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What does car care mean to you?

I want to keep my car for as long as possible and I want it to look and run great.

• Under hood checks

Once a week or when refueling.

• Oil change

Every 3,000 miles with oil filter

• Washing

Once a week; hand washing is best, but if you must use a car wash, find one that is brushless and relies on high pressure water or attendants that soap the car by hand.

• Waxing

Every six months with a good quality non-abrasive wax. Once a year put some wax on the door jams and the underside of the trunk. If you’re ambitious, you could spend some time detailing the under-hood area, or have it done by a professional if you’re not comfortable handling machinery.

• Align & balance

Have car checked every 12,000 miles or the first time you notice unusual steering behavior or a vibration at highway speeds.

• Tire rotation

Every 6,000 miles following the manufacturer’s rotation recommendation. If you have a matching spare, include it in the rotation.

• Tune up

Follow manufacturer’s recommendation.

• Winterizing

Every two years.

• Timing belt

If your car has one, every 60,000 miles or follow manufacturer’s recommendation if it is longer.

• Filters

Follow manufacturer's recommendation.

I keep my cars for 3 to 5 years, then trade them in.

• Under-hood checks

Once a week or when refueling. New vehicles require less attention and most problems are covered by the warranty, but if the problem has to do with low oil, and as a result engine damage occurs, you are not covered. Even if the low oil level was not your fault, you may be stuck with replacing an engine out of your own pocket, or paying a lawyer to fight the manufacturer.

• Oil change

Follow manufacturer’s recommendations in your owner’s manual (required to maintain warranty). Some new engines normally run very hot and are hard on oil. Even missing a single oil change can cause an engine to develop sludge which can cause engine damage in as little as 15,000 miles. Sludge problems are not covered by the warranty. You could be stuck with a bill for major engine work!

• Washing

Every two to four weeks depending on conditions in your area. Garaged cars can go longer. Bird droppings should be removed as soon as possible as they can damage the finish.

• Waxing

Optional. Waxing will protect the finish and require less washing. A good idea if you park outside in industrial areas or under trees.

• Align and balance

Check the tires for unusual wear or drifting right or left when on a straight road.

• Tire rotation

This is more important for front-wheel-drive cars that usually wear front tires much faster than rear-wheel-drive vehicles. Check the tread depth from time to time. Selling a car with two completely worn tires and two tires that look like new will reduce the price that you can get, whereas four half worn tires will probably not.

• Tune up

Follow manufacturer’s recommendation.

• Winterizing

Follow manufacturer’s recommendation.

• Timing belt

Usually not required for the first 60,000 miles. Check owner’s manual to see if your vehicle has one, then follow manufacturer’s recommendation. Letting this service go can cause severe engine damage if the old belt fails, which may not be covered under the warranty.

• Filters

Follow manufacturer’s recommendation.

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