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Maintenance keeps your vehicle running smoothly and safely on the road for a much longer distance than if you neglected maintenance. Your owner’s manual will outline all the maintenance that needs to be done and when it needs to be done so you’re ready to hit the road without a hitch. But more generally, here are the regular maintenance of a vehicle.

Oil change

Oil is the blood of your engine. It serves as a lubricant, preventing important engine parts from rubbing against each other and damaging the engine. The oil filter should be replaced at the same time.

Air filter replacement

As for the air filter, you may need to replace it once or twice a year, but that largely depends on your driving habits. It is best to check the air filter when you change your oil.

Inspection of other fluids

Engine oil isn’t the only fluid to check. Experts recommend checking your car’s brake fluid, transmission fluids, coolant, and windshield washer fluid.

Inspection of belts and hoses

The hoses and belts in the engine compartment should also be inspected. The hoses direct the flow of coolant to ensure the engine does not overheat. If a hose has separated, has cracks or bulges, have it replaced.

Similarly, also check the belts. The timing belt, found in most cars and small SUVs, is essential to the operation of your engine. If this belt shows signs of wear, replace it as soon as possible. If the timing belt jumps while driving, it can cause serious engine damage.

Brake inspection

Brakes are an important component on any vehicle. You should always pay attention to how your brakes feel and how they sound when driving. If the brakes are spongy or it takes more pressure to apply the brakes than normal, they should be inspected by a professional.

Brake noises can indicate when maintenance or repair is needed. Here is a brief overview of common brake noises:

screeching : It’s time to replace the brake pads when you hear a squeal, because the ones you have now are worn and rubbing against the rotor.

creaking : This is not a normal sound, but it may not be a major issue if the brake squeal only occurs the first time you drive the vehicle that day. When the humidity is high outside, rust can form on the brake discs within a day if the vehicle is not driven.

Rattling : Clicking or vibrating suggests that one of the rotors is bent or worn and needs to be replaced.

Intermittent sounds : If brake noises come and go, this could be an indicator of overheating. When the various components of your brake system overheat, you may hear unusual noises and your brakes won’t be as responsive. This issue should be investigated by a professional in a general mechanics center who can identify the cause and fix it.