As Mileage Climbs, What Maintenance is Crucial?
With many new cars costing upwards of $30,000, people are holding onto their vehicles longer. Once your car is paid off, you may feel a little more at ease paying other monthly bills. With your new-found savings, be sure to put some aside for regular vehicle maintenance. As your mileage climbs, you will need to give it a little extra attention to extend the life of your vehicle. Here are some crucial tips for maintaining your car as it gets older.
- Use your owner's manual for specific maintenance recommendations. All vehicles are different and require different services at different times. Some important mile-markers include 30,000, 60,000, and 90,000. With routine checks of important systems like your brakes, transmission, and suspension, some vehicles can last 300,000 miles or even more. Plan to visit your AAA Car Care Center at least twice a year for routine inspections and additionally when repairs are needed. AAA members receive a 10% discount on repair labor and a 2-year/24,000 mile warranty on repairs.
- Fluid checks are critical throughout the life of your car. These include engine oil, coolant, transmission fluid, brake fluid, and power steering fluid. Engine oil lubricates the moving parts in your engine, keeps it clean by removing contaminants, and regulates temperature to prevent overheating. Coolant keeps your engine operating at the proper temperature and needs to be changed as recommended by your vehicle manufacturer. Transmission fluid acts as a lubricant for all the moving parts inside your transmission. Over time, transmission fluid can become contaminated with metal particles and shorten the life of your transmission. Brake fluid moves the various components of your car's braking system. Without it, your car would not be able to stop when you push the pedal. If your car has disc brakes, when you depress the brake pedal your brake fluid causes the friction material (pads) to clamp down on the rotors, which stops wheel rotation. Power steering fluid helps you turn the wheels easily by transmitting power to the steering wheel.
- Check tire tread and pressure regularly. The tread is the part of the tire that makes contact with the road. Consistent tread wear is normal, but uneven wear could be a sign of wheel misalignment or improper inflation. Heavily worn tire tread puts you in danger of losing control or hydroplaning in wet conditions. Be sure to have your tires rotated as needed. The correct tire pressure helps optimize tire performance and fuel economy. The proper PSI should be listed on a plackard inside your driver's door or in your owner's manual. The tire pressure listed on the tire is the maximum safe pressure, and is irrellevant for our purposes.
- As your mileage climbs, you are more likely to face costly repairs. Get ahead of potential problems by visiting a AAA Car Care Center and enjoy all the member benefits. Our expert technicians will perform a FREE mulit-point inspection and will recommend necessary repairs to keep your car running smoothly. For more car care tips, check out AAA Talks.