As a traveling mechanic in the Michigan for many years, I’ve seen my fair share of issues with cars and trucks that could have been easily prevented if the owner would have simply checked their oil on a regular basis. Granted, for many, assessing an automobile’s innards is akin operating on a human patient with no medical training. But take heart, even though computerized systems in cars are becoming increasingly complex, many of the parts in today’s cars have remained largely unchanged over the years. Parts like Engine Air Filters are still used and still need to be replaced on a regular schedule – and no – there won’t be a day any time soon where a car’s engine oil doesn’t need to be changed periodically.
While every car is different (see disclaimer below), in this article we’ll take a generalized view on recommendations for Car Maintenance Schedules in today’s modern gas powered vehicles.
NOTE: All recommended intervals are based on common intervals for gas powered cars and trucks. Depending on the car or manufacturer, some maintenance items listed not required at all. Always refer to your Car’s Owner’s Manual for specific manufacturer’s recommendations.
For the purpose of organization, let’s first divvy up maintenance intervals by Short-Term (under 10K Miles), Mid-Term (10K – 50K) and Long-Term (50K+) schedules. The reason – other than being pedantic? Cost. Most longer term scheduled maintenance will cost more. Many customers put these schedules off due to the pricetag, so with human-nature in mind – it’s always a good idea to plan for these well into the future, especially for folks (like me) that do a monthly budget.
Also, if you see a *Road Salt Use?* tag, this indicates you should reduce the inspection time if you live in a region where road salt is used regularly in the winter time.
Short Term Maintenance (0 – 10,000 Miles)
- Tire Rotation (Every 7,500 Miles)
- Oil (Every 5,000 – 10,000 Miles)
Mid Term Maintenance (10,000 – 50,000 Miles)
- Coolant Flush (Every 24,000 to 36,000 Miles)
- Cabin Air Filter (Change every 25,000 – 35,000 Miles)
- Engine Air Filter (Change every 30,000 – 45,000 Miles)
- Brakes – Pads (Change40,000 to 50,000 Miles)*Road Salt Use? Reduce by 20%*
- Brake – Rotors (Resurface or Replace) (Every 40,000 to 50,000 Miles)*Road Salt Use? Reduce by 20%*
- Fuel Filter (Change every 30,000 – 45,000 Miles)*Road Salt Use? Reduce by 20%*
Long Term Maintenance (50,000 – 100,000+ Miles)
- Undercarriage Inspection (Check Every 50,000 Miles)*Only perform if road salt used in winter*
- Wiring Check (Full Check Every 60,000 Miles)*Road Salt Use? Reduce by 30%*
- Battery Contacts and Terminals (Every 60,0000 Miles) *Road Salt Use? Reduce by 30%*
- Hose Check (Full Check Every 60,000 Miles)*Road Salt Use? Reduce by 30%*
- Automatic Transmission Fluid (Change every 60,000 – 100,000 Miles)
- Belts – V or Serpentine (Replace after 60,000 – 100,000 Miles)
- Belts – Timing (Replace after 60,000 – 100,000 Miles)*Road Salt Use? Reduce by 30%*
- Spark Plugs (Every 70,000 – 90,000 Miles)
- Chain – Timing (NA)
- Timing chains do not need to be replaced. Check manual to confirm if your vehicle uses a timing belt or chain
- Power Steering Fluid (NA)
- Power steering is not generally recommended for flush. Check manual to confirm any maintenance interval for power steering fluids
More to follow…
I’ll be following up this list with some more details on each individual line item, but hopefully this give you a baseline for setting a maintenance schedule for your own vehicle.
Thanks and drive safe!