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Car Maintenance Basics You Need to Know by Brand

Car maintenance


Everyone wants a reliable car, right?  Something you can count on, day in and day out.  Take you from Point A to Point B. Cars can be fun, but first and foremost they're a mode of transportation. And while it's true that some cars are indeed more reliable than others, it is still the responsibility of the owner to stay up to date with their car's maintenance schedule. Regular maintenance is the single best way to preventatively save on future car repairs down the line.

Luckily, every new vehicle comes with a manual that tells you exactly what maintenance the car will need and at what juncture (via mileage) it will be needed.

How often do I have to change oil?

So, no, not every car needs to have it's oil changed every 3,000 miles.  Sure, some do.  But check the manual and you'll find out exactly when your vehicle needs an oil change.


Different cars have different needs and maintenance schedules, but there are a few overlying commonalities that every car owners needs to know.

What to check in your car?


Give your vehicle The Eye-Test.  Inspect your car yourself, as most issues can be seen with the naked eye.

You don't need to be a mechanic to notice that you may have a taillight out, but if you don't inspect your vehicle when it's on, you would never know.

Tires

Check all the lights and then check the air pressure on your tires.  Your manual will tell you the optimal pressure, though you'll have to keep pressure gauge in your glove box.  Don't worry, they're cheap and they'll save you on gas mileage by keeping your tires in shape.

Also check the tread on your tires.  If they all have wear in the same spot, it could be a sign that your tire alignment is off.

Battery

Inspect your battery, looking for any mineral deposit or leaks.  Use a battery cleaning brush to clean it of any such deposits, ensuring that it will last you longer.  While your down there inspect your timing and serpentine belts.  Your maintenance guide will tell you when they should be replaced, but check them yourself for corrosion or damage.  While they will have to be replaced eventually, those guidelines are just that, guidelines.  If they fail then your car will break down, no doubt about it. You may incur damage to other parts of your car due to the break down, let alone the towing fees.  So keep an eye on your belts, even when they aren't due for a replacement.

Fluids

Check your fluid levels.  Stay with me here.  You don't have to change your fluids, you just need to be able to measure them.  Some fluid containers are translucent so you can see the tank level, but other have gauges and dip sticks that when you pull them out show you where your levels are so you can check them against notches that tell what an acceptable level is.  That's it.  You just pull out the dipstick, see where the level is and compare it to where it should be.  Simple, right?  Now you can monitor all your fluids and most importantly, monitor any sudden losses that would indicate a leak.

Replace the easy stuff yourself  

Such as your engine air filters, and cabin air filters.  Replacing your cabin air filter is one of the easiest things you can do, you just need to find the box, open and swap it out.  The engine air filter is a little harder to find, but it's important to check it manually.  Your maintenance guide will tell you how long you have to replace it, but there is a margin for error there, because stop and go, city traffic will make your engine air filter need a replacement faster than a vehicle that drives on open, country roads.  So find your and take a peak, if it's dirty, then swap it out.

Spark Plugs

Check your Spark Plugs.  If your Spark plugs aren't functioning at an optimal level, then your engine isn't able to work efficiently.  Check your spark plugs for build up or noticeable wear.  If it needs to be replaced, don't hesitate because it will not only cause poor fuel economy, and could lead to a breakdown.  

 

These are examples of preventative maintenance that all vehicles need, no matter what make and model you have.

 

Brands

Some brands do, however, require more attention in certain areas than others.

While it's near impossible to predict these kinds of issues, it would be beneficial for the owner to have their mechanic look out for issues or problems that are commonly found with that brand.

Ford & GMC Car Maintenance

For instance, Ford and GMC owners may want to have their mechanic check their transmission during their regular maintenance, as both Fords and GMCs have a high frequency of transmission fault and failure.

Subaru Car Maintenance

Subaru owners are usually aware that they need to be vigilant about getting their tires rotated and their alignment checked every six months, since most Subaru vehicles are all-wheel drive.  But Subaru owners should also be very aware of Head Gasket Failure, which is usually due to the factory coating deteriorating somewhere between 80 and 120 thousand miles.

Nissan Car Maintenance

Nissan car maintenance should include regular checks of the coolant and radiator tanks, as leaks in those two areas commonly cause the vehicles to stall due to transmission failure.

Chevrolet Car Maintenance

Chevy car owners should know that the brand's most common issues are due to failure of the power systems in the car, like the door locks, power steering, and Anti-lock Break System.

 

Toyota Car Maintenance

Toyota, yes even Toyota, has a few known issues.  One reported issue is that at high mileage, the throttle position sensor can be out of place and cause the transmission to not shift properly.  Another issue that many Toyota drivers find is that their vehicles consume oil to an excessive degree, which can signal a larger engine issue.

 

Buick Car Maintenance

Buick car owners have found that their power windows fail over time.  Additionally, they reported that their transmission had erratic shifting, which was found to be due the transmission pressure control solenoid failure.

 

Mazda Car Maintenance

Mazda car owners should have their mechanics give special attention to the car's clutch, as the highest reported issue with Mazda's is clutch failure, as well as related issues like hard shifts and transmission slips.

 

Cadillac Car Maintenance

Cadillac owners should be aware that there is a high frequency of leaks that come from the lower engine.  It would behoove them to have a mechanic inspect the area even when you are not aware of any leaks, just to be sure.  Other specific areas to look are near the rear axle pinion, the high-pressure power steering lines, and the lower crankcase portion of the engine block.

Again, it's impossible to predict exactly when these types of things can happen, but being aware of what has the highest probability of occurring can go a long way in the preventative care of you vehicle.  Most of these recurring issues don't begin to surface until after one hundred thousand miles, which is the threshold at which car owners should begin to expect a higher need of maintenance for their car.

 

While this may sound like a lot of work, it can't be stressed enough that preventative work and maintenance on your car will always cost less than repairing damage and failure.  That's something you can take all the way to the bank!

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