Are you stuck at home and find yourself constantly cleaning, throwing out junk and taking care of overdue housekeeping items? You’re not alone. If you haven’t taken care of basic car care maintenance in a while, now may be the time to add it to the list. DIY car care can be daunting, but don’t worry, we’ll address the top 10 questions on basic car maintenance – we’ve got you covered.


1. When should I switch my engine’s air filter?

Technically, you need a new air filter about every 12,000 miles; for most people, it’s about once per year. To replace an air filter at home, check your model’s instructions. Typically you’ll: 

  1. Find the filter in a black box under the hood of your car.
  2. Open up the casing. Examine how the old air filter fits inside, so you can place the new filter in the correct fashion.
  3. Remove the old air filter. Insert the new air filter. Close the black casing.


2. How often do I need new windshield wipers?

You’ll want to replace your wipers as little as every six months, and up to a year or two; it really depends on the condition of the wipers and climate you live in. Pro-tip: many auto parts stores offer you free installation. If you install them on your own, it’ll only take 5 to 10 minutes. 


3. How often should I replace the spark plugs?

Most models recommend that you replace your spark plugs every 30,000 miles or so. Like any other part in your engine, other factors apply and you can check the wear and tear of spark plugs on your own. The electrode (the rod next to the hook on the sparkplug) condition is often what will deteriorate first. You can change the spark plug on your own but account for at least an hour to get the job done. 


4. How often do I need to change my oil?

You may be expecting the standard “every 3,000 miles” answer, but the truth is newer models likely don’t need oil changes that often. The Scientific American digs into oil change frequency and states:

Many mechanics would tell you that such frequent changes [3,00 miles] are overkill. Indeed, most car owner’s manuals recommend changing out the oil less frequently, usually after 5,000 or 7,500 miles.

The best answer is to check your owner’s manual and adhere to its suggested practices.


5. How often do I need a new battery?

Car batteries should be checked within your usual car maintenance routine, and typically replaced every 3 years. If you live in an extreme climate, temperature can play a role in battery performance. Make sure you’re checking for battery fluid leaks and corrosion. If your car is having trouble starting up, an old battery is a likely culprit.


6. How often do I need to change engine coolant?

It’s generally recommended to change your engine coolant every 30,000 miles, however, it varies by manufacturer. Like oil changes, it is becoming more common for newer vehicles’ capability to last longer between coolant changes. 


7. Why are my brakes squealing?

It may be time for new brake pads! Of course, not all squeaky brakes need replacing, but if you’re worried, you can always check the brake pads yourself. When the pads are down to 3-4mm, it’s time for new ones. For reference, standard brake pads are typically 12mm thick. With each pumping of the brake, friction causes minute bits of the pad to wear away; when there are 3-4mm left, it’s time for a change. 


8. How often do I need to replace my fuel filter?

The rule of thumb for fuel filter replacement is approximately every 2 years or 30,000 miles. Be sure to check your owner’s manual as fuel filter replacement can vary from vehicle to vehicle. A new fuel filter will protect your engine from expensive damages, but is a complicated process and is best done by a professional mechanic. 


9. Do I need to rotate my tires?

Yes, you really do! Front tires will wear more quickly than back tires. If you want those tire treads to last as long as possible, simply rotate them every 6,000 to 8,000 miles. The recommended rotation actually varies for Front Wheel vs Back Wheel Drive, so make sure you’re moving front to rear and rear to front in the proper direction. With a little elbow grease and a car jack, rotating can be done from home. 


10. How often do I need to change my brake fluid?

Your owner’s manual is going to give you the most reliable information for this answer. Brake fluid changes range from 2 to 5 years depending on the vehicle. This job is best done by your local Honda Dealer’s service department. Brake fluid is erosive and can damage your car if handled improperly. 



Valley Honda Dealers

Need help with your car maintenance? Have more parts and service questions? Contact your Phoenix area Honda Dealer for more information on scheduling service appointments during the pandemic.