Keep your car healthy: 4 keys to car maintenance

You probably know regular car maintenance is a good idea, but may not really know how often to service your vehicle. Having a maintenance schedule for your vehicle will remind you of necessary visits and will save you time and money in the long run.

“We’re looking for small things, so you don’t have huge surprises down the road,” says Shelly Smith, owner of Port Moody Auto & Air. “After all, if you come to us and have a huge bill, you’re not going to want to come back.”

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Here are the top four areas that need regular maintenance, according to Smith:

1. Oil: “Too many people don’t think an oil change is that important and it’s killing their cars,” says Smith. “Oil is the life blood of your vehicle. It keeps the engine running smoothly. We recommend changing it every 5,000 kilometres. That’s only $40 or $50 on a regular basis. That’s so much cheaper than replacing an engine, which can start at $3,000.”

An oil change in most shops will also include tire, light, filter and brake checks, as well as fluid top-ups.

2. Brakes: If you’re bringing in your car regularly for tune-ups and oil changes, you should get advance warning if there’s anything wrong with your brakes, and when they will need changing. That will give you some time to plan and save money for when the work has to be done.

“If you don’t keep a regular maintenance schedule, things can be going wrong that you’ll never know about,” Smith says. “You have a mom with three kids coming in and suddenly her brakes are down to nothing.”

3. Tires: Inflating your tires properly and assessing them regularly for damage will allow your tires to last longer and prevent serious accidents. If you don’t know how to check the pressure or tread, ask a mechanic to do it. It only takes a few minutes.

4. Cooling system flush: This should be done every two years, says Smith. The older the coolant, the more acidic it gets, and if it’s not changed, it will start to eat away at the engine components, leading to very expensive repairs.

If you want to set up a maintenance schedule for your car, contact Port Moody Auto & Air’s services. Visit their website, call 604-461-7856 or email. You can also find Port Moody Auto & Air on Facebook.

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