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What to expect at your 30,000-mile maintenance

AutoTECH AutomotiveIt wasn't so long ago that a car showing 100,000 miles was said to be on borrowed time. Fortunately, and in light of the fact that a new car in the United States now has an average sticker price of about $30,000, those days are gone. For the past couple of decades or so, cars have been engineered to last much longer than their earlier counterparts. In fact, most cars built since the 1990s will last 200,000 miles or even more, but in order to reach that mark, it is essential to stay on top of regular and timely maintenance.

Something as simple as changing a car's engine oil at specific intervals can help ensure that the internal parts remain properly lubricated. In turn, this will keep that engine running smoothly and efficiently. There are many different automobile manufacturers out there, with an equally different number of maintenance recommendations and/or requirements. The average driver will put anywhere from 10,000-15,000 miles on his or her vehicle each year. However, regardless of model or make, the 30,000 mile mark is a universal point in a car's lifetime when many services need to be performed.

Generally, the first scheduled car check-up will take place at 15,000 miles. This is typically a very basic service call and will involve an oil and filter change, an air filter and cabin filter replacement, a wiper blade inspection, and possibly a tire rotation. The important thing to remember is that every subsequent service should include the previous items along with new services that will need to be performed as the car ages.

Thus, when that car reaches the 30,000 mile mark, one can also expect a fuel filter replacement, a coolant change, and possibly a flushing and replacement of the power steering fluid as well as automatic transmission fluid. As for those wiper blades, they may have still been in good shape at 15,000 miles, but by the time 30,000 miles have rolled around, those blades will have been in use for at least two years, so it's time to replace them. Individual owner's manuals for specific makes and models will of course vary, but the thing to remember here is that all of the above services should be performed at those 30,000-mile intervals. Thus, if you had your transmission fluid and coolant changed at 30,000, then these procedures should be done again at 60,000, 90,000, 120,000, and so on.

Other services included in your 30,000 mile checkup may include a brake inspection, which may reveal that you need new pads or to have the rotors re-machined. A general tune-up may also be included, where the ignition components are checked and replaced if necessary. An example of this would be new spark plugs. Other fluid levels may be checked and an undercar inspection may take place. The tires and wheels could be checked not only for wear, but also proper alignment and inflation. Finally, miscellaneous items may also be checked, such as hoses, belts, the battery, and all the lights. If a bulb is burned out anywhere from your headlight to a turn signal light, it will need to be replaced.

Since no two car makes or models are exactly alike, the only way to get an idea of what that 30,000-mile scheduled maintenance will cost is to ask. Your dealership service advisor will be able to give you a comprehensive answer on what you can expect to pay. It will depend not only on what needs to be done and how labor-intensive the tasks are, but also how expensive the new parts are. Nevertheless, the important thing to remember is this: staying on top of your scheduled maintenance goes a long way in ensuring that your car will provide many years of faithful service.


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