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Motoring milestones: How to keep on top of basic car servicing

Car maintenance by the mile.

Image: Shutterstock/Studio 72

CARS NEED REGULAR servicing to keep them running safely and efficiently, and at full power. By ignoring your car’s service schedule, you put your vehicle at risk of a breakdown, NCT failure and potentially costly repair bills down the line.

Vehicles come with a service schedule that the manufacturer believes will keep it running safely and smoothly. As a rule of thumb, it is recommended that you service your car once a year or every 20,000km (roughly 12,500 miles in old money). But you should check the individual recommendations for your make and model.

Car components including belts, brakes, filters, fluids, pads and plugs need to be changed at specific intervals. Checking these regularly will prolong the life of the car and its parts.

But when exactly should these be serviced? We’ve put together this handy reminder:

Oil and oil filter: In the olden days, the rule of thumb was to change the oil around every 3,000 miles (5,000km) but that was when most oil used was non-synthetic. Nowadays, most cars use synthetic lubricant and you can push your oil and filter change out to between 8,000km and 15,000km, depending on the type. But I always think, the sooner the better.

Air filter: If you live or park your vehicle somewhere dusty change the filter at around 20,000km otherwise anywhere up to 45,000km is good. The cleaner the filter though the easier it is for your engine to breathe.

Battery: Most batteries last about four to five years so you should probably get a new one around 80,000 to 100,000km.

Brake fluid: To ensure your brakes work properly, replace the brake fluid every 32,000 to 70,000km. Or once a year is good too.

Brake pads: Good brake pads can last up to 80,000km but get them checked regularly to make sure they are working correctly. A good rule of thumb is to inspect them with every oil change.

Power steering fluid: Flush and replace the power steering fluid at around 50,000 to 60,000km, or every two years.

These motoring milestones are just guidelines, and you’ll need to consult your car’s manual for a more precise maintenance schedule.

READ: 4 of the most spectacular driving routes through the wild North West >

READ: Two tips to park like a pro – and save fuel while you’re at it >

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About the author:

Melanie May  / https://www.melaniemay.com

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