Just as you take care of your home by performing all the house chores like cleaning the floors, wiping off the dust, and polishing your furniture, similarly your car also demands proper pampering and care for peak performance. The best way to tune up your car is by taking it to your regular servicing station. Most new drivers resort to various sources like automobile magazines and car buying websites to gather information on when to service their cars. In the end, they often can’t make heads or tails of the information as every source has a conflicting opinion.
As a general rule of thumb, every driver should refer to the manufacturer’s manual to follow the correct maintenance schedule for servicing his car. However, if you are settling for a used Toyota Sequoia for sale, things can get pretty confusing on how often your car might actually need servicing. You should consider various factors before you decide on how to play out your car’s maintenance schedule, all of which are covered in this article.
How frequently should you take your car for servicing?
Generally, it is recommended that a car of any vehicle type should be taken for servicing at least once per year. However, if you are an avid driving enthusiast, your car may be subject to more wear and tear along the road, thus requiring more maintenance in the process. Similarly, if your car has borne the test of time for quite some years, your servicing schedule may be more frequent than expected. The car’s fuel type also has an influence on how often it needs servicing. Typically, newer cars under 4 years of age only get a servicing period of 12 months.
Likewise, the various elements of your car require inspection, maintenance, and replacement at various points in your car’s lifeline. For example, engine oil and oil filter are mandatorily cleaned at every service. Brake fluid, transmission fluid, and coolant should at least be inspected every service or even replaced if necessary. The air conditioning system should be carefully inspected every 2 years. For cars with automatic transmission, every service check should be performed once every 12 months or every 12,000 miles.
There are some steps you can undertake right at home to check the fitness of your car:
- Regularly observing the oil and water in your car
- Checking the tire tread and its inflation levels
- Replacing bad or flat tires when necessary
Maintenance reminder systems
Newer cars today come inbuilt with maintenance reminder systems. These advanced systems perform a check on various vehicle operating conditions and decide when it is time for an engine oil change, fluid level checks, component checks, and other maintenance services. With this system, you can trust your car’s inbuilt maintenance reminder system to schedule your service visits on time. Nevertheless, the majority of automakers recommend an oil change every 12 months, even if the maintenance reminder system hasn’t sent an alert yet.
When it comes to older cars, most of these vehicles don’t have the privilege of these high-tech maintenance reminder systems. Instead, these vehicles follow the old-school approach of service based on mileage. Once your car hits the specified mileage limit, it is high time to take your car for a trip to the maintenance shop.
There are two different categorizations based on mileage-based service, the first which is ‘normal’ service allocated to the majority of cars operating in daily conditions and the other which is ‘severe’ service, allocated to cars operating in severe conditions. For cars that fall under ‘severe’ service, there are some operating conditions that must be fulfilled to fall under this category:
- Short trips within 5 miles or fewer
- Extreme climate conditions like hot, cold, or dusty weather
- Constant stop-and-go driving
- Heavy workload owing to towing a trailer or hauling cargo
If you find that your vehicle meets any of the above-mentioned conditions, it is wise to follow a more vigorous schedule based on the recommendations implied by your manufacturer. A proper service schedule to follow for cars with a severe service definition is always mentioned within the owner’s manual. However, if your car is intended for light daily usage only, be careful not to spend too many expenses on car-related services that may be of no use to you.
One mistake that many car owners make on a constant basis is changing the engine oil too often. In the old days, most manufacturers recommended an oil change once every 3,000 miles. However, thanks to the rapid advancements in lubricant technology, today’s modern engines have longer oil change intervals ranging from 5,000 to 7,500 miles.
For engines that use synthetic motor oil, drivers may go as far as 15,000 miles without changing the engine oil. The old gimmick of judging the engine oil condition by only observing its color is no longer valid nowadays. It is best practice to follow the recommended factory maintenance schedule for oil changes and any other services.
Getting your car serviced at proper intervals of time is key to maintaining its fitness levels in prime condition. Often, most drivers fail to notice any issue within their car. As time passes by, this minor issue transitions into something serious and ultimately compromises your safety, adding to your growing list of expenses as well.
A proper maintenance schedule with all the necessary oil changes, filter changes, fluid changes. Etc. can help you avoid that sticky situation. Thus, it is equally important to find a reliable service provider that can address all your car’s issues. With regular maintenance on your side, your car retains its value better and lasts you for a longer period of time.