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How Often Should You Get Your Car Serviced?

A mechanic in gray overalls works under the hood of a car.

We depend on our cars to provide reliable service, but for this to happen, car owners must live up to their end of the bargain. You need to make sure your car gets the maintenance needed for optimal performance.

With that in mind, how often should you get your car serviced? Let’s take a look.

Recommended Maintenance

Timely car maintenance

Many newer vehicles have a maintenance reminder system on the dashboard that lets you know when it’s time for services like oil changes, filter replacements and fluid level checks. These systems track mileage, but they also consider the conditions under which your car is being operated to give a more accurate picture of what service is needed and when. If your car has one of these maintenance reminder systems, use it as a guide for scheduling service visits.

If your car doesn’t have maintenance reminders or you want to better understand what the indicators mean, you can consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual. This manual contains recommended service intervals for all the maintenance your car needs to live a healthy and productive life.

What Does a Typical Service Schedule Look Like?

Service schedules vary from one vehicle to the next, so it’s essential to consult your owner’s manual for your car’s specific needs. Typically, the recommended service intervals for these common repairs fall in these ranges:

  • Oil: change every 3,000 to 10,000 miles
  • Battery: replace every five years
  • Automatic transmission: change fluid and the filter every 60,000 miles
  • Timing belt: change every four or five years
  • Air filter: replace every 15,000 to 20,000 miles
  • Fuel filter: replace every 30,000 miles
  • Steering: flush the steering system every 30,000 miles
  • Spark plugs: change every 40,000 miles
  • Tires: rotate every 6,000 miles
  • Tune-up: every 12,000 miles or once a year for cars that don’t have an electronic ignition; every 25,000 to 100,000 miles for a newer vehicle with an electronic ignition

You can handle some of these tasks, like changing the oil and replacing the air filter, at home in your garage. But others, like changing the fuel filter, may be too tricky to handle on your own unless you have specialized experience.

Is It Always Necessary to Perform the Recommended Service?

It’s a good idea to schedule service visits as often as recommended in your car’s owner’s manual. Your mechanic will be able to check all the maintenance items suggested above and more as well as any performance concerns unique to your vehicle.

Some mechanics may recommend intervals that are more frequent than the ones listed in your manual. If the mechanic’s guidance differs dramatically from the guidance given in the manual, ask about the reasons behind the disparity. Your mechanic may have noticed increased wear from severe operating conditions.

How Often Should You Get Your Car Serviced in Severe Operating Conditions?

Some cars operate in conditions that can increase wear and tear. For example, driving in weather that’s extremely hot or cold can tax a vehicle. So can towing or sustained stop-and-go driving.

If you drive in these severe operating conditions, your car will likely require more frequent maintenance. Consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual for guidance. The manual will describe which conditions qualify as severe and list the intervals required for proper care.

A car breakdown can be inconvenient and dangerous, but proper vehicle maintenance can prevent this from happening.

Check out all the car maintenance products available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on how often you should get your car serviced, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photo courtesy of Unsplash.


Warren Clarke View All

I'm a writer and editor who's a regular contributor with the New York Daily News and Carfax, and my content has appeared in over 20 publications. I've written content that covers industries such as automotive, medical, insurance, healthcare, real estate, plumbing, pest control, dental and hospitality.

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