Released on Jan. 19, 2021
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Intro: A car maintenance schedule tells you when to inspect and change everything, but it stops after the dates and miles. It doesn’t tell you what to expect or how it’s done. Maintaining a car takes finesse, patience, persistence, consistency, and a few tricks of the trade to keep on track.
If you’ve ever caught your mom, or any home mechanic/gearhead, riding in the car with the radio turned off, it’s not because she hates the radio’s profanity-edited songs, it’s because she’s listening to the car. And if you know what the car sounds like when it’s running smoothly, you’ll know the sound of something running incorrectly.
It’s this type of attentive relationship that results in a long-lasting vehicle that you can count on. The editors at The Drive have been fostering these automotive relationships since they could pick up wrenches. Here are a few tips we’ve learned along the way to make car maintenance less of a hassle and more of a point of pride.
Maintain a Log
If you look in the back portion of your car’s owner’s manual, there’s a good chance it has a bunch of blank pages, pages with blank lines, or pages with blank boxes. Those are there for writing down your service history, but an owner’s manual is not the only place you can write down work.
Just grab any notebook and keep a record of oil changes, tire rotations, fluid flushes, brake jobs, and any other maintenance done to your vehicle. You’ll never forget the last time you did something, it will help you stay on schedule, and your vehicle will be safer and healthier for it.
(I write down every fill-up, along with the mileage and fuel economy, too, but not everybody’s that intense.—Ed.)