Car Maintenance You Can't Go Without

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In trying to save money, you don’t want to skimp on car maintenance. Proper car maintenance prevents much more costly repairs in the future. Taking proper care of your car also makes it more fuel efficient, which saves you money on gas. Of course, car service technicians are famous for up selling you auto maintenance services you may not really need. So you know when to say yes and when to say, here are some common car maintenance services you can and can’t live without.

Must Haves

Oil Change. Changing your oil regularly is must. Most national car service chains recommend oil changes every 3,000 miles or three months. If you check your owner’s manual, it will tell you how often you need to have this service done. In some cases, you may be able to wait 7,000 miles between changes. You can and should check your oil level more regularly than that. When you stop for gas, use the dipstick to see if you have enough oil in your engine. If not, add more.

Tire Rotation and Pressure Check. Keeping your tires in good shape will extend their life and protect yours as you drive. It’s recommended you rotate your tires every 5,000 miles or so to ensure they wear evenly. You should also check the pressure in your tires once a week to make sure they are properly inflated. Again, check your owner's manual for the proper level of inflation. Adding air to your tires is cheap (usually free) and easy at your local gas station. Additionally, keep an eye on your tires’ wear bars to make sure the tread is deep enough. Bald tires are slick and can cause accidents.

Wiper Replacement and Fluid Check. The easiest way to get in an accident is if you cannot see through your windshield. If your wipers are not working properly or you run out of wiper fluid, that’s exactly what can happen. You will likely need to replace your wipers once or twice a year. Your mechanic should be topping off your washer fluid every time you get our oil changed, but it's good to have some in the trunk just in case you run out.

What to Skip

Engine Flush. This service uses chemicals to supposedly flush the sludge out of your engine. But if you have your regular oil changes, you shouldn’t have any sludge to flush out. That makes engine flushes a rip-off. If you have severely neglected those oil changes and your engine is running hot, however, you might need an engine flush after all.

Oil Additives. If the service tech tries to sell you additional oil additives, just pass. These are generally a waste of money and don’t actually produce the results they promise, such as added fuel economy. They don’t cost much, but why pay even a little bit for something that won’t make a difference?

Gas Savers. There are a variety of products and gadgets that promise improved fuel economy. Some of them can cost hundreds of dollars, but they likely won’t deliver. The best way to get good gas mileage is to keep to your car maintenance schedule.


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