Owning a car goes beyond keeping it looking brand new. Proper maintenance is key to extending your car’s life and ensuring a safe driving experience anytime. When it comes to basic car maintenance, you might choose to take matters into your own hands. Unless you’re dealing with a case best left to your trusted mechanic, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be checking off a simple checklist to keep your car in top shape from the comfort of your own home. Plus, this way, you’ll be preventing expensive repair costs and expanding your car’s lifespan.

For a comprehensive guide on basic car maintenance, be sure to follow the tips provided by the experts through this Q&A. 


How do I keep my transmission in top shape?

The first and most important thing you can do to keep the transmission – or really all the systems in your car – healthy and functioning in top shape is to schedule routine maintenance.  Just as you should schedule a physical with your doctor once or twice per year, most cars that are driven under normal conditions need once or twice a year visits to the “car doctor” to keep them running optimally, as well.  (Please note that this varies by mileage; see your car manufacturer’s guidance for specific details).

For that matter, you want to be sure the other systems of your car are operating properly too.  For example, having a car that is badly out of alignment, or driving on a spare tire for too long also increases the demands on your transmission.

How you drive your car matters.  Stopping completely before you shift from reverse to drive (or vice versa) is a simple trick that prevents strain on your transmission.  You should also avoid riding the brake while driving; when you do this your transmission has to work harder (and it probably increases your stress levels, too).  Just pop in some good tunes, take some deep breaths, and drive a little slower to keep you from braking as often and make your whole drive more smooth and even.  

Once you get where you’re going? Well, then you should set the emergency brake when you park on an incline which reduces stress on the parking linkage.

Last but not least – it’s a matter of fluid. You don’t want your transmission fluid to be too low and you want to be sure you are replacing the lost fluid with the proper type of fluid for your vehicle.  Make sure your repair shop checks your seals to ensure you aren’t losing fluid unnecessarily. 

-Kathleen Long at RepairPal


What fluids does my car need to function properly? 

One of the reasons why automobiles are such fascinating machines is their complexity. The smooth driving they provide is made possible by thousands of components moving, spinning, grinding, and getting hot (or cold) and if your car uses an internal combustion engine, some are literally involved in explosions.

Although modern technologies have made car engines incredibly efficient and durable, they are not self-sufficient. The owner’s manual compiles several maintenance tasks, which the driver must never neglect to keep the car in top shape, and ready to be used safely and comfortably.

While each car fluid may have a different function, they are all key parts of proper engine operation and are essential for proper car maintenance and longevity of the car. This article is going to list the most important car fluids for owners to replace regularly, a recommended frequency, and briefly explain how they contribute to the car.

Brake Fluid

Transmits the pressure applied on the pedal to the actual brake system. Leaks and contamination interfere in that hydraulic chain and can reduce your control over the car. For instance, brake fluid leaks and contamination may cause your car to increase stopping distance (the length it takes for your car to stop), be pulled to one side, or even no brake at all. All cases described above could be fatal.

The typical recommendation is to replace the brake fluid every two years or 45,000 miles. However, it is also important to have the system regularly checked for leaks or the presence of air or water in the brake lines which can cause problems regardless of the brake fluid’s age.


Also named radiator oil, coolant circulates through the engine to keep its temperature under control. The coolant itself also runs through the radiator to be cooled by external air and start a new work cycle. In cold regions, it is necessary to add anti-freeze to prevent the coolant fluid from freezing

Some owner’s manuals suggest replacing the coolant every 30,000 miles. This is important because, once again, rust and contamination build up over time and that can lead to excessive wear. It is also advisable not to check the coolant level while the engine is hot because the radiator is pressurized.

Differential oil

First, the differential itself is coupled to the transmission and helps transfer the engine power to the wheels. Dirty and/or too little fluid allows metal-on-metal contact at a very high frequency. It causes excessive wear and overheating to a point that can generate a serious transmission failure.

Unlike the others, this car fluid cannot be checked: the differential’s design forces the driver to only open it when it is time to replace the fluid. Another noteworthy point is that 4WD car models have front and rear differentials and may also have a transfer case in between, which means more fluids.

Engine oil

Internal combustion engines have many metallic components continuously moving relative to one another; pistons go up and down, valves open and close, and gears spin. Engine oil is responsible for providing the lubrication to allow these movements to take place smoothly as well as carry away any residue they may generate.

When it comes to replacement frequency, recommendations vary from 5,000 to 10,000 miles. To check if it is time to change your engine oil, the best solution is to check the oil level along with visually inspecting its texture and color. Lastly, you should never use engine oils of different specifications than what is required in the owner’s manual.

Steering fluid

Hydraulic power steering systems use this fluid to transmit the driver’s input on the steering wheel to the wheels demanding reduced physical effort. Once again, the fluid is subject to contamination over time and the system may present leaks. Both situations render the steering system ineffective.

You can easily check the level of this car fluid by looking at the scale of its reservoir. The usual recommendation is to have it replaced every two years, but every car model has its own requirements. Keep in mind that you must check this fluid level only when the engine is cold.

Transmission fluid

Most transmissions employ gears, which means they work with metallic parts spinning against one another at high speed. This car fluid helps all that run smoothly and moves away from any residue which is naturally produced by friction. Neglecting it would cause excessive vibration, noise, and wear.

Nowadays, transmission maintenance is highly variable from one model to another. Therefore, the only safe recommendation regarding how often to replace its fluid is to check the owner’s manual. However, you can also verify it through color as it is typically red when new, then becomes darker over time.

For more professional car care tips and ways to easily schedule & save money on car maintenance, head over to caradvise.com to learn more.



How can I prolong the life of my vehicle?

A good maintenance routine is the only key to keeping your vehicle in good shape for a long time. Opting for good maintenance habits will not ensure the quality of your automobile but also the safety of you and your passengers. We bring you some of the top car care tips from the experts that can help you keep your automobile in top shape.

Top six expert tips that can prolong the life of your vehicle

You do not need to be an expert to take good care of your vehicle. All you require is good guidance and steps and tricks that you can follow with utmost ease. Below we have the top six expert tips that can prolong the life of your vehicle.

1- Inspect Your Ride Regularly

Automobiles are pure machinery that needs your constant attention & care. Make a routine to inspect your ride at least once a week.  

Look for any external & internal damages. Go through every lock, window, brakes, sun & moon roof, & more. Never miss it, no matter what.

2- Check The Fluids

You should check & change your vehicle’s fluids regularly. Vehicle fluids like engine oil, coolant, etc., are crucial for the smooth running of your engine. So, check them every month and revise as directed by your vehicle’s owner’s manual.

3- Inspect Tires

Check the wheels for any cuts, wear, or puncture. Tires with uneven air pressure can be hazardous. So, check your tire pressure before you get out of your garage.

To know the exact numbers refer to the owner’s manual.

4- Check Your Battery

The battery of your vehicle is a crucial factor it requires to operate. An auto with a compromised battery is just as good as a bad one.

The extreme temperature and vigorous usage can affect its performance, so test the battery regularly to ensure it is in good condition. 

5- Review The Air Filter

You can begin to have issues with your vehicle if its air filters are not doing their job accordingly.

An air filter’s job is to protect your engine from dirt, dust, and other external contaminations. Over the period, this can lead to dirt clutter and hinder the working of the air filter. 

Poor air filter means reduced airflow into the engine, hindering its overall performance & efficiency. Thus, it is advisable to change the air filter every 10,000 miles. 

6- Get Professional Assistance

Whether you are a vehicle wizard or not, getting a professional inspection once or twice a year is necessary. The people there are well-trained and use high-end tools to take better care of your ride.

So, no matter how busy you are, take time to visit an automobile professional.

Summing Up:  A proper maintenance routine can make you keep your vehicle for much longer than you anticipated. We hope our car maintenance guide provides you with some insightful tips.

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How can I extend the life of an old car and when is it time to junk it? 

When a car has reached junk car status, you may be thinking of ways to extend its life. However, in our experience, it’s best to junk a car when it’s become a junk car for your safety.  While it may be possible to squeeze a few miles out here and there, a junk car is old, damaged, and possibly non-driveable. Extending its life will either cost you money that you will not get back or potentially put you in danger. When you junk a car it is mostly purchased for its value in metal – the vehicle weight.  The used parts, tires, mirrors, etc, do not contain value because there is no demand for them.  So any money or energy you put into changing your oil, replacing your battery, or fixing your engine will be wasted. Your best bet is to junk your car for cash with a service like Junk Car Medics. Make sure to get the best scrap price and be on your way to getting your next vehicle.

-Todd B at Junk Car Medics


What’s the best way to dry my car after washing? 

One of the most important steps which are often overlooked when detailing a car is the drying process. While it may seem like a straightforward task, it is one that is often done incorrectly and can even cause more harm than good to a vehicle’s paintwork in some cases. 

Any time you come in physical contact with a car’s paintwork (Washing or Drying etc) you run the risk of inflicting micro-scratches and swirls in the finish, this is why you need to be careful when considering how you approach the drying stage. There are many ways you can choose to dry a car but given the potential to get it wrong, there are only 2 main options which I recommend.

Option 1 – Use a dedicated car blower/dryer

As I mentioned above, any time you come in physical contact with the paintwork you run the risk of scratching the paint. Using a dedicated blower/dryer eliminates this risk as the only thing coming into contact with the paint is air! This is arguably one of the safest and best ways to dry a car. 

If a car has some good hydrophobic protection applied to the paintwork (such as a ceramic coating or high-quality wax/sealant), a blower will make drying the car an absolute breeze, as the water will just run off the surface with very little effort. This can drastically reduce the time required to dry the car. It also helps to remove any water trapped in any crevice (Such as window seals), which is hard to accomplish with any other drying method.

Tip: if you don’t own a car dryer, you can often use a leaf blower or pet dryer as a substitute!  

Option 2 – A high-quality microfiber towel 

If using a blower is not an option, an alternative drying method you should consider is a high-quality microfiber towel which has been specifically designed for use on a car (Bath Towels, household towels, etc are not recommended) 

Although you are coming into physical contact with the paintwork using this method, the risk of inflicting swirls and scratches is minimized due to the nature of microfiber material.

You should always ensure that the microfiber towel is clean before starting the drying stage, and always use as little pressure as possible when you come into contact with the paint. 

Tip: Use a drying aid such as a “quick detail spray” when using the microfiber towel method


It is hard to go wrong with the two methods of drying that are suggested above. Once you follow good techniques, you will ensure the safety of the paintwork while also achieving a showroom finish. Sub-optimal methods such as letting the car dry naturally, using dangerous “drying blades” or household rags/towels that are not designed for delicate paintwork should be avoided. I also recommend that a good quality paint protectant (Wax, Sealant, or Coating) be used to make the drying process easier in the long run.

-Darren O Hara at DriveDetailed


How can I know the proper type of solution I need for my car pieces? 

I know finding proper solutions for your car parts can be a major headache, especially if you don’t know where to begin. My advice is to first consider the compatibility with your car. If they are part of your car’s series, it will likely be a perfect fit. Next, never go for knock-offs. You are likely to greatly regret buying them! Although these may work at first, they are not likely to last very long. Lastly, warranties are your best friend. Find trusted suppliers that also offer a warranty for your car parts. This way, you don’t have to worry about short-notice replacements due to faulty parts. 

-John at Petrol Gang


How often should I change my classic’s car oil? 

There are several things to consider when deciding the ideal intervals between oil changes for your classic car. Among the most important considerations are;

How many miles do I drive my car each year? How frequently do I drive my car? What type of driving do I do, racing vs road trips, etc?

While many modern cars are designed to go upwards of 7,500 miles between oil changes, classic cars weren’t designed with that significant amount of miles on a single oil cycle. Most manufacturers of classic cars recommended 3,000 miles between oil changes to keep engines running at their maximum performance. However, if you don’t drive your classic car very frequently during the year, it is recommended that you change your oil every 6 months to a year, even if you haven’t driven it 3000 miles

-Evan Ernst at Classic Nation


Wouldn’t it be great to save yourself multiple visits to the auto repair shop, keep yourself and your passengers safe and keep your car for longer? The good news is that this is entirely possible. Follow the experts’ tips to keep your car running smoothly. Keep in mind you might also need to perform some sort of maintenance before or after shipping a car. If you’re ever unsure about a checkup procedure, be sure to contact your local mechanic for help. And remember car insurance is almost as important as car maintenance, car insurance can help you save a small fortune in legal expensesdamage claims history, and medical treatment costs.