What would you do differently in maintaining your car?

Messages
1,677
Location
Southwest
Most of us have developed a little regimen for maintaining our cars. What would you do differently if starting over? For me, when I found out how much it costs to replace a water pump in an F-150, I wouldn't have waited 5 years (as per manual) to make the first coolant change. Otherwise, through the school of hard knocks I've gotten better about keeping a car up besides incessantly changing the oil. What about you guys?
 
Messages
10,003
Location
Waco, TX
Quote
For me, when I found out how much it costs to replace a water pump in an F-150, I wouldn't have waited 5 years (as per manual) to make the first coolant change.
I learned this lesson from my uncle when he had to replace the heater core in his F150. Learning from him, I now do regular coolant changes
 
Messages
12,671
Location
Phoenix, AZ
I'd have gotten off my lazy [censored] and changed the coolant and transmission fluid in the Sonata. No issues, but I should have done it earlier. Oh well. This summer I put a new power steering pump on my Jeep, was over $350 just for the pump. Also replaced the return hose. The high pressure hose looked good (original) and I decided against replacing it. Then the other weekend I drove it out of town and it sprung a leak, sprayed fluid on the exhaust and had a plume of smoke coming out of the hood. I'm an idiot sometimes duh
 
Messages
187
Location
Venezuela, South America
We had a 297k miles Corolla, we never changed the manual transmission fluid, and maybe if we did we would have prevented it´s failure, at 210k miles it used to pop out of 4th gear. We never adjusted valve clearances, and I´m pretty sure that was the reason why a exhaust valve of the #1 cylinder burned at 250k miles. The coolant thermostat that came from the factory lasted 11-13 years, we installed a cheap aftermarket one that lasted only 1 year and our mechanic decided to remove it completely, it only reached operating temperature on the noon while driving in heavy traffic. Of course the coldest temp that the car saw was 70° F but even in hot climates an thermostat is very important. Using water as coolant, the car never overheated using water and no thermostat but it would have been better to use Toyota Coolant and also a OEM Thermostat. Never buying cheap radiator caps, the car needed a head resurface and a head gasket two times because of this, but on the good side it was cool to see and touch the cylinders at 289k miles, they didn´t had any signs of wear, neither a ridge. Doing power steering fluid flushes and filling it with new fluid, to see if it would have helped it to last a longer time (it was leaking since 200k miles). Change the PCV, try to use thinner oils (the thinnest that we used was 15w40) to see if oil consumption slowed down. We also used to change oil every 3k miles, because living in Venezuela we were never sure of the quality of the engine oil, but the next time I own a car I will try do 5 to 7k mile OCI, 3k miles OCI are a waste of oil and a considerable damage to the environment
 
Last edited:
Messages
4,145
Location
Kansas
I have done an awesome job all around. I change cvt fluid q 20-30k but I would have started using Castrol Transmax/Redline CVT fluid sooner. I would have started my Redline 0w20 & Archoil regimen MUCH sooner although I used Lubegard Biotech early on with Magnatec and then PUP so its not a total loss. Using non ethanol for almost entire time with PEA so no issues there. Cant complain much. The success or failure of a vehicle is threefold. The idiot who owns the car,services the car, and assembles the car. Hope all three never meet,but if you can be the first two and at the very least follow the monitors or book then if it fails you know for sure it was beyond your control. I dont think even the way I spend on a car that I could get a Yugo GVX to 200,000 miles using the same measures I did with my Civic "tsu chen".
 
Messages
22,528
Location
CA
Currently I change the oil every 5K, replace all fluids (except coolant) every 30K and plugs at the OE Interval. Any oil leaks or seeps are immediately dealt with. Any normal-wear issue is addressed. But on my next car... Once out of warranty, I would base my maintenance schedule on the vehicle's current resale value. With labor rates being over $150/hr in my area (and many others), it is simply not economically feasible to "maintain" a high mileage vehicle, especially economy ones. When in-warranty, I would of course follow the OEM maintenance schedule. Once out of warranty, I would only keep the car in good condition for as long as the vehicle has a reasonable resale value. For instance, it does not make sense to spend thousands to repair normal-wear items (struts, oil leaks, engine mounts, spark plugs, etc) unless they are safety-related if your 120K mile-old car is only worth $5K. I think vehicles have always had a designed service life, but nowadays, it is more evident than ever. I would also plan on sell/trading by 150K.
 
Last edited:
Although it hasn't bit me yet, those stupid weepy crimped hoses for the transmission cooler lines should probably be attended to. Also, although I've never had a fuel pump failure in the 150,000 miles I used to use as the mileage to replace the vehicle, might as well stay on top of the fuel filter changes to lessen the stress on the pump.
 
Given the issues with some cars and trucks' OHC timing chains I'm not sure if I would push OCI's on them. The prize is not worth the consequences if a chain wears prematurely. One other thing. Many place the front diff, rear dif and transfer case on the same maintenance schedule. I would step it up on the transfer case and change it twice as much, especially if you use four wheel drive a lot or have AWD. Thanks to the OP for suggesting the topic.
 
Last edited:
Messages
3,013
Location
Chicagoland
Originally Posted by The Critic
Currently I change the oil every 5K, replace all fluids (except coolant) every 30K and plugs at the OE Interval. Any oil leaks or seeps are immediately dealt with. Any normal-wear issue is addressed. But on my next car... Once out of warranty, I would base my maintenance schedule on the vehicle's current resale value. With labor rates being over $150/hr in my area (and many others), it is simply not economically feasible to "maintain" a high mileage vehicle, especially economy ones. When in-warranty, I would of course follow the OEM maintenance schedule. Once out of warranty, I would only keep the car in good condition for as long as the vehicle has a reasonable resale value. For instance, it does not make sense to spend thousands to repair normal-wear items (struts, oil leaks, engine mounts, spark plugs, etc) unless they are safety-related if your 120K mile-old car is only worth $5K. I think vehicles have always had a designed service life, but nowadays, it is more evident than ever. I would also plan on sell/trading by 150K.
Pretty much this. My Caliber is at 94k, and I honestly could not care less that the sway bar bushings are rattling around. I'm the only person who drives it, and it only gets driven at most 100 miles a week. But I keep an eye on everything else, the rest of it's all still nice and tight. There's cardboard between the radiator and condenser because it's been cold and I can't be bothered to actually replace the thermostats in the cold... I'll get around to it eventually. As for the family car, I keep up with that. If something needs addressed, I'm addressing it and addressing it properly, unlike the Caliber. It's also my "I feel like going for a drive" car, because it makes me feel "classy AF!"
 
Messages
2,657
Location
Central NY
Agreed. My local mechanic said the other day "nah. You don't need a flush. It looks good." 2013 52k Same with brakes. So sometimes PepBoys or dealer are the way to go for me.
 
Messages
1,200
Location
south dakota
I noticed a lot of comments on anti freeze. I like to make sure it has a good new looking color all the time. I try to change it at least every three years if not sooner. I the Honda I change the AT fluid every 15,000 miles. It's a three quart drain and fill. I am going to start running my oil and filters longer since I am old school and tend to change before needed. I have had very good luck with my all my vehicles and previous cars and trucks. Sometimes I think I end up saving them for somebody else since I usually trade before anything hits 100,000 but I might try to keep them longer to keep from losing money every time I upgrade.
 
Messages
7,987
Location
Champlain/Hudson Valley
Ahhh....an "if you could turn back the hands of time" question. I'd never have been numb to the 4 seasons. In other words, I'd have adhered to a maintenance schedule which kept me task free during Winter months. Doo-doo head dumbski sometimes me.
 

JC1

Messages
5,018
Location
Oshawa, Ontario Canada
Originally Posted by Kira
Ahhh....an "if you could turn back the hands of time" question. I'd never have been numb to the 4 seasons. In other words, I'd have adhered to a maintenance schedule which kept me task free during Winter months. Doo-doo head dumbski sometimes me.
I agreed Kira, plan that maintenance around the spring to fall months. This year I'll actually be changing oil in January but doing drain and fills with the fumoto and leaving the filters alone (FU). I do regular fluid changes every few years. Considering a lot of people never even change brake fluid for the life of their cars or neglect spark plugs until the engine runs like crap, I think most of us here do a good job of keeping out maintenance practices better than most.
 
Last edited:
Messages
3,332
Location
Kansas, USA
Wouldn't of changed the PCV on the Escape, starting leaking after that. The only thing I can say I'd do different is rust proofing, my dad has said the same. To bad there's no places here in KC, rust is terrible on alot of cars. Krown has locations in Omaha and St. Louis go figure. I did oil the truck frame and wheel arches last month and so far oil has stopped rust on the Escape... the Festiva is beyond help.
 
Messages
2,787
Location
Indiana
I'm nearing 200k miles on my Accord. So when that happens, I'll have the dealer perform the second coolant flush. I'll change the plugs. I'm just not sure what to do about the valves. It starts, sounds, and runs great. Gas mileage is still great too. But I guess I'd REALLY be upset with myself if I burned a valve because I never had it done. I'm just not sure at 200k miles if I should have the water pump replaced, thermostat, etc.....just as preventative maintenance.
 
Messages
5,761
Location
New England
I wouldn't have used any oil additives. I also would have gotten the PCV changed in my car this year before it got cold...I guess I just really don't want to pull that intercooler off to get it done. This should have been done at a dealer 60kmile service as I was assured over the phone, but I was told after the fact that they don't do it for the turbos because of the intercooler. I didn't get it in writing and there was a blurb on the dealer's paperwork that the PCV is done "if applicable", and they decided it is not applicable when it is too hard for them to bother doing it.
 
Speaking of rust, I think I would go over any new car carefully to make sure the undercoating caught all the areas. My old Taurus had a spot where they missed with the undercoating and sure enough it rusted. The other side of car with the good undercoating was fine.
 
Top