We often don't think about maintenance on our vehicles until something is wrong. But keeping your car in top running condition is vital. Angie's List went to highly-rated auto repair professionals for the five auto service items you shouldn't skip out on.

Oil Changes
Oil is the engine's blood, and is critical to a car's long life. Your vehicle's oil should be changed depending on your driving habits, typically every 3,000-7,000 miles or around 3-6 months. You should check your oil about every 1,000 miles.

Tire Maintenance
Properly maintained tires improve the steering, stopping and traction of your vehicle. Tire pressure should be set to the manufacturer's specification. Tires that are over or under inflated wears tires out faster, affect fuel consumption, and is a safety hazard. Rotate and balance your tires every 6,000-8,000 miles and get an alignment check every year to make sure there are not suspension problems.

Transmission fluid, break fluid, and coolant can break down over time and lose their effectiveness. All fluids should be checked and topped off every oil change. Have your transmission fluid flushed out every 50,000 miles, depending on your driving habits.

Brake Check
Brake inspection should be part of your vehicle's ongoing maintenance to ensure safety and reliability. You should have your brakes inspected at least once a year; more often if you experience grinding or shaking when you break. Regardless of care, brakes will likely need to be replaced every 20,000-30,000 miles.

Scheduled Maintenance
Failure to follow the manufacturer's recommended maintenance schedule could lead to breakdowns, poor fuel economy, and a higher cost of ownership in the long run.


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