Basic car maintenance involves simply doing scheduled maintenance on time and with quality materials. Your car should have come with a manual that states the intervals of each maintenance item. IF you have purchased a new car, you will receive this information. If you have purchased a used or older car, then these items may have gone astray.
The best thing to do in this instance (especially if you aren’t sure of the past service history) is to perform a full service when you first buy the car, and then adhere to regular basic car maintenance after that. This will ensure you prolong the life of your older used vehicle.
Basic car maintenance covers tasks such as oil services, coolant flushing, spark plug changes, timing belt changes, transmission fluid flushes and changes, tire rotation and replacement and several other tasks including interior and exterior care.
If you treat your car well then it is much more likely to have a long life, which of course will cost you less money in the end. All cars will eventually break down and need major components replaced. This is unavoidable. However, you can prolong these incidents by simply adhering to manufacturers guidelines for services and basic car maintenance.
An oil change needs to be done around every 3k miles. This is your number one priority as a car with dirty or sludgy oil will be an extremely sick car in a short amount of time. If you are looking at used cars and pull the dipstick out only to reveal dirty or thick oil, then chances are that this owner has not taken care of his car.
Because you cannot see into the engine, you cannot assume that the engine is ok even if the car is running fine. It is highly likely that there is residue and build up in the engine due to this bad oil. I would never purchase a used car which has bad oil because I know that if the owner has not bothered changing the oil regularly, then he probably has not performed other more complex basic car maintenance on the vehicle. This can only spell trouble for me down the track.
Basic car maintenance need not be complicated. You can certainly pay your mechanic to maintain your car, but it is a good idea to learn some things yourself so you can save money.