Basic Car Maintenance Services That Can Make All the Difference

Whether you do it yourself or prefer to leave it to the professionals, there are some basic car maintenance services that you shouldn't skip.
  1. Change your oil according to your manufacturer's maintenance schedule. By not changing your engine's oil, you run the risk of leaving it without enough lubrication for its critical components to move easily – and allowing your engine to become overwhelmed with rust and sludge that naturally forms when engine oil becomes contaminated through regular use. All of this can increase friction in your engine and damage or destroy it – causing you to pay hundreds, if not thousands, in repairs. Sadly, even though this is one of the most important car maintenance tips, it's also one of the most ignored.
  2. Rotating your tires. When you rotate your tires, you're helping the tread wear more evenly and effectively increasing the mileage you'll get from them.
  3. Flushing your coolant. Just like your engine, your car's cooling system needs to be flushed and replenished in order to eliminate the rust and sludge that forms over time. By performing this basic car maintenance service according to your owner's manual (typically every two years), you can help protect your vehicle from the extreme heat generated by the engine and keep your car in tip-top shape.
  4. Replace your brake fluid annually. Brake fluids are hygroscopic and can (and do) absorb moisture from the atmosphere. This moisture causes your braking system's components to corrode and, in some cases, even fail. To prevent a small problem from becoming a larger, more expensive issue, replace your brake fluid and bleed your system once each year.
  5. Change your transmission fluid as recommended. Transmission fluid, like many other fluids used in your vehicle, serves as both lubrication and coolant. If you don't perform this basic car maintenance service according to the manufacturer's recommended maintenance schedule, you'll eventually be lubricating your transmission with virtually nothing more than contaminants that have been lifted out of the transmission by the fluid. Not only will this shorten your transmission's lifespan, but it could cost you plenty in repairs.
Finally, don't forget that the best way to avoid major problems is to take care of them as they arise. So, in addition to following the car maintenance tips above – if your steering feels a little off, your car starts running a bit hotter than usual, or your engine just doesn't sound quite right, investigate the issue further and have any problems fixed as quickly as possible.