5 Essential Vehicle Maintenance Tips

1. Brakes

You should know the importance of the brakes in your vehicle. Even though you don’t see them every day, brakes suffer from wear and tear just like your tires or other parts of your vehicle. In addition to getting them examined at regular intervals, there are ways your brakes will tell you when they need some attention.

Do you hear a high-pitched sound when you come to a stop in your vehicle? Has that high-pitched squeal turned into a grinding noise? If you answer yes, your brakes may need some L.O.V.E ASAP. Those unpleasant sounds your hearing may be metal hitting metal. Now let’s take a look at the most common brake system in vehicles today, the disc brake system.

In this type of system each time you press the brake pedal, the brake fluid gets pressurized in the master cylinder. Which then causes the pad to press against the rotor. Which then works to stop your vehicle. Over time your brake rotors and pads wear down due to normal use. Your brake systems should be inspected regularly. Routine brake system inspection promotes optimal brake performance and can likely help prevent you from having costly repairs in the future.

2. Tires

Your tires are very important. They keep your vehicle in connection with the road and keep you in nice control of your vehicle. You may not feel it, but your tires wear unequally. Differently in the back than they do in the front and differently on each side.

It is a wise thing to get them rotated on at certain periods, which will maximize tire life and help provide even wear for ideal protection and performance characteristics. Proper tire inflation will support you to get the longest tire life. It can also help with fuel economy as well as helping to provide the best overall tire performance so you can stop at a Jiffy Lube location when a car in front of you hits the brakes.

Make it your habit to test the tire pressure at least once a month. To find the accurate tire pressure for your vehicle, just check the tire placard usually located on the driver’s side door jamb. You can also refer to the owner’s manual.

Newer vehicles are equipped with a tire-pressure-monitoring system or TPMS. These are sensors that will alert you when any one of the tires is considerably under-inflated.  It will pop up on your dash in the form of this light. If you see this, you may want to measure pressure in each tire as earliest as possible and re-inflate to recommended settings, or you can just bring it to the nearest Jiffy Lube service center and let them help you.

Keep in mind, having these sensors on your vehicle does not negate the need to measure the tire pressure every month. Additionally, if you observe your tires are mostly under-inflated, be sure to have them inspected at the Jiffy Lube for damage.

3. Air Filter

You must know all the ins and outs of air filters. When it comes to air, there are two main filters to be aware of in your vehicle.

  1. Engine Air Filter
  2. Cabin Air Filter

Just like the air filters in your home need changing, so do the ones in your vehicle. Your engine needs to take in air and combine it with fuel to create the combustion that drives the pistons. The air filter helps keep out bugs, dirt, dust, leaves, soda cans, squirrels, and just about anything else from getting sucked in with the air.

Every vehicle is different, but most manufacturers recommend regular inspection or replacement of the engine air filter between 15000 to 30000 miles to keep the airflow clean. Getting it inspected every time you get your oil changed is an easy way to ensure you don’t forget. And if you live or are driving in dusty conditions, you might want to change it more often!

The cabin air filter performs a similar function except it does it for the vent, AC, and heating system inside the cabin. Trapping dust, dirt, and any other particles. Getting less than fresh air from the dashboard vents? Might be time to change this filter.

4. Fluids

While motor oil is vital to your vehicle’s health there are other important fluids that help to lubricate, maintain, clean, and assist the moving parts of your vehicle. They all have optimal levels and should be examined and filled according to your car manufacturer’s recommendations.

It’s important to note that vehicle fluids can come in a range of colors depending on fluid manufacturer and type; getting the correct fluid for your vehicle is key. When in doubt, check your owner’s manual.

Now let’s talk about what each one does.

  • Transmission Fluid

It’s vital for your automatic or manual transmission. It lubricates, cools, and protects from corrosion. Proper maintenance helps to prolong the lifetime of the transmission system.

If you ever need to examine your transmission fluid, be sure to review these steps.

  1. Check your owner’s manual for correct procedures for your vehicle.
  2. Make sure your vehicle is on a smooth surface.
  3. Have your vehicle at operating temperature.
  • Brake Fluid

Better have it, or you may not be stopping on that dime when you need to. Antifreeze, or coolant, helps your engine maintain a proper temperature. This fluid keeps it warm in winter and cool in the summer.

  • Power Steering Fluid

For most vehicles, this fluid works with your power steering pump to help keep you from having to hire a bodybuilder to turn your wheel.

  • Washer Fluid

Washer fluid seems less important until you have to drive through a swarm of locusts. Seriously, make sure your fluid level is good to help maintain clean and clear visibility through your windshield.

5. Motor Oil

There are three types of motor oils available:

  • Conventional Motor Oil
  • Synthetic Motor Oil
  • High Mileage Motor Oil

You may be asking yourself, what’s the difference? What’s best for my vehicle and driving habits? How do I know what oil to get and when to get it? Take a deep breath, we’re going to lift the hood on this topic for you.

First off, check your owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s recommendation on what kind of oil is best for your vehicle. When it comes to changing your oil, you may see that your manual refers to “normal” and “severe” driving conditions.

Now, you may see the phrase severe driving in your manual and start thinking about drag racing or towing cranes, but actually, many manufacturers consider severe driving to be; extensive idling or stop-and-go driving; repeated short distance drives; driving on dusty, gravel, and/or salted roads; driving in extreme temperatures for prolonged periods of time.

Conventional motor oil meets the minimum industry requirements for motor oil but may not meet your vehicle manufacturer recommendations. Check your owner’s manual to see if it does.

Now, the synthetic motor lubricant has chemically manageable properties for extreme temperature performance, more and more vehicle manufacturers are recommending it today. Check your owner’s manual to see if yours is one of them.

High mileage oil is best for those vehicles which have over 75,000 miles. It helps engines that have faced blockages a few times by reducing oil consumption, oil leaks, and the need for oil top-offs.

Now that you’ve decided on a conventional, synthetic, or high mileage oil, it’s time to select the right viscosity for your vehicle. Viscosity refers to your oil’s resistance to flow, and your engine has designed with the specific viscosity grade. Once again, your owner’s manual can help you select the oil that’s right for you.


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