The key to keeping vehicles running well (today and down the road) is routine maintenance. Yet many drivers tend to stall when it comes to keeping up with some everyday auto-basics. A recent survey by the Car Care Council found:
- 38 percent of cars had low or dirty engine oil.
- 54 percent had low tire pressure.
- 28 percent had inadequate cooling protection.
- 19 percent needed new belts.
- 16 percent had dirty air filters.
- 10 percent had low or contaminated brake fluid.
Although the best source of maintenance information is still your owner's manual, some automaker recommendations can be tricky. They may claim that extended service intervals apply while, in fine print, they specify longer intervals for vehicles used in "normal driving," which they define as high-speed, highway driving. They classify the stop and go driving done around town as "severe driving," and recommend the well supported "every 3000 mile" intervals. One thing is certain, when you bring your vehicle in more often for minor services there will be less chance that problems are overlooked.
Regular maintenance includes services required to maintain the vehicle's warranty, services suggested by the manufacturer to ensure trouble-free operation, and other regular services, such as tune-ups and replacing brake pads, exhaust systems, tires, fluids, and filters.
Below are some general guidelines to help you keep track of regular maintenance. Many of these items will be covered by the Courtesy Check that DMV Clinic performs for free, with most services.
Every 3 months/3K Miles
Every Other 3K Service
Every 15, 000 Miles
Every 30,000 Miles
This schedule is a general one that will apply to most vehicles. Your car may vary and need more frequent checks and replacements than those listed above. Your vehicle may have items that are unique to its make and model. (For instance, some timing belts must be replaced at specific intervals to avoid engine damage.)
If you have lost your owner's manual, or just want to see what parts you need based on the age/mileage of your vehicle use the CCC's Service Interval Tool. Look for the Service Interval button.
Below are links to download a checklist developed by the Car Care Council (in .pdf format)
- Service Interval Schedule - color (.pdf/47 KB)
- Service Interval Schedule - black and white (.pdf/46 KB)
DMV Clinic in the Redwood Auto Care Center
Across the street from the Skyview Drive-In
2335 Soquel Drive
Santa Cruz CA 95065
Monday-Friday/8:00 am-5:00 pm