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There's nothing magic about trouble-free driving. A routine of regular maintenace is your simple and single greatest protection against costly and inconvenient automotive downtime. Make it a habit to do the following below.

Do the following on a weekly basis:

Check the level of oil before first-start-up of the day. Check level of coolant when the car is cold and also check the tire pressure before starting the car.

Check the following once per month:

Headlights, tailights, turn signals. Look at the level of brake fluid, automatic transmition fluid (with car hot, idling), power steering fluid. Drive belts, radiator and heater hoses. Water level or change indicator of battery and terminals.

Do the following evey six months, or as often as your owner's manual suggests:

Change engine oil and oil filter-this removes chemicals that contaminate and deteriorate the engine. Inspect suspension-loose parts? Leaky shock absorbers?

Check muffler and exhaust system and Make sure that spare tire is inflated. Check antifreezer for strength and condition.

Be sure sure emergency brakes work and check brake lines. Touch up rust spots or nicks in paint and wax surface.

Lubricate hinges, latches, locks and chasis and check wiper blades.

Inspect drive shaft U-joints (if yours is rear whell drive), or the CV joints boots (in front wheel drives).

Check shocks by pushing down each corner of the car. Motion should stop with one bounce after you stop pushing.

Annually check-up:

Check air filter (you should be able to see trrought it), fuel filter, positive crankshaft (PCV) filter and wiper blades, and replace if necessary.

Check vacuum hoses for airtighness and condition. Rotate tires, unless otherwise advised by your dealer.

Every two years:

Replace fluid and filter in automatic transmission. Check ignition timimg and ignition components. Check brake linings. Flush and refill radiator and check cap seal, Caution: Radiator fluid is sweet and attractive to animals, birds and children, and it is extremely poisonous. The thermostat must be changed too.

Every Three or four years: These items must be inspected for possible deterioration and replacement.

Shock absorbers, V-belts, radiator, heater hoses, battery, and Disk-brake rotor-check whenever you have brake pads replaced.

Every 25,000 miles or when you hear unusual tapping noises. Have valve lifters adjusted correctly, unless they adjust automatically-to ignore this, you almost guarantee yourself an expensive valve job.

Every 40,000 miles: Change transmission fluid for a dramatic reduction in the incidence of transmission repair.