Proper maintenance and tune-up is the key to long and trouble-free vehicle life, and the work can yield its own rewards. Studies have shown that a properly tuned and maintained vehicle can achieve better gas mileage than an out-of-tune vehicle. As a conscientious owner and driver, set aside a Saturday morning, say once a month, to check or replace items that could cause major problems later. Keep your own personal log to jot down which services you performed, how much the parts cost you, the date, and the exact odometer reading at the time. Keep all receipts for such items as engine oil and filters, so that they may be referred to in case of related problems or to determine operating expenses. As a do-it-yourselfer, these receipts are the only proof you have that the required maintenance was performed. In the event of a warranty problem, these receipts will be invaluable.
The literature provided with your vehicle when it was originally delivered includes the factory recommended maintenance schedule. If you no longer have this literature, replacement copies are usually available from the dealer. A maintenance schedule is provided later in this section, in case you Do NOT have the factory literature.
Generally speaking there are two methods of owning a vehicle, fix it when it breaks, or routine maintenance. All vehicles age with time, mileage and the type of use they are subjected to. The main differences between the two methods of owning a vehicle are convenience and the potential cost of towing. Vehicles rarely break down when it is convenient. Routine maintenance should be able to spot potential problems before they cause a break down.
Keeping the vehicle maintained by factory recommendations and keeping track items such as fluid levels, drive belt and hose conditions, brake and tire wear can go a long way in making sure your vehicle is safe and reliable. This is not to say vehicles don't break down without warning. They do, however more often than not these potential failures can be spotted during a thorough maintenance and repaired before a need for a tow truck arises.