Car Being Serviced
Automobile Maintenance

Don’t Break Down: How Often Should a Car Be Serviced?

Today, modern vehicles have a warning light on the dash that lets you know you should take your car in for service. That makes things quite convenient.  

However, what if you have a vehicle that’s a few years old and doesn’t have these features? If this is your situation, you may wonder – how often should a car be serviced?

The fact is, several factors impact how often you need service for your vehicle. Knowing what these factors are is the best way to ensure your vehicle doesn’t experience any serious issues.

Don’t underestimate the benefits offered by seeking regular, professional service for your vehicle. Keep reading to learn more about when your vehicle needs service here.

Maintenance Reminder Systems

As mentioned above, newer vehicles have in-vehicle maintenance reminder systems. This system is designed to consider several vehicle operating conditions, and a dash alert will light up when you need to schedule an oil change, component inspections, fluid level checks, or another type of maintenance service.

If your vehicle has these systems in place, you can rely on it to know when you need service. However, if you don’t put very many miles on your vehicle, it’s a good idea to have your oil changed every 12 months – even if the maintenance reminder hasn’t come on. At the same time, investing in a full tune-up is a smart move to ensure there are no other hidden issues with your vehicle.

Mileage-Based Service Needs

Older vehicles have certain service intervals based on their mileage. Usually, there are two different maintenance schedules to follow:

  • One for vehicles driven for “normal” service
  • One for vehicles driven in “severe” operating conditions

The precise definition of severe service will vary from one automaker to another, but it will typically involve the operation of your vehicle under one or more of these conditions:

  • Towing a trailer or carrying heavy loads
  • Mainly short trips (five miles or under)
  • Extremely dusty, cold, or hot conditions
  • Sustained start and stop driving

If your vehicle can be classified under the severe description that is in your owner’s manual, you need to follow the more intense car maintenance schedule. However, if you drive under normal conditions, make sure you aren’t spending money on services your vehicle may not benefit from.

If you aren’t sure if your vehicle qualifies for these severe conditions, it’s a good idea to ask your mechanic. They can recommend the right service schedule for you to follow.

What Happens if You Don’t Seek Service on Time?

Several problems may arise if you don’t have your vehicle scheduled on time. This includes things like reduced fuel economy, major mechanical failures, and a poor “feel” while driving. All these issues are possible if you don’t invest in regular maintenance.

The modern oil used in your engine contains various cleaning agents to help keep the interior of your engine in good, efficient condition. Over time, though, the oil will deteriorate as it is used.

If you don’t change out the old oil, it can result in the passageways inside your engine to back up with various carbon deposits, which will increase the wear and tear on all the engine’s internal components.

Another component of your vehicle that needs to be checked and replaced is your brake fluid. It will absorb moisture out of the air, reducing your braking system performance. Most vehicle manufacturers recommend flushing your vehicle’s braking system every two years, regardless of how far you have traveled.

Don’t Forget the Outside of Your Vehicle

It’s crucial that you monitor the interior components of your vehicle; however, you can’t forget about the outside, too.

Your tires are the only part of your vehicle that touches the ground. This means you need to inspect them regularly for signs of wear and tear.

You should also wash and wax your vehicle’s exterior, and if you don’t have them, invest in tinted windows to protect the interior upholstery from harmful UV rays. You can read more about the benefits of tinted windows for your vehicle here.

A Helpful Checklist for Car Maintenance

If you want to ensure your vehicle receives the maintenance needed to remain running efficiently, consider taking the steps here.

Find the Proper Maintenance Schedule

You can find this in your vehicle’s owner’s manual. However, if you don’t have this, you can also search online with your vehicle’s make and model.

Schedule a Service Appointment

You need to contact your dealership or a mechanic to schedule an appointment. Make sure to call a few weeks before the services are needed. This can help ensure you don’t get service too late.

Be Ready for the Upsell

Regardless of if you take your vehicle back to the dealership or another mechanic, they may try to upsell you. They are going to recommend other services. While this is up to you, make sure you aren’t spending money on services you don’t know by knowing what is required.

How Often Should Your Car Be Serviced: Now You Know

If you are wondering how often should your car be serviced, now you have the answer. Remember, there is no universal answer to this question.

It depends on several factors, including the make and model of your vehicle, along with the driving conditions you operate in regularly.

Are you looking for more information about keeping your vehicle in proper operating condition? If so, be sure to check out some of our other blogs.