Skip to main content

Oregon Family Magazine

Keeping Your Car in Tip Top Shape

04/05/2023 ● By Jill Morgenstern
Upon turning over the keys to the family car to my then 18 year old son, my husband asked him to make an appointment with his mechanic. “Let him go over the car with you and point out what to look out for,” he instructed. My son dutifully took in the car and received pointers from John and as far as I know has followed the mechanic’s instructions on keeping the car running well. But what if you don’t have a trustworthy family mechanic to give pointers and keep a look out for the most common problems? 

It’s easy enough to keep your car running reliably well. Firstly and most importantly, refer to the owner’s manual for your car and read the section on vehicle maintenance. Along with those recommendations, the following pointers can help:

Keep the Oil Changed

This should be done every six months or every three to five thousand miles, whichever comes first. Your owner’s manual may have a more specific mileage to guide you. In addition to a longer car life, keeping up with routine oil changes can give you better gas mileage and can even help your car cause less pollution,

Change Your Air Filters

Often this can be done along with an oil change, although it needs to be done less often. Every 12,000 to 15,000 miles is a good rule of thumb although again, your owners manual is your friend and may have another recommendation. Doing a visual check is a good gauge. If yours looks dirty or full of debris, it could be time for a change. Ignition problems or reduced gas mileage could also be signs of a dirty air filter.

Rotate Your Tires

Tires should be rotated every 5000 to 8000 miles or as specified in your owner’s manual. This is critical since your tires are the only thing between you and the road. Having your tires rotated on a regular basis will help them wear evenly, causing less problems down the road (pun intended!). It’s also a great time to have a professional inspect your tires to prevent further problems.

Don’t Skip Scheduled Maintenance

Getting maintenance in accordance with your owners manual will help prolong the life of your car. During this check up radiator fluid, power steering fluid and brake fluid can be checked and maintained. Additionally a tune up may include checking the spark plugs if your car has them and other points of wear and tear. 

These days cars don’t need quite as much maintenance as they used to. Spark plugs may last longer, lubrication may be better sealed and last longer. But keeping these points in mind will help prolong the life of your car and keep it running well. Not to mention make the passengers and driver safer whether on routine errands or a long road trip.