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How often should you do car maintenance?

car maintenance tools

All too often regular car maintenance goes overlooked by drivers, and it inevitably results in costly repairs and a shorter lifespan for a car. A big part of your responsibilities as a car owner is to keep up with your car maintenance. 

Even though you can purchase an aftermarket warranty for cars that can help you avoid expensive bills, it’s still up to you to do regular maintenance. Remember any vehicle service contract, also known as an extended car warranty, can ask to see complete service records before they cover your repairs!

Here is how you can know how often you should be doing car maintenance on your car.

Your owner’s manual car maintenance schedule

For the most accurate schedule of when you should be doing car maintenance, take a look at your owner’s manual. Some car makers offer a separate booklet just for maintenance and another booklet for other important car information. 

Your owner’s manual may offer different maintenance schedules based on your car use. Some cars are driven with “normal” use and others are driven under more “severe” circumstances (for example, harsh weather conditions). Be sure you are following the maintenance schedule that applies to the conditions in which you’re driving your car.

Did you buy your car used? It may be possible that you don’t have your original owner’s manual. The good news is many car makers allow you to access your owner’s manual online. 

You may need to enter your car’s VIN number (the 17-character number that includes numbers and capital letters located on the driver’s side where the dashboard meets the windshield) to find the specific version for your car.

What are some general guidelines for car maintenance?

Among the most commonly neglected car maintenance tasks are brake pads replacements and air filter replacements, oil changes and regular tire rotations. Every car will have its specific guidelines, but here are some general maintenance schedules gathered from Repairpal.

Car maintenance taskWhen to do it
Oil and filter changeEvery 5,000 to 7,000 miles
Tire rotationEvery 5,000 to 8,000 miles
New tiresVaries
Windshield wiper blade replacementEvery six to 12 months
Engine air filter replacementEvery 20,000 to 60,000 miles
Brake pad replacementEvery 30,000 to 50,000 miles

Read our blog for the top 5 do it yourself car maintenance and repair tips.

Car maintenance based on maintenance reminder system

If your car is a newer model, you may have certain system reminders that can alert you when you need regular maintenance. For example, you may have a dashboard light that lets you know when it’s time for an oil change, a fluid level check and tire pressure inspection. 

Note: This reminder system is based on the miles you’ve driven. Your reminders may not come on if you are driving very few miles over a long period of time. 

Save on car maintenance and cover your car repair costs

Car maintenance is expensive over time while expensive car repairs can happen at any time. The right kind of vehicle service contract should cover your expensive repairs while also offering discounts on car maintenance and help you reduce your overall car ownership costs. Vehicle Repair Protection offers comprehensive coverage over major repair through a low-cost monthly subscription. Included with your subscription is the membership, which offers discounts on car maintenance at major car maintenance establishments around the U.S. as well as Car Cash that you can put toward services. has created vehicle breakdown coverage that is simple, trustworthy and affordable. Transforming the extended car warranty marketplace through technology and transparency, offers a full suite of worry-free, no haggle car care plans through low-cost, 100% online, monthly subscriptions that drivers can sign up for in less than five minutes. Get an instant quote today!