Basic Car Maintenance

If you want your car to last a long time like mine, then stay tuned, because today I’m going to show you some critical maintenance items to perform on your car so it can last forever. Well maybe not forever, but I’m trying to get a million miles out of my Toyota. Now the first critical maintenance is changing your engine oil and filter regularly. I use conventional oil in my engine when I change it, so I do it every 3,000 miles or twice a year. Engines are very expensive but oil is pretty cheap. And with modern variable valve timing engines, it’s even more important to keep the oil clean. If you let the oil get dirty and clog up these variable valve timing cams, it’s going to cost you thousands of dollars to fix them. 

If you want to go further between oil changes, you can use fully synthetic oil. With fully synthesized oil you can go 8,000 miles between oil changes. Synthetic oils are excellent oils, but realize, they cost three to four times as much as regular oil. So, the choice is yours.

When it comes to what weight oil to use, just use the oil that your engine suggests. In my case, it’s 10w30. All car owner’s manuals tell you what kind of oil to use. The second most important thing is servicing your automatic transmission. We have an older car (’94 Celica), so it’s a good idea to change the fluid and the transmission every 30,000 miles. Being a Toyota, it doesn’t have a filter in it, so you don’t have to change the filter. But if your car has a filter, change the filter too. If you have a later model car, like this 2007 Toyota Camry use fully synthetic oil as the car manual says. But unless you live in a dusty desert, you can leave these transmissions alone. 

The next important maintenance item is the coolant in your cooling system. You don’t want dirty coolant because it can ruin the whole system. A poorly maintained cooling system can cause severe damage. It can cause the engine to overheat and blow up. It can clog up the tiny fins inside the radiator. And believe it or not, a modern car can short out electrical sensors on the computer system. With conventional antifreeze, you want to change the coolant out every three years or once every 30,000 miles. But if you’re lazy and frugal like me, use extended-life antifreeze. And in that case, you can go five years or 150,000 miles before changing it. And the extended-life antifreeze only costs $3 more than the regular stuff, so why not use it. 

The last important maintenance item I’m going to talk about today is the battery. Check it every once in awhile for corrosion. Pick up the terminal cover and see if there’s any corrosion under there, and clean it if there is. Just get a wire brush and brush off all the crud. Then get a can of battery terminal protection spray, and spray it all over to seal it. Do both terminals. 

Lastly, have a mechanic check your battery with a machine, once or twice a year. It’s a simple test. It takes less than a minute. And in modern vehicles, it’s very important because everything is run by computers. And the proper voltage is very important for computers to operate correctly. A bad battery can cause all kinds of problems, and sometimes even destroy electronic components. So, you want to check your battery once or twice a year and replace it before it goes completely dead and does some serious damage. A little maintenance can help your car’s reliability. And remember, if you’ve got any car questions, just visit Bugatti Art.