Car Maintenance by The Mile…Or Km
Every vehicle manufacturer has a car maintenance schedule that they recommend you follow to keep your car running in tip-top shape.
While these car maintenance schedules may vary based on things like the oil you use, the climate where you live and what kind of vehicle you’re driving (and how often), they generally remain the same for every car (give or take a few km).
By keeping up with these suggested schedules, you are keeping the right parts greased, preventing damage, and in the end, you’ll get the most out of your vehicle with proper care.
Just like us as we age, we require a little extra “maintenance” here and there to keep our bodies working.
The average Canadian spends around $800 a year on car maintenance, and this number goes up as the car ages.
However, paying close attention to your odometer and having the necessary maintenance done can lower those costs by preventing more significant damage to the vehicle.
Every 4,800-11,000 km | 3,000-7,000 miles: Oil Changes
Oil changes are essential to your vehicle’s engine’s health and probably #1 in car maintenance. Ignoring them can result in significant problems (like a totally wrecked engine).
The type of oil you use will determine how often it needs to be changed.
Conventional Oil Change – Every 5,000 km
If you’re always getting a conventional oil change, then the lower end of the km range (around 5,000) is recommended for an oil and filter change.
Synthetic Oil Change – Every 10,000 km – 11,000 km
If you’re using synthetic, you’ll get a bit more out of it and can have it changed around the 10,000-11,000 km mark. Since synthetic oil has fewer impurities than conventional oil, it can go for a more prolonged duration between oil changes.
Premium Synthetic Blend Oil Change – Every 7,000 km – 8,000 km
Premium synthetic blend oil is a mix of conventional and synthetic oil. This blend gives a similar performance to the full synthetic oil change but at nearly the same cost as a conventional oil change.
Every 25,000-50,000 kms | 9,300-18,000 miles: Filters
There are filters of all kinds in most modern vehicles, including air filters, cabin air filters, fuel filters, and transmission filters.
Air Filter Replacement
Around the 25,000-50,000 km mark, you’ll want to have the air filter replaced. A clogged air filter makes it harder for the engine to breathe and negatively affects how your engine runs.
Cabin Air Filters
If you’re driving down dusty roads on your commute to work, it would be wise to change the air filter closer to the 25,000 km range. Cabin air filters purify the air you breathe through your car’s vents and gets rid of bad smells.
When you hit 50,000 km on your dash, it’s ideal to have the fuel filter checked and replaced if needed. A mechanic can do a pressure test to determine the fuel filter’s overall “health.”
The transmission filter keeps contaminants out of your transmission fluid. So it’s essential to keep clean. Be sure you’re getting it replaced every 25- 50,000kms.
Before Hitting 96,000 km | 60,000 miles: Heating & Cooling, Safety, Suspension and General Checkover
At this point, you should ensure your vehicle has been thoroughly checked over, including your brakes, suspension, heating & cooling systems and battery.
Brakes, brakes and brakes. Before you reach 96,000 km (give or take a few), you should be getting your rotors, pads, shoes, brake fluid checked and replaced.
Your brakes are the one area of the vehicle that you should not mess around with by skipping maintenance. They are the most important vehicle safety feature and should be checked regularly.
This km range will vary depending on the amount you drive and the road conditions you’re driving on.
Most repair shops will do a brake inspection when you go in for other maintenance like oil changes. If they find and diagnose any brake concerns, get them fixed right away.
Coolant flows through the vehicle’s radiator and keeps the engine from overheating.
Around the 96,000 km mark, when you’ve booked in for car maintenance, replace any needed coolant and book your vehicle in for a full coolant system flush.
Having troubles shifting? It could be low transmission fluid.
Get the fluid checked and topped up if needed. Low transmission fluid will cause issues shifting and can ruin the transmission.
If your transmission fluid is a dark red or brownish colour, it’s time to have it changed. If it’s pink and has a sweet smell to it, then it’s still okay.
Again these are just guidelines, and you need to read the schedule for your exact vehicle.
Those that tow heavy loads or that have manual transmissions may need the transmission fuel serviced before 96,000 km.
Your car battery is designed to wear out over time, not with a particular mileage. Most car batteries are made to last about 4-5 years, which means that they need to be replaced right around the 96,000 km range.
Before 144,000 km | 90,000 miles: Belts, Hoses, Spark Plugs & Power Steering
144,000 km means your car has been doing its job and is getting you around. Some drivers can go 15 years before reaching 144,000 km, while others hit this a lot sooner.
Regardless of when you hit it, it means that your vehicle is due for some more routine car maintenance.
Timing Belt or Chain
If your vehicle has a timing belt (rather than a timing chain), it’s essential to have it checked periodically. A failed timing belt can mean a destroyed engine (and a big bill).
If you’ve got a timing chain, it’s wise to have this checked often as the car ages. If the chain begins to skip teeth, it can smash into the engine and cause irreparable damage.
If your car is having trouble starting or you’ve got a check engine light on, it could be your spark plugs. These wear out over time and cause your engine to run on fewer cylinders.
The hoses in your vehicle that carry coolant and power steering fluid are all made of rubber. Over time they age, and extreme weather changes can cause the rubber to crack, leaving you with leaks.
Let’s face it, 144,000 km is a lot for your vehicle’s engine. So proper car maintenance will ensure that you get double (or triple) that amount out of your car before it goes to the wreckers.
If you take care of your vehicle with regular maintenance, your vehicle will reward you with a long, happy life and hopefully fewer repair bills and trips to the mechanic.
The average car is designed to last around 200,000 miles or 321,000 km, but tons of vehicles on the road far surpass those numbers.
If you get ahead of your maintenance and replace things before they break, you can easily get double that (or more) out of a reliable make and model.
If you’ve accidentally overlooked some of these checkpoints, like the brakes, for example, and ended up driving over the neighbour’s mailbox, give CSN JD Collision a call, and we’ll get that front bumper repaired and straightened out for you.
We can’t help the mailbox, but we can make sure your car shows no evidence that it was you who took it out.