Every vehicle is made up of thousands of different parts. Each part plays an important role, so if even one of them stops working correctly, it could affect your vehicle’s performance. Many car owners wait until something breaks to search for a “mechanic near me,” but you shouldn’t wait until there is a problem to contact a mechanic. Performing regular maintenance checks is the key to keeping your car running smoothly.
Regular maintenance checks can help you identify and address potential issues with your vehicle before they become major problems. Keeping up with routine maintenance checks can also extend the life of your vehicle and improve its performance.
Many car owners know that there are benefits to performing regular maintenance checks, but they aren’t sure what type of maintenance schedule they need to follow to keep their car in good condition. Every car’s maintenance needs are unique, but here are some general guidelines you can follow when learning how to care for your vehicle:
Normal vs. Severe Maintenance Schedules: What’s the Difference?
Turn to the maintenance section in your owner’s manual to see the maintenance schedule recommended by your vehicle’s manufacturer. Most owner’s manuals will include both normal-duty and severe-duty maintenance schedules, which are often referred to as Schedule A and Schedule B.
Car owners with “normal” driving habits should follow the normal-duty maintenance schedule, whereas car owners with “severe” driving habits should follow the severe-duty maintenance schedule. Before you decide which schedule is right for you, it’s important to understand what driving habits are considered “severe.”
You may need to stick to the severe-duty maintenance schedule if you regularly engage in one or more of these driving habits:
- Towing heavy loads or carrying heavy items on top of your vehicle
- Driving on rough, muddy, sandy, or gravel-covered surfaces
- Traveling at less than 50mph for long periods of time
- Driving in bumper-to-bumper traffic
- Operating your vehicle in extremely hot, humid, or cold climates
- Taking short trips of less than five miles
These driving habits are considered severe because they can strain and put extra wear and tear on your vehicle. As a result, car owners with these driving habits may need to perform maintenance checks more frequently.
General Vehicle Maintenance Guidelines
Recommended maintenance schedules vary from vehicle-to-vehicle, so it’s best to consult your owner’s manual to determine when it’s time to call a mobile mechanic for maintenance services. You can also follow these general maintenance guidelines for car owners with normal-duty driving habits:
Monthly Maintenance Services
Get in the habit of performing these maintenance checks on a monthly basis:
- Exterior lights: Test your low beam and high beam headlights, tail lights, brake lights, emergency lights, and turning signal lights once a month. If a light is out, get it replaced right away.
- Tires: Walk around the outside of your car to examine your tires. Look for cuts, punctures, bumps, bulges, cracks, or other signs of damage.
- Windshield wiper fluid: Pop your hood and check your windshield wiper fluid levels every month. Add more fluid if you are running low to ensure you can always keep your windshield clean.
- Engine oil: Check your engine oil level, too. Pull the dipstick out and wipe off the oil. Then, stick the dipstick back in and push it as far down as it can go. Take the dipstick out again to measure the current level of oil in your vehicle. If the oil level falls below the “low” mark on the dipstick, you will need to add more oil to keep your car running smoothly.
- Interior and exterior: Take the time to clean the interior and exterior of your car when it gets dirty. Regular cleanings can prevent damage caused by the buildup of dirt and debris.
While you should not need to hire a mechanic to perform these basic maintenance checks, you can most definitely schedule an appointment with one if you spot an issue while performing these checks.
3-Month or 3,000-Mile Maintenance Services
Each car has its own specific maintenance intervals. You can find your vehicle’s recommended schedule in your owner’s manual. Below are some typically recommended services around the three months or 3,000-mile mark:
- Automatic transmission fluid: A mechanic can check your automatic transmission fluid level as part of your routine 3-month maintenance service. More fluid may need to be added to your vehicle if the current level is low.
- Battery and cables: Every three months, a mechanic should check the cables on your battery to make sure they are not loose. A mechanic can also inspect the battery for corrosion or other signs of issues.
- Belts: You will also need to inspect your vehicle’s V-belts and serpentine belts to confirm that they are not loose. If there is fraying or other visible signs of damage, the belts may need to be replaced.
- Engine oil: Get an oil change to remove used dirty oil from your vehicle’s engine. Look in your owner’s manual to find out what type of oil the manufacturer recommends using in your vehicle.
- Engine air filter: This filter should be white or off-white. It should be easy to tell if it is covered in dirt and debris and needs to be replaced.
- Hoses: There are various types of hoses in your vehicle that connect to the radiator, heater, air conditioner, and other components. During this 3-month service, a mechanic can inspect these hoses for signs of damage to determine if they need to be replaced.
- Power steering fluid: This involves checking your vehicle’s power steering fluid and adding more fluid if necessary.
- Tire condition: Part of your 3-month maintenance service will involve a tire inspection, which includes checking the air pressure and tread depth. Based on the results of this inspection, a mechanic may need to add air or replace damaged tires.
- Tire rotation: This involves repositioning your tires by moving the front tires to the back and the back tires to the front. Performing this service can extend the life of your tires.
- Exhaust: A mechanic can inspect your exhaust for signs of damage or leaks and repair or replace this component if necessary.
6-Month or 6,000-Mile Maintenance Services
Most vehicles will typically need these maintenance services every six months or 6,000 miles traveled:
- Chassis lubrication: Many newer vehicles are designed with “lifetime-lubricated” parts, which means they won’t need this service. However, if your vehicle does not have lifetime-lubricated parts, schedule a chassis lubrication. This service involves lubricating the moving parts to minimize moisture contamination and wear and tear.
- Wiper blades: Windshield wiper blades are made out of rubber, which slowly degrades and becomes less effective over time. Plan on getting your wiper blades replaced every six months to ensure you can always see through your windshield clearly.
12-Month or 12,000-Mile Maintenance Services
These maintenance services are typically recommended every 12 months or 12,000 miles traveled:
- Brakes: Ask a mechanic to inspect every part of your braking system, including the brake pads, brake fluid, brake linings, and rotors. A mechanic can determine whether any of these parts need to be repaired or replaced.
- Cabin air filter: The cabin air filter, which is not the same as the engine air filter, is responsible for removing dust, pollen, and other debris from the air before it enters your cabin (inside of your car). It’s best to get this filter replaced once per year.
- Steering and suspension: A mechanic can inspect and perform necessary repairs on your vehicle’s shocks, struts, wheel bearings, wheels, coil springs, tie rod ends, ball joints, and other components of the steering and suspension system.
Other Important Maintenance Services
Some very important maintenance services will fall outside the 3, 6, and 12-month guidelines listed above. These services include:
- Battery test: Set a reminder to get your battery tested on a regular basis starting when it is three years old. This way, you can replace a dying battery before it causes issues with starting your car.
- Tire replacement: Tires can typically last around 50,000 miles or 6 years. However, the lifespan of your tires could vary depending on your driving habits and road conditions.
- Spark plug replacement: Most automotive manufacturers recommend replacing spark plugs after 30,000 miles. Ask your mechanic to check your spark plugs after you log 30,000 miles to keep your engine running smoothly.
- Brake pad replacement: Your brake pads will need to be replaced every 25,000 to 65,000 miles, depending on a number of factors including your driving habits and road conditions.
- Timing belt replacement: Automotive manufacturers typically recommend replacing your timing belt every 60,000 to 90,000 miles.
- Coolant: Your engine’s coolant will need to be replaced at certain intervals. Some manufacturers recommend replacing the coolant every 30,000 miles, whereas others recommend every 60,000 miles. Check your owner’s manual to find out how often your coolant needs to be replaced.
What Car Issues Should Be Addressed Immediately?
There are certain car issues that need to be addressed immediately, including:
- Check engine light: This light can turn on for a number of different reasons. Sometimes it’s a minor issue such as a loose gas cap, but it is often a more serious issue that needs to be addressed right away. Let a mobile mechanic diagnose the underlying issue and make the necessary repairs.
- Tire pressure light: The tire pressure light will turn on when the pressure in one or more of your tires is too low. Driving on underinflated tires is not safe, so you will need to get your tires inspected as soon as possible.
- Fluid leaks: If you see fluid leaking out of your vehicle, it could be engine oil, power steering fluid, brake fluid, coolant, or transmission fluid. Your vehicle needs all of these fluids to function properly, so if one is leaking, this could create serious problems.
- Strange noises: You shouldn’t wait to contact a mechanic if your vehicle starts making unusual noises. Listen for banging, squeaking, squealing, grinding, and clicking noises. If you hear anything unusual, it’s time to contact a mechanic.
- Performance issues: Slow acceleration, rough idling, higher fuel consumption, engine misfires, and other performance issues are all signs that there is something wrong with your vehicle. A mechanic can inspect your vehicle and perform the necessary repairs.
If these issues arise, contact a mobile mechanic right away. Do not wait until your regular maintenance service appointment to get these issues addressed.
How to Keep Track of Basic Maintenance and Repairs
It’s easy to forget which maintenance services were performed on your vehicle and when. If you aren’t sure when your car was last serviced, you may not know when it’s time to go back for the next round of regular maintenance services.
To avoid this problem, keep a small notebook in your glove compartment. Use this notebook to track every repair or maintenance service performed on your vehicle. Every time your car is serviced, write down the date and type of service performed. You may even want to write down the name of the auto repair shop or mechanic who performed the service in case you need this information later.
You can also use a smartphone app to keep track of your vehicle’s maintenance and repairs. For example, the Simply Auto app allows you to track your car’s maintenance and set upcoming maintenance reminders. You can even upload your receipts to the app so you can track your expenses.
There are many other smartphone apps just like this that make it easy to log all of your vehicle’s maintenance services. If you don’t want to use an app, you can simply set reminders on your smartphone so you don’t forget when it’s time to schedule your next maintenance service.
How to Schedule Maintenance Services With A Mobile Mechanic Near Me
It’s easy to schedule maintenance services for your vehicle with a mobile mechanic. You can call 877-907-6484 or visit our website to book a service appointment with one of our highly qualified mobile mechanics. Tell us more about your vehicle and what type of maintenance services you would like to schedule to reserve your appointment.
A mobile mechanic will travel to your home or office at the date and time of your appointment. Our mechanics will always come prepared with all of the tools and equipment they need to perform the requested services. Our team is able to perform about 90% of all repairs and maintenance services on-site at your home or office.
However, some repairs may require the use of more sophisticated equipment such as a vehicle lift. In this case, our mechanics will arrange for your vehicle to be transported to and from one of our trusted partner auto repair shops.
Don’t put off regular maintenance checks any longer. Call now or visit our website to book your maintenance appointment today.