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When Does Your Car Need an Oil Change, Tune Up and Timing Belt Replacement?


Thinking of putting off the oil change for yet another time? If you've got a lot on your plate at the moment, having to drop by a car repair shop is something that you'd prefer to do when it's absolutely necessary.

Oil change after every 3,000 miles?

If you're still driving a car that's more than ten years old, then you should have an oil change after every 3,000 miles as advised by most service stations. Oil serves to lubricate the moving parts of car engines, preventing the metal surfaces from grinding against each other and wearing out because of friction. It also prevents corrosion, and it helps cool the engine and keeps it clean by soaking up the harmful by-products of combustion. Oil, once dirty from use, won't get the job done in the way that it should.

Determining when you should have an oil change depends on the type of car you drive. Different makes of cars now have various kinds of engines that will differ in the way they use oil. For instance, a 2010 BMW 3Series can go up to 15,000 miles before you need to change oil under ideal conditions. A 2008 Porsche Boxster can go for 12,000 miles, a 2007 Chevrolet Malibu for 7,500 miles, and a 2005 Toyota Tacoma for 5,000 miles before you may need to change the oil. Read the manufacturer's recommendations in your car owner's manual to see how often you should get an oil change for your particular make of car.

Should you continue to schedule an annual car tune-up?

A tune up is a preventative maintenance procedure for your engine to detect potential problems before they become real issues that require expensive repairs. In ten-year or older cars, a tune-up is needed every year or after every 30,000-45,000 miles, whichever comes first. During a tune up, a mechanic typically tests and examines details under the hood such as spark plugs, the fuel filter, the fuel pump injector system, the PCV (Positive Crankcase Ventilation) valve, the vehicle's points and condenser, the carburetor, the ignition coils, the air filter, the battery, and so forth. The tune up will also involve checking the tire pressure, assessing the functionality of wiper blades and lights, and other maintenance tasks.

In newer makes of cars, particularly those that comes with computer-controls, tune ups are usually scheduled based on the vehicle's mileage. In the car owner's manual, the manufacturer indicates the mileage-based intervals for the replacement of car parts and other recommended maintenance services. Of course, even if it's not yet the scheduled date, you may need to have a tune up if you find your car performing unusually poorly. For instance, if it doesn't start as easily as before, or if it jumps or runs roughly when started, or even if you are getting lower mileage than you have been used to, you may consider scheduling a tune up.

Do you need to have your timing belt replaced?

The timing belt is the ribbed belt that keeps the cylinder head and valves in sync with the crankcase and pistons in the engine of your car. If you drive a '90s or older car, chances are good that you have a timing belt under the hood. Manufacturers have different schedules and measures for you, should you wonder whether you need a timing belt replacement. The general rule, though, is that you should replace the belt every five years or after every 60,000 miles, whichever comes first.

Newer cars tend not to feature timing belts. Instead, they use metal timing chains that are theoretically maintenance-free and claimed to last as long as the engine. Of course, whether you have a timing belt or a timing chain, you really have no choice but to have it replaced if it snaps.

 


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