Maintaining a car requires your attention, commitment and cash. There will always be tires to rotate, timing belts to change and filters to replace. After running an auto repair shop in Boulder Colorado for decades we have seen many things change.
But putting off or trying to skip that maintenance will cost you plenty more in the end.
“The true cost of not maintaining your vehicle,” writes Margarette Burnette at Bankrate, “can include hefty repair bills for bad brakes, failed emissions tests and maybe even a failed engine.”
As Philip Reed, the senior consumer advice editor at Edmunds.com, tells Burnette: “If you don’t maintain your car, you’re taking a vehicle that might have been driven for 200,000 miles over its life, and you’re knocking it down to maybe 150,000 miles.”
While you should always follow the instructions in your ownership manual, the following infographic gives you a general idea of when to perform which task, and provides tips for mountain vehicle maintenance.
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Additional Maintenance for High Altitude Drivers
For those of us who live in mountain towns like Boulder, higher elevations and snowfall amounts mean drivers must perform a little extra scheduled maintenance.
There’s a definite correlation between high altitude driving and engine efficiency.
“Altitude affects the way an engine produces power because of the available oxygen,” Laura Wheeler at High Altitude Living writes. “Usually, a quick tune-up will solve any problems.”
In addition to using high-grade gasoline, or an octane booster, you might have to adjust your carburetor and will want to do the following:
- check your O2 sensor
- check that your power steering is tight
- check the front end suspension
- check tire air pressure if changing altitude
High altitudes bring cold weather, and driving in freezing temperatures means you’ll need to remember to change over to anti-freeze windshield washer fluid when it starts to get colder. Other points to remember for the winter:
- use lighter weight motor oil
- check level power steering fluid
- check level clutch fluid
- check level radiator antifreeze in radiator
Keeping Track of Your Car Maintenance Schedule
Whatever system you have of tracking your vehicle maintenance schedule — a logbook, spreadsheet or app — it needs to be followed and updated. In fact, an up-to-date maintenance log, showing the car’s maintenance history, can be a valuable selling point when it comes time to sell your vehicle.
When you use an app such as Fuelly’s aCar to track maintenance schedules, fuel economy and general expenses for your vehicle, you can better understand how your vehicle is performing and discover the best way to drive it more fuel-efficiently.