service notes

Service Intervals

know your car | service intervals |find your way under the hood

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:

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.


  • Inspect Lights
  • Inspect Tire Inflation & Condition
  • Inspect and top-up Windshield Washer Fluid
  • Cleaning

Every 3 months/3K Miles

  • Change Engine Oil and Filter
  • Chassis Lubrication
  • Check Fluid Levels & Condition (Automatic Transmission, Power Steering, Coolant, etc.)
  • Inspect Battery and Cables
  • Inspect Underhood Belts & Hoses
  • Inspect Engine Air Filter
  • Inspect Exhaust System

Every Other 3K Service

  • Rotate tires & balance
  • Consider Oil Additive
  • Inspect & Adjust Brakes




  • Cooling System Flush and Refill (every 40K to 100K miles)
  • Air Conditioning Performance Check


Every 15, 000 Miles

  • Perform all items done at 3K interval plus:
  • Check age & condition of Air Filter (replace every 12-24K miles or as indicated by inspection)
  • Check Coolant Protection(Antifreeze)
  • Service Battery
  • Check Spark Plugs
  • Inspect Steering and Suspension
  • Check Wheel Alignment (Align every 12K to 24K or as indicated by tire wear)
  • Check Wiper Blades
  • Consider Fuel additive
  • Consider Oil additive

Every 30,000 Miles

  • Perform all items done at 3K and 15K interval plus:
  • Replace Air Filter (replace every 12-24K miles or as indicated by inspection)
  • Replace Fuel filter (replace every 24K to 100K as required)
  • Replace Spark Plugs (replace every 30K to 90K as required)
  • Service Transmission (Automatic Transmission flush every 24K to 100K miles as required)
  • Service Cooling System
  • Inspect & Adjust Brakes
  • Battery Service and Check Pads

Every Five to Eight Years

  • Belt and Hose Replacement
  • Engine Timing Belt Replacement

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)

For a Dependable Motor Vehicle
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