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Common Maintenance

The oil filter cleans dirt and particles from the oil that may cause damage. An easy way to remember to change your oil filter is to replace it at every oil change or every other oil change. Oil filters are inexpensive and range from $5 to $20 depending on the vehicle.

You can ask a licensed mechanic to change both your oil and filter at the same time. If you want to change your oil and oil filter yourself, be sure to purchase the correct filter for your engine and follow the filter manufacturer’s instructions.

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    I recommend it in the spring because all winter long, they’re used as scrapers for snow and freezing rain,” Nelson says. “The rubber compound breaks up and doesn’t give a good, clean swipe. In the fall, [replace them again because] they can dry up in the heat of the sun [during summer].

    An easy-to-remember guide is: change your car’s oil every 5,000 kilometres or every three to six months. It may sound excessive, but car companies recommend changing the oil frequently to avoid damage. Depending on the type of car you drive and your driving habits, you may need to change the oil less often. Newer engines and high-quality oil may allow you to drive further between changes. Check your owner’s manual or consult a mechanic on the best option for your needs.

    Here is a general rule of thumb:

    If you live inland in an area where your car is free of salty air and sand, and if you don’t have to contend with tree sap, bird droppings and dead bugs, you can wash your car about once a month and still keep it in good shape.

    If you live in a polluted environment, near a salty coast or in a wooded area, once a week may be your best bet.

    Otherwise, a couple of times a month is a good bet to ensure that you’re not waiting too long to get rid of harmful chemicals, residues, salt, sand, tar, grease and grime.

    As the filter gets dirty the fuel pump has to work harder (draws more current), and will burn out faster. Also, most fuel systems are “return” types: excess fuel pumped from the tank to the fuel pressure regulator gets returned to the gas tank. Any crud that isn’t filtered out can keep getting recirculated blocking injectors/screens and wearing out the fuel pump. Putting in a new filter every 2 years/30,000 miles is cheap insurance and good preventive maintenance.
    There are a number of things that should be done if you plan on keeping a car past 100,000 miles, but most car makers know that most people won’t, so they don’t mention them.

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