Taking care of a vehicle is tough work. It seems like every other month another thing needs to be replaced or inspected. However, sticking to an ongoing service maintenance schedule isn’t a waste of time and money; in the long run, it’ll help your car last longer, so you can keep driving it long after that last car payment.
Above all, the owner’s manual knows best. The manual will likely come with recommendations for how often you should take your vehicle in to be serviced by a professional based on either mileage or how much time has passed.
Your windshield wiper fluid, the level of your oil, the condition and inflation of your tires, the exterior lights of your vehicle including turn signals, and whether or not there are any dashboard warning lights on.
The traditional rule of thumb for oil changes is either once every three months or 3,000 miles, but that’s based on older and less efficient oils. Modern oils can last anywhere from 5,000 to 7,500 miles before they need to be changed, which can make changing your oil once every 3k pretty wasteful.
For modern cars, you should be having your car inspected or tuned at least once every 15,000 miles. The first round won’t be too much work - a tire rotation, oil change, air filter swap, and a brake and coolant system inspection will likely suffice. As your mileage creeps up, however, you’ll have to replace things like belts and hoses, spark plugs, transmission fluids, and the like.
Having a healthy car will save you money in the long-term. Performing regular service and maintenance can prevent far more costly damages down the road, such as engine damage caused by dirty oil or by a snapped belt. Staying on top of your schedule will keep your car running day in and day out.