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Recommended service intervals can vary significantly between different makes and models. However, if you do not have the time or patience to go through every page of the owner’s manual, these basic auto maintenance recommendations from the Car Care Council can provide a helpful cheat sheet.

Monthly Checks

Monthly inspections are simple DIY jobs that can be completed in less than an hour. Major components include the lights, tires, and exterior. If only one light is out, then it’s likely a blown bulb or LED. If they’re completely out, it may be a blown fuse. Tires lose an average of 1 to 2 psi per month under normal conditions, so don’t expect a tire pressure monitoring system to engage at the first signs of underinflation. Plus, keep your car clean of acidic substances such as bugs, bird droppings, and coffee. And, and use brushless car washes to avoid “spiderwebbing” on the finish.

Seasonal Checks

Seasonal checks should at least cover the fluids, filters, and battery. Most cars can go well beyond 3,000 miles without an oil change, but dirty oil or low coolant can quickly destroy the engine. An auto repair specialist is recommended for items such as power steering fluid and engine air filter, and a basic oil change usually covers the above items anyway. Batteries can overheat in the summer, but battery problems tend to arise more often in cold weather. Your mechanic can easily test the battery charge with a multimeter.

Annual Checks

Annual checks typically cover all of the above, in addition to major items such as the exhaust readings, steering and suspension, belts, spark plugs, and transmission fluid. Most of these components are built to last tens of thousands of miles, but such long gaps between service intervals can also lead to major issues without regular maintenance. A trusted auto mechanic should inspect these major items for signs of trouble.

Murray’s Auto Clinics has been helping residents of Silver Spring, MD maintain their investments since 1982, and our record of quality auto repairs and honest service speaks for itself. Contact us at 301-585-7557 with any questions or comments.