I will admit it – I’m not a car person. I check my fluids and my tire pressure to make sure everything is alright, but I need reminders to get my car done. I finally decide I needed to be a bit more proactive with car care so I decided to get some useful information. If you’re not a car expert or you’re so busy that time flies, this handy guide will help you schedule your car’s major maintenance easily. Just plug it into your calender and and set alerts to give you a heads up on upcoming expenses.

Don’t wait until your annual inspections to find out you have a huge car repair bill coming your way. Plan ahead and even out your car expenses on your monthly cash flow. I’ll share some of the big ones to help you get started.

Oil Changes and Tune-Ups

Oil changes are one of the easiest things you can do to help extend the life of your car. Without having them regularly done, you can do damage to your engine.  While conventional wisdom said you should get an oil change every 3,000 miles, manufacturers have suggested you can do it at least every 5,000 miles. So while engines have improved over the years, that doesn’t give you an excuse to skip out on your oil change. If you have the time, you can do it yourself, or if you prefer, you can get a shop to do it for you.

What exactly are tune-ups? It’s preventative care for your fuel and electrical system. You should look at getting tune-ups every 2 years or 30,000 miles- whichever comes first. Here a re few things that are listed for tune-ups:

  • Change the air filter
  • Replace spark plugs
  • Checking the belts
  • Replace the PCV

When looking at the schedule for tune-ups everyone recommended looking at your owner’s manual. Some mechanics are treating newer cars like older ones and that could cost you more money.

With tune-ups and oil changes, please also factor in how often you use your car. IF you do a lot of travel and put a ton of wear and tear on your car, you’ll have to check on your car more frequently.

Tires and Batteries

I just had 2 of my tires replaced this week. While it wasn’t cheap, getting new tires is better than having one blow out when you’re driving on the highway. You really don’t want to take chances with your tires. Use the penny test to see if your tires need replacing. Place a penny into the groove of your tire. If you see the stop of Lincoln’s head, go ahead and get that replaced as soon as possible.

Again, it can vary based on your driving style and environmental conditions, but tires can last around 50,000 miles. If you’re not sure how many miles you’ve driven with the tires, at the very least you should replace your tires every 6 years.

If you’ve had to get a jump for your car, you know how annoying it is to have a problem with your battery. Try to get track of when you get your battery. The normal life of a car battery is around 3-4 years, depending on a variety of factors. Whenever you get a tune-up, make sure they check the condition of the battery. They may have to clean the terminals.

Thoughts on Car Maintenance

If you’re still unsure of when you should take care of your car’s maintenance, Edmunds has a tool that will break some of them down based on the car model you have. It also include average prices in your area for these services.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on it. How you keep your car regularly maintained? Do you use a calender to keep track of car repairs or do you just wait until something breaks down?