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Consumer Tip: Maintain Your Vehicle

A vehicle service contract can be an excellent way to maintain the value of your vehicle – but it’s not the only way. Regular vehicle maintenance is also an important part of protecting your investment and keeping your car or truck in good working order.

The VPA and the vehicle service contract industry are committed to helping consumers protect the value and performance of their vehicles. To help you keep your vehicle in peak condition, we have compiled a list of practical vehicle maintenance tips and resources.

Maintaining your vehicle is one of the most important parts of owning a vehicle service contract (VSC). Not only will the maintenance keep your car running smoother longer and keep you away from extended stays in repair facility waiting rooms, but some contracts are void if regular maintenance is not kept up with on the customer’s side.

Here are some of the basic repairs and regular maintenance to follow, but always remember to check out every off sound or weird feeling – it will save you big in the long run.

Oil Change
While it changes a bit depending on what type of driving you do (you can push these numbers up a bit if you do mostly highway driving), an oil change should be done every three months or 3,000 miles, or as recommended in your owner’s manual. Oil changes keep your engine clean and running smoothly.

Brakes
A good rule of thumb is to have your brakes checked every 6,000 to 7,500 miles, which happens to be the same time tires should be rotated. Listening when braking and paying attention to feeling are two of the best ways to gauge if your brakes need to be looked at – if anything is unusual have it done.

Battery
As part of regular maintenance, ask your technician to make sure the battery cover is in place and the battery is properly anchored. Also ask them to clean it of any corrosion, especially the electrical posts. This maintenance will keep your battery running longer.

Coolant System
At least every three years, or as recommended in your owner's manual, you should thoroughly flush your coolant system and replace with appropriate antifreeze. Failing to do so could lead to metal corrosion. Make sure to use the proper coolant mix and check coolant reservoir (and windshield fluid) monthly and top off as needed.

Check-Engine Light
The check-engine light is your car’s early warning system that something is not right with your vehicle. It could be something simple like a loose gas cap or spark plug wire, but it could also be something more serious. Don’t put it off, take your car in immediately and have it checked out by a technician.

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