Everyone needs a car to get from point A to point B. It is a huge relief when you find that you have a car that functions well and lasts a long time, but it is also important to keep up with the car maintenance checklist by mileage. With cars, the more miles you put on them, the more things can go wrong. To prepare for any problems in the future, it is important to stay on top of all maintenance for your vehicle.
As your car is no more under warranty, it’s important to take preventive measures now so you can avoid expensive repairs in the future. However, it can be confusing for most people to know what to do and when to do it.
Don’t worry, we’ve put together a high mileage vehicle maintenance checklist to keep your car running smoothly. Depending on how you drive and how often you make repairs, your checklist will vary. However, most of the items on a regular maintenance checklist are important for keeping your car running well.
This includes things like checking and filling fluids, changing the oil and filters, regularly rotating your tires, checking your tire pressure, and more. You may want to make a checklist for yourself with all the items that need to be checked regularly.
Besides, keeping your car running for more miles, the guide will enable you to ask top dollar while reselling the car.
Let’s find out the things you need to follow:
Car Maintenance Checklist By Mileage:
A car is a major investment. It can also be a major expense. The more you take care of it, the more reliable it will be for you for many miles to come. Proper maintenance can save you money in the future by preventing problems that could cause bigger issues down the road.
Car maintenance costs vary widely by model and year as well as by the type of car maintenance service required. However, there’s some basic information on all cars that drivers should know to properly maintain their vehicle.
Following is the car maintenance checklist by mileage you need to follow.
These are the fundamental high mileage vehicle maintenance checklist points, which you should follow at least once a month or more often. If your car has a back camera, clean the back camera lens to get a clear view.
Inspecting tire pressure once a week is a good idea. It will help you keep a record of your tire’s condition. Driving on under-inflated tires can be fatal, as it increases the surface area resulting in more friction. This could overheat the tires which can lead to untimely wear, tread separation, and blowouts.
Just like tire pressure, keep an eye on the fluid levels in the car. These are the fluids that keep the car running smoothly, a low level of any fluid can lead to severe degradation followed by irreparable damage.
It’s better to tackle the situation early before you need to get a super costly major service for the car.
Every 3000 miles:
This is also known as 3 months car maintenance guide.
Oil and Oil Filter:
Your car oil and oil filter need to be changed more often. When an engine runs, tiny pieces of metal, carbon, and dirt end up in the oil and can produce excessive wear on the engine.
Non-synthetic oil used in the past lasts 3000 miles, but most cars nowadays run on synthetic oil that needs every 10000-mile service.
Add Fuel Injector Cleaner to Fuel:
Injectors can become somewhat blocked, preventing the supply of the proper amount of fuel at the correct pressure.
When injectors are dirty, the fuel doesn’t burn properly, ending in poor fuel economy and loss of power. So it’s important in engine maintenance to keep the fuel injectors clean.
Inspect the battery, it should be securely mounted. The battery connection should be clean, tight, and free from any corrosion. If you notice corrosion on your battery, clean it using baking soda or coke. If the battery is three years old or more if it’s weak better replace it.
Inspect Air Filter:
Inspecting the air filter at each oil change is a must. Replace the filter if you notice signs of oil and water on the filter, torn, service engine light, unusual engine sound, and reduced engine performance.
Not only will this help keep your car running smoother and more efficiently, but it can also help you save money in the long run. Here’s a checklist of things you should do to ensure your air filter is in good shape:
- Check the fitment of the air filter. If it’s not fitted properly, dirt, dust, and other particles could be entering your engine and causing problems.
- Check for any tears or cracks in the membrane. This could allow contaminants into your engine and lead to corrosion and eventual engine failure.
- Check for debris or filings blocking any passages within the filter. Once again, this can allow contaminants into your engine and damage it over time.
- Check the condition of the air filter regularly if you live in an area with high levels of pollution. If the filter appears to be dirty or damaged, replace it immediately to keep engine maintenance appropriate.
If you are using a reusable car air filter, you can clean it at home and it will again be good to go.
Inspect Oil and Oil Filter:
As discussed earlier cars nowadays use synthetic oil that lasts 5000 to 10,000 miles depending on the type. Replace the oil if it is needed. Along with the oil also replace the oil filter (read manual to see actual life of filter) if needed. If remain untreated, it can lead to major service for car and may require engine maintenance.
Rotate and Balance Tires:
At every 5000 mile service rotate and balance the tires. Rotating tires is an important high mileage vehicle maintenance checklist step. It enhances safety on the road and extends the life of the car. One of the biggest problems with improperly rotated or balanced tires is that they can cause your car to wander or “hunt” around on the road. This can cause issues with traction and stability, leading to accidents.
Tire rotation will improve balanced handling, promote even tread wear and improve traction. You may notice a considerable improvement in car handling and performance after the tire rotation is done.
When your tires are properly rotated and balanced, they can help reduce wasted energy by distributing weight more evenly across the entire suspension. This in turn will improve fuel economy by reducing unnecessary vibration and noise from the road.
Apply a new coat of wax every 5000 mile service or 6 months to help protect the exterior finish of your vehicle. Check all the lights of the interior and exterior including brake lights and turn signals, and replace those that are not working.
This is also a good time to inspect windshield wiper blades and replace them if they are cracking or leaving streaks on the windshield. If they need general cleaning, clean them using vinegar.
10000 Mile Major Car Service:
At every 10000 mile service, inspect the belts of the car. The belts help the engine to run efficiently so the power can be distributed throughout the car. They also help to have your car operate efficiently.
A car’s belts are indispensable to the air conditioning and charging systems of the engine. To turn the water pump, power steering, AC compressor, and alternator, a serpentine belt is used.
Likewise, the crankshaft can only turn the camshaft with the help of the timing belt. If it breaks, the engine will stop working altogether. This also can cause significant damage to your car’s engine.
You can also repeat all the major car services for 5000-mile service.
15,000 Miles of Maintenance:
Inspect the Brakes:
Every 15,000 miles, the brakes should be inspected because they are one of the most crucial parts of the car. The importance of maintaining brakes is not hidden from anyone.
But to be very precise, brake maintenance helps ensure that your brakes engage every time you press the brake pedal. Otherwise, you will end up hitting something that can be fatal.
Change brake pads on time; as your pads wear, they will begin to stress other parts of the brake system, such as drums, rotors, and calipers.
So it’s notably valuable in car maintenance guides to maintain the brakes of your car.
Change Air Filter:
Usually, your car air filter needs replacement in case of any damage. Every 15,000 miles, its ideal to replace one for the ideal car performance
Reduce the changing interval if you drive your car in dusty conditions. Consult the user manual to find the average life of your filter as few filters last more.
Your car engine is like an athlete; the better it breathes, the better it runs. A clean air filter helps your car breathe well. Also, a clean air filter improves fuel burning in the engine ending in better performance, and better fuel efficiency. It prolongs the engine life and keeps the car safe from major car services.
Replace Cabin Air Filter:
Cabin air filters are vital for your car and play a significant role in keeping out harmful irritants. A cabin air filter aims to block dust, pollen, and other pollutants from entering the car interior through the air vents. Over time, these pollutants can cause a variety of health problems, so it is important to replace your filter regularly.
So the general rule is to change the cabin air filter after 5000-mile service but check the user manual before removing it.
Other 15000 Mile Maintenances:
- Inspect the hose clamps and tighten them if loose.
- Inspect the battery connections. If corroded clean them on time to prevent any future damage.
- Rinse off the air conditioner condenser for better and more efficient performance.
- If you notice the headlight is dull, buff the assembly to enhance your visibility on road.
Every 30,000 Miles, Maintenance:
Once your car reaches this milestone, there are various systems you will want to have inspected including:
Replace Fuel Filter:
If you’re like most drivers, you probably don’t think much about your car’s fuel filter. But if your car is struggling to get miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe) comparable to when it was new, it might be time to replace the filter.
A clean fuel filter is essential to keep a fuel delivery system in proper working order. Filtering out contaminants from fuel prevents fuel injectors from getting clogged and helps sustain a car’s top performance.
It is recommended to replace the fuel filter every 30,000 miles, better consult a professional to inspect the health of your car fuel filter.
Change the Transmission Fluid:
Transmission fluid reduces friction and lubricates the internal transmission parts for proper functioning and dissipates heat. It also cleans and protect metal surfaces from wear, condition gasket, enhances cooling function, and reduce high operating temperatures.
Whether driving a manual or an automatic car, changing transmission fluid every 30000 miles is crucial.
Inspect Suspension System:
Your car suspension is essential for smoothing and controlling your car while driving. The maintained suspension system keeps your drive smooth and comfortable.
The suspension system would limit the shock and impact of the road roughness, humps, and bumps to the passenger and the vehicle.
If the suspension system is not maintained, it will result in bumpy drive and unnecessary wear.
Check leaks in the suspensions and perform bounce tests for better understanding.
Inspect Spark Plugs:
The spark plugs play a key role in supplying the spark that burns the air/fuel mixture, creating the explosion that makes your engine produce power.
Bad spark plugs can result in slow acceleration, engine misfiring, poor fuel economy, and difficulty to start the car. Another indication of needing to replace your spark plugs is if there is excessive heat or smoke coming from the engine when you attempt to start it.
Most new cars nowadays use iridium or titanium spark plugs, which last up to 100,000 miles. But cheaper spark plugs, made of copper, still in use today, need replacement every 30,000 miles,
Along with changing spark plugs, get your spark plug wires checked as well. Swap them if needed.
Inspect PCV Valve:
A PCV valve is a component of the internal combustion system which was originally designed to reduce the emission of pollutants. It also helps in keeping the engine oil clean and prevents crankcase pressure from building up.
If you notice black smoke, surges, or increased internal engine pressure, keep in mind that these are the signs of a bad PCV valve.
You may also see engine oil in the PCV valve. A bad PCV Valve can result in engine misfires, lousy fuel consumption, rough acceleration, rough idle, and bad noise from the engine.
Replace the PCV Valve if needed to avoid any major car service in the future.
Clean the Throttle Body:
The throttle body is an essential part of your engine and is located in a sealed chamber that can accumulate dirt and debris. This buildup of carbon and other grime can cause the engine to lose power, produce a rough idle, and emit blue smoke from the exhaust system.
If you see filth, dirt, and carbon deposits inside the housing, vacuum leaks, electrical problems, and high or poor idle, it’s time to clean the throttle body. It is critical to clean the throttle body in engine maintenance.
- Replace the distributor cap and rotor (if applicable) for perfect passing of voltage from the ignition coils to the engine’s cylinders to burn the fuel-air mixture in the engine.
- Replace the oxygen sensors (only for the cars produced late 1970s to early 1990s)
50000 Mile Service:
A high mileage vehicle maintenance checklist at this milestone will be very important for the life of your car. At this milestone follow the following car maintenance guide:
Everyone recognizes the importance of a maintained battery, yet we will touch it a little bit.
Your car battery is the central power hub of your car. It stores and provides electricity to all electrical components in your car. Without the battery, your car won’t start. If the electricity gets lowered in the battery, it can damage the charging system or starter.
So maintained battery is vital for better performance of your car.
Usually, batteries last 50,000 to 60,000 miles, but people tend to switch batteries every 50000 mile service. Change the battery of your car if you haven’t changed it in 50000 mile service.
Tires are among the most critical components of the car. Their primary purposes include:
- Supporting the carload.
- Absorbing road shocks.
- Transmitting traction and braking forces to the road surface.
- Changing and maintaining the direction of travel.
To ensure the perfect performance of these functions, there are some important things to inspect on each of your car’s tires regularly. This includes the tread depth of your tires, the wear, the air pressure, and any damage or signs of degradation.
Many factors such as road conditions, extreme temperatures, improper alignment, and rotation result in wear and tear of the tire.
On an average car, tires should be replaced with 50000 mile service. Depending on the condition, you can also decrease the interval to change the tire.
Change brake fluid:
As discussed above, brakes play an indispensable role in any car. Unmaintained car brakes can lead to severe accidents, even resulting in deaths.
Brake fluid is a necessary component of any vehicle’s braking system. It is what keeps your brakes from burning up and smoothens the movement when you apply them. When the brake pedal is pressed, brake fluid creates pressure within the brake lines, which then stops the car.
Brake fluid protects many metal parts, including the wheel cylinders, ABS, and calipers, from corrosion caused by moisture which can be costly to remove.
So for the better performance of brakes, make sure to change brake fluid 40 000 mile service or 50000 mile service. The changing interval depends on the fluid you use; every fluid has a different life.
But try to check the level of brake fluid with 5000 mile service and fill if necessary.
Resurface or Replace Brake Rotors:
Brake rotors, also called brake discs, are a vital part of the braking system. They’re attached to your wheels, and they are what your car’s brake pads press down on to stop your wheels from spinning and help you evade misfortunes. In short, brake rotors stop your car.
Some manufacturers recommend using the brake rotors as long as they are in good condition. Once the rotor show signs of severe wear, change them. But many brake rotors can be resurfaced, and they will be good to go. Perform this task 50000 mile service to 60,000 miles service.
Consult any professional; he will guide you on what you should do, replace or resurface.
Remember, whatever you do must do in pairs for even performance.
A mix of water and antifreeze flows through the radiator to cool the engine. When your coolant is low, the car will overheat and may not start. Replacing your coolant can save you money in the long run by avoiding expensive repairs.
Make sure to replace your coolant with 50000 mile service, and ask your mechanic to flush the whole cooling system.
Replace Timing Belt:
The timing belt is used to open and close the valves in time with the motion of the pistons. If the timing belt breaks, the valves will open at the wrong time and will hit the larger pistons leading to major car service.
To avoid any enormous damage, it’s better to change the timing belt on time. A timing belt can break without any initial symptoms. So usually, it’s recommended to change the timing belt with 50000 mile service.
If you notice ticking noise coming from the engine, engine misfires, or oil leaking from in front of the motor, discuss it with a professional.
This could be the result of a bad timing belt, that needs replacement.
After hitting 50,000 miles along with the maintenances given above repeat all the maintenances given at every 30,000 miles,
100k Mile Maintenance Checklist:
Congratulations! Your car hit a new milestone. As seen everywhere at this milestone, the car doesn’t remain in good condition. But till reaching this milestone, if you follow our high mileage vehicle maintenance checklist, your car will be in better condition.
At 100k mile maintenance checklist, there isn’t much to do in a car (If till now you have followed our high mileage vehicle maintenance checklist), but still, you can do the following:
Change Spark Plugs and Wires:
As discussed earlier, the spark plugs supply the spark that burns the air/fuel mixture, creating the explosion which makes your engine produce power.
Bad spark plugs can result in slow acceleration, engine misfiring, poor fuel economy, and difficulty starting the car.
If you are using titanium spark plugs, change them at a 100k mile maintenance checklist. But if you are using a spark plug made of copper, you should have changed it significantly at 75000 mile service.
A car with a bad spark plug consumes more fuel. High-quality wires will allow the spark plugs to start faster and make your engine run efficiently. So along with changing the spark plug, change spark plug wires at 100k mile maintenance checklist.
To reach this milestone and change the spark plug and spark plug wires, repeat the car maintenance guide for 50000 mile service.
Keep in mind that this car maintenance checklist by mileage is a guideline. Your car’s owner’s manual contains a more detailed car maintenance guide. Also, consider the way you drive—aggressive driving leads to wearing things out quicker.
City driving tends to be harder on cars than highway driving. Many items on your car are intended to wear out, so you should watch these consumable parts and replace them when necessary.
Plenty of major car services can be avoided by following our car maintenance checklist by mileage. Monitoring all the points of the car maintenance guide is essential for the prolonged existence of your car.
Be diligent, be observant, and drive safely.