Are There Legitimate Mileage Guidelines for Vehicle Maintenance? A Quick Guide to Car Maintenance Requirements

You've probably heard about getting certain vehicle maintenance tasks done every 20,000 miles or even every time your car logs 100,000 miles. Always consult your owner’s manual for recommended maintenance intervals. Understandably, you may also want to know whether certain factors may make it so maintenance is needed more frequently.

Maintenance Costs and Mileage

Research has shown it generally costs more to maintain cars that have traveled further. Specifically, maintenance costs increase dramatically after 25,000 miles, but level off once a car reaches 100,000 miles. Also, there are certain cars that tend to cost less to maintain compared to others, at least until they reach the 75,000-mile mark.

Driving Habits and Maintenance Concerns

If you're like many people, you may not stop to think about how driving habits can directly affect how often your car needs maintenance. Idling your car is a bad idea, especially in the winter. So is starting to drive immediately after turning on a car that has a turbo engine, rather than letting it warm up first. When you're driving around town, pay particular attention to how you accelerate and brake. If you take off very quickly as soon as the light turns green, that habit is hard on the vehicle. Similarly, it's not wise to follow other cars extremely closely so that if they stop without warning, you have no choice but to slam on the brakes.

It's even a bad idea to repeatedly let your car keep going until it's almost out of gas. Doing that occasionally in emergency situations is okay, but if you do it regularly, your fuel pump may get clogged with debris and sediment collected over time, within the fuel tank, which could eventually require replacement.

Increased Maintenance Is Often Necessary Due to Severe Driving Conditions

Look in your car's owner's manual and you may see advice about taking your car for maintenance more often if it’s subjected to what are referred to as severe driving conditions. Those might occur if you operate your car in mountainous areas or across sandy and muddy terrain. Driving a car in hot, humid conditions where the temperature is characteristically above 90 degrees Fahrenheit also may mean your car needs maintenance more often than others.

Also keep in mind that it's best for your car to be driven above low speeds for long distances, such as on the highway. Short trips at low speeds are harsh on the vehicle over time and may necessitate additional scheduled maintenance appointments.

Professional Maintenance Keeps Your Car Running Smoothly

Maybe you cannot remember the last time your car underwent professional maintenance or know it's time to make an appointment for servicing. In either case, have an ASE-certified auto mechanic carefully examine your car and make sure everything's working correctly. Furthermore, you can ask the technician for tips about how to make simple changes in your driving behavior to prolong your vehicle's lifespan.

Your car is probably one of your most prized possessions. Taking care of it properly increases the chances it will be a trusty mode of transportation that gets you safely to destinations.