Effective DIY Maintenance—What You Really Need to Do to Extend Your Vehicle’s Useful Life

Routine vehicle maintenance will give you more useful years in your vehicle and minimize repair expenses over the lifetime of the vehicle. That much you know. But what do you really need to do to realize these benefits? It’s really not as hard as you might think. Here’s what the pros at Quanz Auto Body suggest you do to show your care a little TLC:

Read the Owner’s Manual

Ok, so you don’t need to read the giant manual cover to cover, but you do need to familiarize yourself with the routine maintenance schedule. Often presented as a table, this section will tell you at what major mileage points you need to have components checked and/or replaced. This section will also tell you when you really need oil changes (because the “every three months or every 3,000 miles” is outdated advice for most modern

vehicles).

Pay Attention to Your Car’s Indicators

The lights on your dash are not decorations. If they are illuminated, that means something needs attention. Your owner’s manual will tell you what each indicator means, but some of them monitor multiple systems. In that case, you will need to take your car to a garage or auto parts store to run the code. That will give you more information about what system needs service.

Pay Attention to Your Car’s Performance

Just as parents know when something is “off” about their kids, primary drivers notice when something is different about the way their car is acting or sounds the car is making. Don’t ignore these. You may google symptoms to get an idea of what may be the problem. Often, there are simple solutions. You may also call your mechanic and describe the symptom. Years of experience makes mechanics expert diagnosticians, even over the phone. If that doesn’t help, then you can always bring your car into the shop for a full diagnostic scan using the most advanced equipment for your vehicle’s make and model.

Replace Wear Parts on Schedule

To maintain performance, fuel efficiency and safety, many components in your vehicle need to be replaced regularly because they deteriorate with age, heat, friction and wear. Off the top of our heads, we know that list includes:

  • Brake pads (and rotors if pads are worn too thin)
  • Cabin air filter
  • Engine air filter
  • Fluids—brake, power steering, coolant, etc.
  • Oil and oil filter
  • Serpentine belt
  • Spark plugs
  • Timing belt
  • Tires
  • Wiper blades

Your owner’s manual will tell you which internal components need changing and how often; you will typically need to watch for signs of wear to know when to replace external components.

Of course, there are lots of other DIY car care tips, like:

  • Clean the battery terminus to remove corrosion.
  • Wash and wax your car at least once every three months to protect your paint job.
  • Unload excess weight in your car.

And our favorite—take your car to your trusted ASE mechanics at Quanz Auto Body whenever you need professional expertise.