If you own a vehicle, you already know it requires routine maintenance to keep everything functional and operating smoothly. But if you’re like many people who drive, you’re probably in the dark as to when and why specific types of vehicle maintenance are necessary.


At AA Auto Tech, we get it. Vehicles are highly complex machines with thousands of moving parts, and keeping up with the maintenance on those parts can be a little confusing. But here’s the problem: If you neglect your vehicle’s routine maintenance needs, eventually, it won’t serve your transportation needs.


If you’ve got questions about proper vehicle care, our auto mechanics have answers. Below, we answer a few of our most common questions about routine vehicle maintenance.


How Often Does My Vehicle Require Routine Maintenance?

Every car, truck, van, and SUV is different; therefore, they all have different maintenance schedules. If you have your vehicle manual, it should list the manufacturer-recommended intervals for all forms of routine maintenance.


If you own a used vehicle that didn’t come with a manual, call your local auto repair shop. Auto mechanics have access to volumes of vehicle-specific information, so your shop should be able to share the proper maintenance timeline with you.


If any of your service lights illuminate, take your vehicle in for a checkup or the type of maintenance indicated by the light. If you think your car or truck is due for service but you’re not totally sure, schedule a routine checkup at your local auto shop.    


What Types of Maintenance Does My Vehicle Need?

You should also be able to find the answer to this question in your vehicle manual. But again, if you don’t have a manual, call your local auto mechanic for vehicle-specific information. While maintenance needs vary from vehicle to vehicle, generally, the following forms of routine care are necessary:


●        Filter replacements (oil, air, cabin, fuel)

●        Transmission fluid flush and exchange

●        Coolant fluid flush and exchange

●        Oil changes

●        Tire replacements and rotations

●        Brake pad replacement

●        Routine fluid and parts inspections

●        Timing belt replacement

●        Spark plug replacement

●        Axle fluid exchange

●        Battery replacement


Does Routine Maintenance Actually Pay Off?

Routine service from a certified auto mechanic might seem pricey, but it’s nowhere near as expensive as serious engine repairs, transmission repairs, or radiator repairs. Tending to the minor stuff ensures the major stuff will continue functioning properly over time. And repairing or replacing major parts is definitely an expense you don’t want to deal with.


Here’s an example: Let’s say your vehicle needs an oil change every 4,000 miles and you drive it until it reaches 100,000 miles. Let’s also assume that an oil change costs you about $30. Over the course of that 100,000 miles, you’d spend about $750 on oil changes.


What would happen if you neglected oil changes while you owned the vehicle? The oil would become incredibly filthy and seriously contaminate the vehicle’s engine. The engine would eventually seize, and you’d be looking at a $4,000+ bill for engine replacement.


Is routine maintenance worth it? You decide.


Do All Vehicles Need Engine Tuneups?

Generally, yes. But the frequency of those tuneups can vary widely depending on the age of the vehicle. If you own an older car or truck, it may need an engine tuneup every 10,000 to 12,000 miles. If you drive a late-model vehicle, it may not require a tuneup until it reaches 100,000 miles.


As with all types of vehicle maintenance, consult your manual or a qualified auto mechanic if you’re not sure what your automobile needs. Just so you know, here are some of the most common signs that an engine requires a tuneup:


●        Visible engine deposits

●        Engine misfiring

●        Significantly aged oxygen sensor

●        Illuminated check engine light

●        Clogged or dirty engine air filter

●        The vehicle doesn’t pass emissions testing


How Often Do I Need to Get Tire Replacements and Rotations?

The answer to this question depends on the type of tires your vehicle currently has. If your tires have a warranty (most do), you must rotate them according to the manufacturer’s recommended timeline or you’ll void the warranty.


If you don’t have that information or you’ve already voided the warranty, plan to have your tires rotated whenever you get an oil change. Generally, that’s every 3,000-5,000 miles, but if your vehicle doesn’t require new oil that often, plan for tire rotations at six-month intervals.


The appropriate time to replace your tires is whenever the tread reaches the wear bar. When the tread wears past that point, your tires will not be able to grip the road well when you drive in snowy, icy, or rainy conditions.


If you rarely drive, you should replace your tires every six years even if the tread hasn’t reached the wear bar. Over time, the rubber can dry out and crack, which many put you at risk for flat tire or worse, a blowout.


Need a Certified Auto Mechanic Near Hastings? Contact AA Auto Tech

If your vehicle is due for routine maintenance, bring it to our team at AA Auto Tech. We specialize in manufacturer-recommended maintenance, brake service, a/c service, engine repair, and much more. For over 20 years, drivers throughout Hastings, Cottage Grove, Inver Grove Heights, and the surrounding communities have trusted us with their vehicles, and when you need us, we’re here for you too.


Give us a call at 651-437-2218, contact us online, or pay us a visit to discuss your auto maintenance or repair needs.