Do you know your car's service milestones? -

Do you know your car's service milestones?

A car is a major investment where, typically, the only profit made is measured in the number of miles it delivers. Our auto expert Steve Strope has some advice for maximizing the value of one of your most important assets.

Because of the economy, more people are trying to hold on to their cars for as long as they can. But there's more to extending the life of your vehicle than regular oil changes and then crossing your fingers.

If you want to stretch the amount of miles you get out of your car, you need to pay attention to the major service milestones recommended in your owner's manual. At the 30,000-mile mark, manufacturers typically recommend a comprehensive replacement of fluids and some parts.

The air filter is always on the list. This cleans the outside air before it gets sucked into your engine. But when it gets dirty, it's less efficient and needs to be replaced.

Your engine's cooling system keeps your engine operating at its most efficient temperature. It needs to be maintained, and that means flushing the system and replacing it with new coolant.

Your transmission transfers your engine's power out to the wheels. Transmission fluid is a special lubricant that gets contaminated over time and must be changed along with its filter.

Now fuel filters and fuel pump screens help filter out contaminants in your gas tank before they can get into your fuel system and into your engine.

Changing the fuel filter periodically increases performance and fuel economy and extends the life of your fuel pump.

The differential oil is one of the most often forgotten fluids, and it shouldn't be. Inside the differential is a set of gears that need lubrication. Over time, this oil breaks down and replacing it definitely needs to be part of your scheduled maintenance.

So if you want to extend the life of your car, check to see when your major service intervals are and what needs to be done. And when it comes time to pay the bill, just remember it costs a lot more to buy a new car.

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