Common Automotive Service Intervals for Most Cars

Your car requires regular service and maintenance. If your vehicle is fairly new, then you'll likely follow your manufacturer's schedule. But, if you have an older car or one that isn't used much, you may need a different schedule.

If you don't have the owner's manual, you may not know what maintenance is due when. Here is a rough guide to maintenance types and schedules for all cars, regardless of if they are under warranty. The list goes from most frequent services to least.

Oil Changes

The most important service is an oil change. The long-time standard interval is every 5,000 kilometres. However, some vehicles and oil types can go much longer. At the very minimum, you should change your oil at least once or twice a year if you don't drive much.

Coolant Changes

Coolant change intervals vary by make and model. Most models need a coolant change about every two years or 40,000 kilometres. Like oil, some vehicles can go less often.

Brake Check and Maintenance

The car mechanic will do a visual brake check at each tyre rotation or every six months to a year. Pads, shoes and rotors need changing as needed.


Tyres usually wear down after about 40,000 kilometres, but some may need changing earlier. Keep an eye on your tyre tread to determine when your tyres need changing.

Transmission Service

Old-fashioned automatic and manual transmissions need fluid changes at around 50,000 kilometres. Manual transmissions may also need a clutch inspection and adjustment. Newer automatic transmissions need less frequent maintenance. 

Fuel Service

Newer fuel injection systems need very little maintenance. But, they do benefit from periodic fuel injection cleaning as needed. Some models need regular fuel filter changes. Others won't need that service for the whole life of the car.


Exhaust systems usually last the life of the car unless they are damaged. Various emission-related components, like oxygen sensors, wear out on their own. They could need replacement after a few years of use.


Suspension maintenance often requires checking alignment and lubricating components at regular intervals, like when your car gets an oil change. However, many modern suspensions components are sealed. Lubrication is not needed unless that component is under repair.

If you have an older car, chances are you aren't going to have a warranty problem if you skip or delay some of your maintenance. However, you risk your car's longevity and possible safety if you wait too long to service these areas. Check with your car mechanic if you aren't sure if or when your car needs service. Contact a car mechanic for more information.