It is inconvenient and time consuming to schedule car maintenance, and we all tend to put it off. Don’t. Today’s vehicles can easily surpass 200,000 miles with regular maintenance. Taking good care of them will save money in the long run and avoid unexpected breakdowns.
Yes, maintenance can be pricey. Many service locations offer 10% discount on labor and services to seniors. Ask about it. If you know your vehicle needs something changed like spark plugs, shop around for pricing and labor costs.
Oil changes: Older cars need oil changes every 3,000 miles, but manufacturers of newer ones typically suggest 5,000 miles, 7,500 miles or even longer intervals between changes. If you don’t drive much, change it twice a year. (Synthetic oil is expensive – maybe twice the price.)
Air filter: If you can see light through the filter paper, it does not need to be changed yet. But change it at least every 20,000 miles or more often when it’s dusty (lots of construction or at pollen time).
Wipers: Replace them yourself once a year.
Adding additives to the tank? Don’t bother. All gas has them. Since 1994, the government has required that detergents be added to all gasoline to help prevent fuel injectors from clogging.
Tire rotation: Every time you have an oil change have the tires rotated. Tires at the right pressure and balanced properly save one or two miles per gallon – and the expense of new tires.
Antifreeze. Your car needs antifreeze in both summer and winter for its anticorrosion or antiwear additives. A 50-50 mix with water is suggested, unless it came diluted when you bought it. Read the label. (Keep a spare bottle in your trunk in case the car overheats on a hot day.)
Your owner’s manual lists what you should do and when. Lost your manual? Edmunds.com has a maintenance feature that tells what needs to be done at various mileage milestones, including how much the parts and labor should cost. Click on “maintenance” and “all calculators.”
This mobility safety update has been brought to you by NMEDA – the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association. Need some information on how to make your vehicle wheelchair accessible or upgraded with the latest and most convenient features? Contact a NMEDA dealer in your local area. Your local NMEDA member is an expert in mobility equipment and accessibility!