Taking care of your car is a good idea. Staying on top of vehicle maintenance and auto repair services will keep your baby on the road for longer, prevent dangerous vehicle failures while driving, and ultimately save you a lot of money.
However, sometimes you just don’t know how to be a good car owner, because you are not an auto mechanic. You didn’t go to car school; you don’t know all the answers to all the auto repair questions that you might come across.
We believe that informed car owners are the best car owners. So to make your life better, and to help you keep your car-baby for as long as possible, we’ve put together a list of common auto repair questions, and their answers. Check out our list, and if you have any auto repair questions we didn’t cover, please let us know!
The Answers to Common Auto Repair Questions
- Question: How often should I get my oil changed?
Answer: Your grandma probably told you to change your oil every 3,000 miles or three months; which ever came first. For your grandma’s 1970 station wagon, this was true. However, modern cars and the modern refinement process that oil goes through before it even reaches your car makes it unnecessary to change your oil that much. Now, you can get away with changing your oil every 5,000 to 10,000 miles. The best time frame to change your oil in depends on how much wear and tear you put on your car, the climate you drive in, and the make and model of your car. If you want specific guidelines, refer to your owner’s manual, or talk to a mechanic.
- Question: How often should I get new tires?
Answer: Staying on top of tire replacement is a thing we wish all drivers made a priority. Having good quality tires is important for your fuel mileage, the overall performance of your vehicle, and — most importantly — the safety of yourself and other drivers on the road. Tire failure is the leading cause of breakdowns while driving, and car accidents as a result of mechanical failure.
The proper tire pressure depends on the make and model of your vehicle. You can find this information on the door jam or inside the glove compartment. As a rule of thumb, it’s time to get new tires when the tread is so low that you can put a penny on your tire and see the face of it from the side. If you ever have any question about the state of your tires, get yourself to a tire shop right away.
- Question: How long do spark plugs last?
Answer: Spark plugs are cheap and easy to replace but have a big impact on your ability to drive your car. When your spark plugs lose their spark, you won’t be able to start your car. The lifespan of your spark plugs depend on the age of it. Older cars (built prior to the year 2001) need spark plug replacements every 15,000 to 30,000 miles. If your car is newer than 2001, you only need to worry about replacing the spark plugs every 90,000 miles or so.
- Question: How often should a timing belt be changed?
Answer: Replacing your timing belt as recommended by your owner’s manual is important. Many vehicles are built with interference timing belts; if you skip replacing it and let it break while you’re on the road, it breaks the cylinders on the engine in the process. This means your entire engine is kaput! Most manufacturers recommend replacing the timing belt every 50,000 miles. You can always ask a mechanic for a diagnosis if you are unsure.
If you have a timing chain, you’re in much better shape on this subject. Timing chains only need to be replaced approximately every 200,000 miles. Again, ask your car guy to look it over to make sure you have a good plan here.
We hope this list of commonly asked auto repair questions gives you the direction you need to keep your car happy for as long as possible. If you have any more questions about keeping your car in great shape, please shout them out below!