Every car and the kind of service it will need and when it will need it are a little bit different. Drivers themselves are different, too. Some will use all of their windshield wiper fluid until it is completely gone. Others will continually top it off so that they never run out. The same principles apply to just about every other bit of routine maintenance that occurs on a car. Some drivers will hold out until the car absolutely needs maintenance. Others will get that maintenance as soon as the owner’s manual tells them to, whether or not the car actually needs it.
Many drivers might not know what kind of maintenance their car needs and how often the car needs it. This can lead to being duped by quick oil change places into maintenance you might not need or it can lead to putting of necessary service because you did not think that your car needed it. Here is a very general schedule of maintenance that your car might follow. Keep in mind that these dates will fluctuate depending on how often you drive your car, how far it is driven, the type of car you purchase, and other factors. In general, however, surveys of car service have shown that about a quarter of cars are driven with low or contaminated engine oil and that almost 90% of all cars on the road are in need of some kind of maintenance.
1. Tires – You should always be aware of how full your car’s tires are and how much tread they have left. This is something that can be done on your own, in your driveway, with a few simple tools. A tire gauge should be part of every car’s essentials kit, and should be used often to make sure that you have neither too much nor too little air in your tires. The tread on your tires can be tested with a penny (if you put the penny in, Lincoln’s head upside down, and the president’s head is covered, you have enough tread). Do this weekly or every two weeks. Tires should be replaced as soon as the tread is worn down below this point.
2. Windshield washer fluid – Some newer Kia vehicles will tell you when your windshield washer fluid is low. With an older model or different brand, you may have to actually pop open the hood and look underneath. Figuring out which container is your windshield washer fluid is usually very easy and it will have marks that tell you how full it should be and what level you should not let it get below. If you do not use your windshield washer fluid very often, you can probably do this check once a month or once every two months.
3. Engine oil levels – Again, if you have a newer Kia model, your vehicle will probably tell you when your oil levels are below acceptable limits. If your car starts to give you warning light or other indicator, this probably means that you should take your car to a service station as soon as possible. While many cars will give you a few weeks’ notice, many may not show you an indicator light on your dashboard until the problem is emergent. You can always check your own oil levels by following the instructions in your owner’s manual.
4. Battery – Most batteries need to be replaced every three to four years. Depending on where you live, how often you drive your car, how far you drive your car, and what type of batter you have, your battery might last much longer or might die on you every year. You can check your battery with a voltmeter (when the car is running). You should also check the connections (when the car is off) every three months or so to make sure there is no corrosion on the pegs or the connectors.
5. Rubber components – Your vehicle will probably have a few vital rubber components, ranging from your windshield wipers to your hoses and belts running in or around the engine. These components do wear out and they are susceptible to changes in weather. Check the hoses and belts in your vehicle every three months to make sure they are not cracked and do not need any replacements or repairs.
6. Air filters – No matter where you go to get your oil change, the service shop will probably check your air filters for you. Air filters, both for your air conditioning and for your engine are both extremely important and keeping these filters clean is a necessary part of keeping your vehicle running smoothly. Most air filters will need to be checked every six months. If you get your oil changed every three to six months, you probably will have this check automatically done for you.
7. Power steering fluid – Power steering fluid is that ensures that your car is responsive when you turn the wheel to tell it to do something. Like all other fluid in your car, it gets used up or contaminated over time. It should be checked every nine months to make sure the fluid is at the proper level and that it is not contaminated with anything.
Most vehicles will have a maintenance schedule in their owner manual. If you have not been recording your dates of service or you cannot find your owner’s manual, use this general guide to make sure that your Kia is getting the service that it needs, when it needs it.