How much maintenance is just right?

In the 1950’s and 60’s, tune-ups were done every 5000-7000 miles, coolant was flushed every fall and oil changes every 2000, with engines reaching 100,000 miles at most.

With today’s more precisely built engines, it’s not unusual for one to reach 300,000 miles with regular maintenance. But what kind of maintenance should modern cars have, and how does one maintain a vehicle for the fewest dollars per mile to drive it?

For starters, how often should oil services be preformed? Some manufacturers are recommending up to 18, 000 miles on oil changes, other sources say every 3 months, or every 3000 miles. Some manufactures are recommending that their transmission never needs service.

There are documented cases with Japanese and European car engines slugging up and needing major repair after fewer than 50,000 miles, even though oil service were done in the prescribed factory times.

With lifetime transmission fluid, an instructor who worked for a major European dealership found that transmission life was doubled with prescribed maintenance.

Life time anti-freeze or long life anti-freeze has had its problems as well.

Preventive maintenance is the art of maintaining your car when and where you want to, increasing its life and dependability, decreasing the cost of ownership.

I advise changing oil twice as often as the manufacturer recommends. Servicing of transmission and cooling systems and brake fluid needs to be done at least every 40,000 miles to maximize the life of these components.

Ask your repair shop for their recommendations. They often have their own set of recommendations for longevity of your vehicle.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. In the case of automotive service, $1 of care might even save you $50 of repair.

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