Keep It Purring like a Kitten: How Often Should You Get Your Car Serviced
Did you know that the average age of cars in Canada is now a whopping 12.88 years? In fact, more than half of the Great White North’s vehicles now last for about 15 years!
Improved quality and technology are among the main reasons for this longer life. However, these are also some of the factors that drive car prices up every year. In 2018 alone, car prices in Canada averaged $33,464.
This is why you should follow your vehicles maintenance schedule. This helps you avoid costlier (and preventable) car troubles.
The big question is, how often should you get your car serviced? When should you bring it for a tune-up and why shouldn’t you postpone maintenance?
We’ll answer all these questions and more in this post, so be sure to keep reading!
Why Have Your Car Serviced in the First Place
Bringing your wheels in for periodic tune-ups is a “spend now but save loads later” tactic. For instance, across North America, an oil change would only cost you about $46 to $70 on average. Now, compare that to the $2,700 to $5,000 price tag of an engine replacement.
If you often miss these low-cost yet necessary oil changes, your engine is likely to die sooner. Even if you drive in extreme conditions, you’d only need about three or four oil changes in a year anyway. That’s far cheaper than a new engine, not to mention easier to deal with than the stress and hassle of having your transportation stop working.
A Closer Look at Fluid Changes
Regular and proper engine oil changes keep your engine’s gears running smoothly, literally. After all, a fresh supply of lubricant prevents friction and heat from building up in the engine.
Whereas dirty oil can no longer lubricate all those moving parts under your car’s hood. It’s also filled with dirt, debris, and sludge that will only pass in and out of the engine. These particles can get stuck in engine parts and hinder their proper movement.
When exactly you’ll get an alert for an engine oil change depends on the vehicle, mileage, and how you drive. Driving conditions and climate also affect how often you should get an oil change. That’s why the range can be anywhere from 3,000 to 5,000 miles or 5,000 to 8,000 kilometres.
A good rule to follow is to get an engine oil change seasonally. This will help protect your engine and all components, especially from overheating.
If you think about it, oil is the cheapest investment you can treat your vehicle to that does the most.
So, How Often Should You Get Your Car Serviced?
Did you know that BMW was one of the first carmakers to introduce a car maintenance reminder system?
That’s right! This was in the form of the Service Interval Indicator (SII), launched back in 1982. Many car makers then followed suit and equipped their machines with a similar system.
Today, the majority of cars on Canadian roads have this kind of technology. Unless you have an antique or classic car, you should take advantage of your ride’s reminder system. It’s one of the simplest, no-fuss ways to tell how often you should service a car.
Your car’s maintenance computer will alert you if you already need to change the engine oil. Newer systems also remind car owners to check fluid levels and inspect components. They also notify drivers about tire pressure and getting the tires rotated.
What About Service Schedules for Older Cars?
For older cars, service schedules are usually by the book. Look it up in the manual, which has recommendations on when to take it for service. Older vehicles without maintenance reminder computers have mileage-based service schedules.
Aside from mileage, servicing for these vehicles also depend on operating conditions. It’s either “normal” operation or “severe” operation.
Normal Operating Conditions
If you drive under normal conditions, you may only need to bring your car for servicing after 5,000 to 7,500 miles. Even if you have a car that’s older than five years, it’s unlikely you need to get it serviced after only 3,000 miles. Again, this is due to the better engines and lubricants we now have today.
Also, if you can’t remember the last time you had your car serviced, look at your dashboard. It may have a lit “Check Engine” light, which may mean that you’re running low on oil. That lit warning signal may also mean that the oil is so dirty that it’s registering as an empty tank.
Either way, this should already tell you to bring your car in for a much-needed tune-up and oil change. The sooner you do, the sooner you can get rid of that lit “Check Engine” light. And of course, this will avert a potential car break down, which can happen to you in the middle of nowhere.
Severe Driving Conditions
“Severe” driving conditions usually include driving in extreme climates or polluted environments. The same goes for cars that are rarely used (5 miles or less) or regularly tow heavy loads.
If you meet any of these conditions, then you’d need more frequent car tune-ups. Be sure to check your owner’s manual for specific tune-up schedules.
Get Your Car Serviced in Time to Prevent Costly Breakdowns
There you have it, all the answers to your question, “How often should you get your car serviced?” If you use your car the normal way, then you may only need routine tune-ups at least once a year. If your driving habits involve too-light or too-heavy use, then it’s best to get it serviced more than once a year.
Still unsure on when to service your car? Then please feel free to connect with us now! We’ll help you figure out if your ride is already due for a much-needed routine tune-up!