How to Put Together a Vehicle Maintenance Schedule

Michael J. O'Connor
September 14, 2023

There is nothing quite like driving a new car off the lot and looking forward to many miles of fun on the road. A new or used car can bring all kinds of joy to your life but if you want to keep it running for years to come, regular service and upkeep are important. A car is only as good as the care that is taken of it and neglecting vehicle maintenance can cause all kinds of problems, some of which are incredibly expensive. The best way to avoid skipping service appointments is to put together a vehicle maintenance schedule and stick to it. 

Putting together a vehicle maintenance schedule is not a one-size-fits-all process. All cars are different and will have their own unique needs. To create an effective schedule, you should consider a few different factors and go from there. By making a vehicle maintenance schedule that works for you and is designed for your specific car, you can rest easy knowing that you are doing everything you can to keep your vehicle in great shape and save money along the way. 

Check Your Owner’s Manual 

One of the first places you should start when creating your vehicle maintenance schedule is the owner’s manual. Automakers put together a scheduled maintenance checklist for the cars they produce and this will be exactly suited for that particular car. Following the manufacturer-recommended maintenance schedule is a great way to get used to taking your car in for regular service at the right time. You can also use this as a guide as the vehicle ages and you want to start getting maintenance done more often. 

When you first buy a car, it is essential that you follow along with the vehicle maintenance schedule that is in the owner’s manual. In many cases, the factory warranty is dependent on you following that schedule. If you skip a maintenance procedure, you could end up voiding the warranty. By sticking with the manufacturer-recommended vehicle maintenance schedule, you can keep your warranty intact and get a good jumping-off point for the schedule going forward. 

Get Maintenance for Your Specific Vehicle

An important thing to remember is that every vehicle is different and will have different needs. While some cars need oil changes every 3,000 miles, others will be able to go 5,000 miles or more without one. It will depend heavily on things like the type of engine you have and the make and model of the vehicle. Knowing your car and the specific requirements for its components will go a long way toward coming up with the perfect vehicle maintenance schedule. 

One of the areas where the type of car you have will factor into your vehicle maintenance schedule the most is the transmission. Transmission fluid changes are important and should be a regular part of your maintenance regimen. However, the transmission type will play a big part in how often you have to get it done. If you have a manual transmission, for example, you should change it every 30,000 to 60,000 miles. An automatic transmission, though, can usually go at least 100,000 miles before a fluid change is necessary. 

Consider the Age and Mileage 

The age of your car is perhaps the most important factor when putting together a vehicle maintenance schedule. As your vehicle ages, you should be putting more effort into its care and upkeep. For the most part, it will never hurt to do maintenance too often, even though it may cost money to do so. The cost of vehicle maintenance is nothing compared to the cost of a large repair, so if you have an older vehicle, it is best to err on the side of caution. 

For cars with more than 100,000 miles on the odometer, oil changes every 3,000 miles, tire rotations every 5,000 miles, and a brake fluid flush every two years can go a long way. The fluids and tires can affect the condition of the rest of the vehicle and as the years go by, they become even more important. Keeping a tight vehicle maintenance schedule for an older car will help keep it on the road for a lot longer. 

Know Your Driving Habits 

Your particular driving habits will also dictate how often you should be getting vehicle maintenance. Mileage is just as important as age, if not more so. If you are a commuter who regularly puts 300 miles or more on your car per week, it is best to get vehicle maintenance more often than someone who only drives 100 miles per week. Plus, you can be sure that you won’t experience a breakdown or more serious issues when you are out on the highway trying to get to work. 

You should also consider the type of driving you do on a regular basis. Highway driving is not nearly as hard on a car as city driving, so even if you are putting fewer miles on the odometer on surface streets, you may want to consider getting more frequent vehicle maintenance, especially for things like brake pad replacements and fluid flushes. How you use your car will determine whether you need a more regimented vehicle maintenance schedule or not.  

Anticipate the Weather 

The weather is a big factor in how you take care of your vehicle and how often you get it serviced. For example, in places with a mild climate, you may not need to get things like coolant flushes or air filter replacements as often as you would in hot weather. Knowing what you can expect as far as the seasons go will help you put together an effective vehicle maintenance schedule for your area’s specific weather patterns. 

If you live in an area that gets a lot of snow, make sure you include frequent car washes in your vehicle maintenance schedule. Snowy and icy roads will deposit a lot of debris onto the underside of your car, which can cause deterioration and oxidation in the frame. This is especially important if your municipality salts the roads to prevent ice buildup. Salt can be devastating to the structure of your car, so putting weekly car washes on your vehicle maintenance schedule will help you avoid frame repairs and suspension replacements down the line. 

Get the Best Service for Your Vehicle Maintenance Schedule

A vehicle maintenance schedule is an important part of car ownership and with regular upkeep, you can depend on your car for many years. Fluids, brake pads, and tires are all designed to wear out eventually, and keeping them in good shape and replacing them when necessary will work wonders when it comes to your vehicle’s performance. With a vehicle maintenance schedule that is specific to your car and your situation, you can look forward to many more trouble-free miles on the road. 

If you want the best service for your vehicle maintenance schedule, ServiceUp is here for you. With one easy-to-use dashboard to help you manage your maintenance, collision, and mechanical repair needs, it has never been easier to get your vehicle fixed by qualified, experienced technicians. Whether you need simple oil changes or major body work, ServiceUp will take care of everything and get you back on the road. Get an estimate today to find out how ServiceUp can help!

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