A periodic service is extremely essential in ensuring a long life for your car and does go a long way in keeping your vehicle reliable and niggle-free. While modern-day vehicles are more reliable than ever, they still need a fair share of inspection from time to time. The best way to watch out for impending problems or failing parts is to inspect your vehicle at the right time and regularly service your car. Now, the easiest way to find out how often you need to service your vehicle is to check the owner's manual. Generally, most carmakers suggest a period of 10,000 km or about 12 months, whichever is earlier, but depending on your driving style, you can also inspect your car every 5,000 km to be cautious. On a new vehicle, here's what you need to check when servicing your car at 5,000 km, 10,000 km and 15,000 km.
At 5,000 Km
This is the first service of your car since the run-in period has been completed at 1,000 km. Having completed 5,000 km, it is time to check and carry out general inspections on the car and replenish fluids. Some of the major inspections include engine oil and replacing parts where needed. The newer engines see less wear and tear at this mileage and need a general service and a thorough clean-up to keep that new car look intact. This is also a good time to top up the coolant level, windshield washer fluid and clean the air filter to ensure the engine is running smooth as usual. The 5,000 km service interval is also a good opportunity to check any small niggles with the electronics or creaking doors that may need to be lubricated for smooth operation. Lastly, make sure to check your tyres for any nails or debris stuck, which could lead to a puncture in the future.
At 10,000 Km
While the initial service is more of a precautionary check, your first major service comes up at 10,000 km, as recommended by most carmakers. At this stage, your vehicle has seen quite a lot of wear and tear, having been exposed to all the dust and grime, traversed different terrains and even received bruises in bumper to bumper traffic. This service interval will see several major checks taking place including an oil change with the recommended viscosity grade mentioned in the owner's manual. You also need to replace the oil filter and clean the air filter again. If you travel across dusty roads frequently, you may have to replace the air filter altogether.
You will also need to replace the air conditioning system's pollen filter at the 10,000 km interval, which ensures the air you breathe in the cabin is fresh and pollutant free. It also helps prolong cooling effect and the HVAC unit's life. The tyres will also need care at this time, so do remember to carry out wheel alignment, balancing and tyre rotation during this service. This helps prevent uneven wear and tear, as well as extend the tyre and suspension life. Don't forget to get the car completely cleaned and get all the joints and hinges lubricated for a smooth operation. If you'd like to go that extra mile, you can also have the car detailed and buffed with wax to protect the exterior and maintain the new look on the vehicle.
At 15,000 Km
The 15,000 km service will bring more issues that need to be addressed and maybe certain parts replacement too. Apart from the oil change, this is a good time to check the brake pads and clean the disc rotors. While brake pads are intended to last longer than 15,000 km, aggressive driving can take a toll on them and warrant a replacement earlier than needed. Similarly, it is also time to check other fluids on the vehicle including the brake, transmission and steering. The 15,000 km service interval also brings up inspection and cleaning of the spark plugs on a petrol-powered car. Do ask your mechanic to check the fuse, bulbs and clutch. Any warning lights on the instrument console will have to be inspected and error codes will need to be deleted using the diagnostics tool. The car battery will need to be inspected and tested for proper voltage, apart from cleaning the terminals. It is also likely that the HVAC unit needs a top up for the cooling gas the windshield washer fluid needs to be refilled. It is also a good time to carry out any repairs to the body shell on the car to avoid exposure and subsequent rusting. Make sure to check the owner's manual to see if the manufacturer has recommended any parts replacement at the 15,000 km service interval. Complete the service with a detailed wash for the exterior and the interior.
A periodic service can certainly go a long way in ensuring your car's longevity. That said, a well serviced car does not mean you can skip out on purchasing car insurance for the same. While new cars may see fewer breakdowns, an accident is more than enough to put all that care, time, effort and money down the drain, not to forget it is illegal to drive a car without a valid motor insurance. A smart car owner is not just the one who maintains his car, but also the one who backs it up with the right car insurance.
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