How is it that in many consumers’ minds, the most performed and most important service on your vehicle became “just an oil change”? Whether you have this performed at the intervals the old quickie lube shops made up of 3,000 miles, or most manufacturers recommended 7,500 miles, it is still completed more often than any other service on your vehicle. This is your vehicles routine check-up and should be of higher importance.

A long lasting engine has proper lubrication. This means not only replacing the engine oil on time, but making sure the oil level is always where it needs to be, and the oil is the right type for your application. As you drive further and further, your engine oil breaks down. This destroys the lubricating abilities of the oil. Engines that don’t have proper lubrication work harder, get hotter, and wear faster. Last time I checked, your motor was the most important part of your vehicle.

In addition to being concerned with your engine, the oil change is the time to verify the rest of the vehicle is in good shape. Here are some routine services and checks that you need to make sure your mechanic is doing, every time your car is in for service.

Tire Maintenance – A tire rotation and air pressure check should be performed every oil change. It is also recommended to have your tire balance and wheel alignment checked at the very least. All shops will check your air pressure for free and in California it is required by law. Most automotive shops offer a free tire rotation and free balance and alignment checks with their oil change service. This is a good way to extend the life of your tires and ensure your vehicles safety.

Brakes – Verify that the mechanic or auto technician checked your brakes during your oil change. The wheels will come off during the tire rotation so it’s only a matter of them observing the brakes condition. Once again, most shops perform this as a free service to you while having your oil changed. Checking the brakes is necessary in determining how safe your vehicle is.

Fluids – As the oil is essential to the engines performance, so are the other fluids under the hood. All shops should verify the fluid levels and any irregularities with them. Most shops will even offer free fluid top-off. It’s always good to double-check with the mechanic that this service was performed.

General Inspection – Give your auto service technician a chance to fully inspect your vehicle for any potential concerns. A lot of auto repair shops will do a multi-point inspection just as a doctor does on you at your check-ups. Generally this is also a free service offered by the auto repair center upon request. The mechanics should be looking for leaking, cracked, worn, torn or broken parts during this written inspection.

So rather than bringing your car in for “just an oil change”, have it thoroughly inspected and maintained. It will take longer than a 10 minute oil change, but your safety and your vehicles overall well-being relies on it. Most shops will even perform theses much needed services and checks for free. Your most important service is the key to your car’s long life.