The AAA is an excellent resource for vehicle maintenance. They offer the following advice for the proper maintenance of your vehicle. First and foremost, change your oil often and follow the regularly scheduled maintenance schedule as recommended by your vehicle manufacturer. Besides the obvious, here are a few more tips:

Drive Smart

Jackrabbit starts stress the engine, transmission, and differential. Riding the brake pedal, or consistently stopping at the last instant, damages the brakes. Shifting from “Reverse” to a forward gear while the car is still moving backward can harm the transmission. And hitting potholes causes suspension and tire damage and ruins wheel alignment.

Use it or Lose it

Every so often, switch on the air conditioner in the winter and the heater in the summer for a few minutes. This keeps seals lubricated and other moving parts functioning smoothly. Engage your SUV's four-wheel drive occasionally if you rarely use anything but two-wheel drive.

Drive Gently in the Morning and Evening

Engine wear is great just after starting, before the oil pump circulates oil through the engine. But you don't need to waste time and gasoline by idling in the driveway. Just go easy on the throttle for a few minutes until the engine is warm.

Use Synthetic Oils

Synthetic oils are superior lubricants. They're more costly than petroleum-based oils, but they can extend engine life. Synthetic oils reduce wear over the long haul, but they can't undo wear. So it's best to start using synthetic oil when the engine is still young.

Pay Attention to Warnings

Scan the instrument panel at regular intervals so that you catch an illuminated warning lights or a gauge with an unusual reading. Your owner's manual explains what the lights and gauges mean. An illuminated check-engine light might not require immediate action, but an illuminated oil-pressure light definitely does.

Glance under your car from time to time. Fluids should remain inside the car, not on the ground beneath it. Note the color of any drips and report them to your mechanic. And report any weird squeaks and clunks in a timely manner, too.

Find a Good Mechanic

A skilled mechanic can extend your car's life span. The AAA-Approved Auto Repair program can help you find a trustworthy one.

Maintain the Appearance of your Vehicle

You'll want to keep your car longer if it looks good. Besides regular washing and waxing—or, even better, professional detailing, fix the inevitable dings and chipped glass before your car starts looking like a heap. Small dings can be fixed inexpensively with painless dent-removal techniques.

How To Guides

Body and Interior
Transmissions and Drivetrains
Steering and Suspensions
Preventive Maintenance