To purchase a vehicle warranty, you’ll be required to have your car serviced regularly. Your service contract, owner’s manual, or manufacturer’s warranty documents will explain in detail which guidelines you need to follow for routine maintenance. For most cars, regular vehicle maintenance includes the following:
Routine oil changes, fluid replacements, and tire rotations can help ensure your vehicle is in the best shape possible. Oil changes and tire rotations tend to have the same maintenance schedule for all vehicles, while fluid changes depend on the component type and your car’s mileage.
According to AAA, motor oil should be changed between intervals of 3,000 and 7,500 miles (or every 3 to 6 months) depending on the type of engine you have. Oil changes are probably the most important aspect of car servicing, as going without changing the oil can result in complete engine failure.
These vehicle fluids need to be checked, flushed, and changed every so often:
- Coolant (radiator)
- Power steering
- Windshield wiper fluid
The rule of thumb for power steering differs depending on your vehicle type, but it should be every few months for windshield wiper fluid, at least every 2 years for coolant and brake fluid (according to Cars.com), and after you reach 50,000 miles for transmission fluid (according to the Boston Globe).
Edmunds says most tires need to be replaced at least every 6 years. U.S. News suggests getting your tires rotated every 7,500 miles or 6 months to even out wear and tear and to make them last much longer. This service is usually on the same schedule as oil changes.
Your brake pads, windshield wiper blades, and car light bulbs and circuits will need to be replaced regularly. Depending on your vehicle and bulb type, your headlight system can last for years at a time.
Brake pads and rotors
You should replace brake pads every 20,000 to 50,000 miles, according to YourMechanic. Automakers such as Ford and Toyota recommend replacing rotors every 30,000 to 70,000 miles. With most full brake services, your pads and rotors will be replaced at the same time.
Wiper blades often need to be replaced every 6 to 12 months or as soon as you notice any squeaking noises, streaking on the windshield, or cracked and damaged blades, according to AutoZone.
Lights, bulbs, and fuses
Car bulbs will need to be inspected for replacement every year, but they can last longer depending on the bulb type. Fuses will last an average of 10 years, according to YourMechanic, and besides aging, will usually only wear out due to electrical problems or component failure.
Regular or excessive wear and tear on your car can result in high repair costs, and you may need to replace weak or broken windshield glass and rustproof your vehicle every few years.
Exterior and interior cosmetic damage
Normal wear and tear such as small scratches, dents, and chips on the exterior and tears on the interior can usually be fixed at little cost. Excessive wear and tear such as burns, missing and broken parts, or too much exterior damage will be much more expensive to repair.
You should get your windshield replaced if it has any large, severe cracks or chips because this can impair driving and affect the quality of your wiper blades.
Rust and corrosion
Rustproofing manufacturer Noxudol recommends rustproofing your car every 1 to 2 years to prevent any corrosion to your car’s undercarriage. This can be done either on your own or in a mechanic shop, and there are often aftermarket warranty providers that offer corrosion warranty repair coverage and add-ons.