessary changes.

Some cars have an electronic oil check, while others do not. Here’s how you can check your oil manually.

  1. Pop the hood.
  2. Locate the oil dipstick.
  3. Pull the dipstick out completely and wipe it with a cloth.
  4. Place the dipstick back into the engine compartment, then pull it out and look at the marker. If the oil does not reach the marker line, you likely need to add more oil.

In some cases, your car might only need to be “topped off” with oil rather than changed out completely. Some older cars burn through more oil, so it’s best to check your oil level every month or two to ensure it has enough to function. 

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