Vehicle Maintenance Page 0 - 60k Miles

Use the following matrix to plan regular automotive of your car. This schedule is an excellent source of for:

  • Performing preventive maintenance items yourself possible and suitable
  • Verifying that your auto mechanic’s recommendations appropriate
  • Planning your budget to accommodate necessary future repairs
  • Understand what car repairs are being recommended why
  • Provide an easy to read and understand guide for the person
  • Establish a work history log for your vehicle


This schedule is appropriate for most American, European Japanese automobiles. As always, consult your owner’manual for specific items related to your make and model. Information and instructions in your owner’s supersede this repair schedule, which means that if your recommends replacing the timing belt at 50,000 miles, do not until the 60,000 mark as shown in this matrix.

This guide is meant to supplement manufacturer recommendations for your specific vehicle, should not replace such recommendations. This is not meant to car troubleshooting advice or replace the manufacturers' repair manuals.

Wherever possible we have given recommendations of products that we have found to be reliable and in our opinion, good quality. These recommendations were added to inform vehicle operator of products that may or may not be suitable their specific vehicle. We recommend these products as insight and from personal experiences.

This guide may be reprinted in its entirety with resources and links in place.
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The following matrix covers maintenance items up 60,000 miles. Click on the mileage interval for your vehicle go to a checklist for that specific schedule. 15 (15,000) (20,000) etc.


Car Interval (in thousands of miles)
R=Replace I=Inspect
CLICK ON NUMBERS
FOR EXPLANATIONS
15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 60
1. Air Filter R I I R I I R I R
2. Anti-freeze/Coolant I I R
3. Battery I I I R I I I I
4. Belts
5. Brakes-Pads/Fluid I R
6. Differential I I R I I I I R
7. Fuel Filter R R
8. Radiator Hoses I R
9. Engine Oil I/R I/R I/R I/R I/R I/R I/R I/R I/R
10. Power Steering Fluid I I I R I I I I R
11. Shocks / Struts I I
12. Spark Plugs R
13. Spark Plug Wires R
14. Tires I I I I I I I I I
15. Transmission Fluid I I R I I I I R I
16. Wiper Blades I/R I/R I/R I/R I/R I/R I/R I/R I/R
17. Washer Fluid I I I I I I I I I
18. Exterior Care I I I I I I I I I
19. Timing Belt R
20. Dist Cap / Ignition Rotor I R
21. Lights & Bulbs I I I I I I I I I
22. A/C System I I I I
23. CV Boots/Joints or
Drive Shaft/U-Joints
I I
24. Front Suspension I I I I I


Click Here For 70,- 120,000 mile schedule

Explanations Recommendations

1. Air filter - Replace the filter about every 15,000 miles for normal driving conditions. dirty air filter will not cause the engine to run bad, stall, misfire. A dirty filter can cause reduced fuel economy higher exhaust emission gases. Fram filters offers air, fuel, oil, pcv and interior cabin filters for most cars trucks. We have been using Fram filters in my shop years and they are probably one of the most aftermarket filter brands on the market. You can find best prices on all your auto parts needs here for imports


2. Antifreeze/Coolant -
Inspect: Check the level in the plastic “overflow reservoir” and actual level of coolant inside the radiator. You should be to visually see the coolant level inside the radiator when engine is cold. Caution: remove the radiator cap only after engine has cooled, and it is safe to do so. If antifreeze is dirty or rusty colored, or has lost its heating/anti-freezing capability it should be flushed replaced. Regular life antifreeze is bright green in color, and the newer “extended” longer life antifreeze red in color. Either type can be used but should not mixed together.

Replace: Drain and flush coolant from the radiator and reservoir bottle, inspect heater and radiator hoses and clamps for replacement, and a new radiator cap. A vented replacement radiator cap removes hot steam from the radiator and makes emergency road coolant inspections easier and safer. Prestone is what we use at my and is probably one of the most brands on the market. Prestone also offers a variety of flush equipment and additives.

3. Battery - Check terminals cables--loose or dirty battery cables are a common “start” condition. Cable ends and battery terminals be cleaned with a wire brush and light sand paper periodically remove any corrosion build up. Battery terminal spray coatings can also be helpful in reducing the formation corrosion. I have used A/C Delco batteries for many years find them to be very dependable and 100% maintenance free.

Caution: remove all metal like wrist watches and rings before working around battery—a spark or fire can occur (I have the scars prove it).

BatteryLoad - Battery "load" is how load or drain can be placed on the electrical system before battery begins to discharge itself. Think of it as how electricity the battery can store before having to be recharged. It is not uncommon for batteries to go "flat" or discharged without ever giving a signal to the operator. Have the auto mechanic check the battery condition and load levels at every oil change if the battery is over 2 years old to ensure the battery not leave you unexpectedly stranded.

A weak battery that is not storing enough power will cause alternator to work harder and possibly cause premature failure. Dirty or corroded battery terminals can severely the lifespan of the battery and alternator. A quick inexpensive battery check and cable inspection can be done each oil change. The replacement battery should be the same size, have the same battery cable connections, and should be the electrical capacity as the original battery.

4. Belts - Check for worn or loose belts. should be replaced if they are worn on the edges, frayed, cracked. Do not spray silicone or WD40-type chemicals on a belt—it will usually just make the noise worse. Check tension on each belt, and see if anything is rubbing or coming contact with it. I have been using Gates automotive belts, radiator and heater hoses and timing belts for years and recommend them for aftermarket replacement components.

5. Brakes-
Inspect: Check brake fluid level. The fluid level should only need to slightly topped off occasionally. If more than 2 oz. of fluid needed, the brake system should be inspected for leaks component wear. Add only the recommended type of brake fluid listed in the owner’s manual. Do not add any other fluid the brake fluid reservoir, and keep all foreign objects fingers out of the fluid. The fluid in the reservoir should clear in appearance and free of dirt and debris.

Replace: Brake fluid retains and should be flushed and re-bled (remove the air from system) to keep brakes working effectively.

Check brake pad and shoe wear. Don’t wait until you hear grinding noises to have brakes inspected. Have brakes checked periodically for wear. warning signs of brake problems are: noises when brakes applied, the steering wheel shakes when brakes are applied, needing to add more than 2 oz of brake fluid to the brake reservoir, a soft or squishy brake pedal, or the brake pedal to the floor slowly while brakes are applied.

6. Differential Fluid – (A differential is only found on rear wheel drive cars trucks.)
Inspect: The differential (commonly referred to as the rear end) fluid grease should be checked during each routine oil change topped off as needed with the fluid prescribed in owner’s manual.

Replace: Drain and flush rear end fluid periodically to remove any metal filings that normally accumulated in the differential housing. Replace differential cover gasket and add any recommended additive prescribed in the owner’s manual. I have using Wynn’s differential fluid additives for years strongly believe in their line of fluid additives.

7. Filter - Fuel filters become clogged with dirt and during normal operation and should be replaced to performance, extend fuel pump life, and aid in fuel economy.

8. and Heater Hoses -
Inspect: To check for or bulges with the engine cold, squeeze the radiator hoses one hand at all points along the hose. If soft spots, bulges, a "cracking feeling" is identified, replace ALL hoses at the same time.

Replace: Replace all hoses including heater, bypass, and radiator hoses at the time. The coolant and radiator cap should also be replaced this time.

9. Oil -
Inspect: Check oil when engine is cold and with vehicle on level ground.

Replace: Change oil filter. Check all fluids, tires and air pressure, air filter, belts and hoses and spare tire condition when changing the oil. This is also a great time to clean the corrosion from battery cables. Check owners manual for specific recommendation.

Want to learn more about motor oils? Exposing the Myth of the 3,000 Mile Change

10. Power Steering Fluid

Inspect: Check level. steering fluid can either be pink or clear in color, usually a very small amount is needed to top off fluid level. If than 2 oz. is needed, have the system checked for leaks wear.

Replace: Power steering fluid like any other fluid becomes dirty and contaminated and should replaced with clean fluid periodically. Dirty power fluid can cause the power steering pump or the power gear assemblies to fail and can cause premature wear to occur.

11. Shock Absorbers and Struts -
Inspect: Check for leaks around the shock. Some shocks are filled with oil and visible fluid leak can be detected. Excessive bumpy ride, leaning, or swaying in one direction more than normal on application or around turns can also indicate worn or shocks. I have been using Monroe gas filled shocks and struts many years with great success

Replace: Replace all shocks/struts at the same time to get maximum benefit drivability. In some cases a wheel alignment should be after new struts are installed.

12. Spark Plugs - Worn faulty spark plugs can cause misfire, poor fuel mileage, loss power, and slow or extended starting time. Spark plug should be replaced when replacing spark plugs. Autolite plugs offer spark plugs for just about anything with an engine.

13. Spark Plug Wires - Spark plug wires should be replaced when replacing spark plugs get maximum performance and life expectancy of spark plugs. Consider using Autolite plugs and wires during your next tune up.


14. Tires --
Inspect: Check pressure and wear. Check air pressure cold unless otherwise described in owner's manual. Inspect tires for uneven tread wear, punctures, bulges, or cuts in sidewall of the tire.
The Rack.com has brand name tires, custom wheels, brake and suspension parts at the best prices we have seen. offer a great warranty and drop shipment capability to your repair shop is available. Don't know what size tire your should have?

Rotate and balance: rotation and balancing can greatly extend the life of your tires. Most front end "shake and shimmy" complaints can attributed to out of balance, or out of round tires. Ask mechanic if he would inspect the brakes for free when and balance tires.


15. TFluid -
Inspect: Usually transmission fluid level is checked with the engine hot and park, and with engine running. Check your owner’s for proper fluid type and proper fluid level procedures. Automatic transmission fluid is usually pink color. Most standard "stick" shift transmissions have a drain plug to service the fluid. Some stick transmissions use engine oil as a lubricant; consult owner’s manual when servicing. It could also be a good to have the replacement fluid type information available for repair shop.

Replace: Consult owner manual for proper fluid type and service interval. applicable, replace the internal automatic transmission filter clean the re-usable screen when changing the transmission fluid. A transmission pan gasket will also be required during a change. Some newer model vehicles require special additives, consult yoru owners manual


16. Windshield Wipers --
Inspect: Check wiper for wear and washer fluid level during a regular oil and change. Don’t make the mistake of never thinking replacing or inspecting the wiper blades until you really them

Replace: Some wiper are different lengths for driver and passenger side. Measure blades before replacing with new ones. Some manufactures Anco offer different replacement wiper blade types (i.e. for and ice, off road, and severe duty).

17. Windshield Washer Fluid - Check level. Anti-freezing and water repelling additives also be added to the washer fluid reservoir. Not only will fluid aid in removing dirt from the windshield, but also it act as a lubricant to prolong the life of the wiper blade. rubbing alcohol to the washer fluid can be harmful to the on the wiper blades.

18. ExteriorCare- Regular car washes can remove air borne chemicals "acid rain" that get deposited onto the paint surface, and dull the layer of "clear coating" that is meant protect the paint and help promote shine and luster. Car soap should be used and not dish or household soaps, as chemical makeup can damage the clear coat. Semi-annual waxing the exterior paint surface will help to protect this clear coat. A new wax that seems to be taking the car market by storm is www.5-StarShine.com The only paint with a 5 year guarantee. Just spray your car with water and dirt washes off. 5 Star is the slipperiest substance on Earth! sale now.

19. Timing Belt - Replace scheduled if applicable for your vehicle. Timing belts commonly used on Japanese cars. The timing belt is a rubber that drives the engine’s internal components. The belt is not easily visible and should be replaced at indicated mileage and time not on visual wear like normal drive belt. If the timing belt breaks, the engine and costly internal engine damage can occur. The water pump some vehicles is driven by the timing belt, and should replaced when replacing the timing belt. Consult owner’manual or ask the repair shop if this is the case on your car.

20. Distributor Cap/Rotor – These items should be inspected/when replacing spark plugs and spark plug wires, or when “major tune-up” is called for. The distributor cap where the other end of the spark plug wires connect to, and ignition rotor in underneath the distributor cap. Some model vehicles do not have a distributor at all. These cars designed with Distributorless Ignition Systems (D.I.S.), therefore do not have these parts.

21. Lights and Bulbs – Save yourself the hassle of failing a vehicle inspection or pulled over by the police for a tail or brake light bulb out. Have all lights checked when performing a regular engine change.

22. A/C RefrigeLevel and Pressures - Air conditioning refrigerant known as "Freon" should be checked for proper and level of refrigerant oil periodically. Low Freon refrigerant oil levels can cause premature wear on compressors, and decrease overall performance of the a/c system. Although the a/c system is a sealed unit, it is not uncommon have to add small amounts of refrigerant (Freon) periodically to small leaks and seepage. Freon is a gas that is under pressure and should only be serviced by a trained professional.

23. CV Boots and CV Joints - Used mostly on front wheel drive cars, Constant (CV) joints are shafts that connect the transmission to wheels with knuckle joints on either end of the shaft. The provide the power to turn the wheels by linking the to the wheel. There are two shafts and four joints on most wheel drive cars. CV boots are made of pliable rubber to the CV joint. Torn CV boots allow grease meant to lubricate joint to escape, and allows dirt and debris to enter inside joint. A worn CV joint usually produces a clicking noise from wheel area on hard turns.

Drive Shaft and U-Joints - wheel drive cars and trucks have drive shafts in place of joints that are found on front wheel drive cars. The drive links the transmission to the rear differential to provide to turn the wheels. Most drive shafts have two or three U-connecting the shaft to the transmission and rear differential. The shaft and joints should be checked for wear during engine oil changes. Some U-joints can and should be during the “grease job” portion of the oil change.

24. Front End Alignment - front end components of a vehicle can be out of alignment, not give any indication or warning signs. Shimmying and shakes the front end are usually not caused by the car being “of alignment,” but by out of balance or lack of with the tires. The vehicle pulling to one side, or unusual wear are the two most common “out of alignment” warning signs. Check the alignment and all wearable parts in front end periodically. Always have the front end aligned replacing tires. A front end alignment is commonly referred to a "four wheel alignment" these days. Some to the rear alignment are available on most newer model vehicles, thus the term four wheel alignment.