You may have noticed when you purchased your last car that manufactures are scheduling regular service less and less frequently. You remember the days when you were expected to change your oil ever 3,000 miles but now manufacturers are recommending no less than 5,000 miles between services. In fact, some Toyotas have gone all the way up to 10,000 miles between recommended oil changes!
This can be great for your busy schedule, but keep in mind, there are several items that you will want to keep an eye on between services.
Check Your Oil Level
This is by far, the most important item to remember. With extended oil change intervals, it is important to check your oil level at least every 1,500 miles. Park your car on a level surface and turn the engine off. Locate the “oil” dipstick, and remove from engine. Wipe it off, insert back into engine, and remove once more. You will hopefully see your oil level towards the tip of the dipstick. As long as it is in the safe range (usually two markings on the dipstick), you are safe. If your oil level is at the lower marking, you are exactly one quart low on oil. Add oil accordingly, and make sure to use the correct oil type – this should be printed on the oil cap on top of your engine.
Check Your Tire Pressure
Tire pressure can change drastically with changing weather and environment. As the temperature outside changes, so will the pressure in your tires. It is therefore important to check tire pressure on a regular basis. Purchase a cheap tire pressure gauge, and take a reading at least once a month. Most passenger vehicle tires should have 32-35 psi. DO NOT inflate your tires to the maximum pressure that may be stamped on the side of your tire, as this is much more than what is needed for normal driving, and will affect the wear of your tire. Keep in mind, a properly inflated tire will increase gas mileage, tire life, and the overall safety of your vehicle.