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The 30-60-90 Service Interval Rule in Vehicle Maintenance

ByDave Stopher

Aug 23, 2021

Keeping a regular maintenance schedule for your car is important because that’s how you can prevent minor issues from worsening. Some people believe that the best way to maintain a car is through preventive or predictive maintenance, but most others are faithful to the 30-60-90 rule.

Based on the 30-60-90 rule, a car should receive maintenance for every 30,000 miles that it has been driven. Most mechanics recommend this service interval because it’s a tried-and-true formula that results in well-maintained cars that live beyond their years. Plus, it keeps the car owners from having to rely on their instincts alone.

Of course, if immediate concerns need to be addressed, you shouldn’t wait until you reach the 30,000-mile mark to bring your car in for service. But if you’re not in any rush to fix a problem, then following this rule will allow you to take the guesswork out of vehicle maintenance.

So rather than having different maintenance schedules for certain parts of your car, you can just bring it in once it hits 30,000, 60,000, and 90,000 miles. If you’re not familiar with the specifics of what happens during maintenance, here are some important events that you need to know:

Before 30,000 Miles

Both the air and fuel filters of your car have to be changed every 30,000 miles, but that depends on whether you live in a particularly dusty or polluted area. If you do, then you might need to change your air filters every 15,000 miles to keep the air inside your vehicle clean and hygienic.

On the other hand, your fuel filters need to be replaced every 30,000 miles because the engine won’t run properly if the filters are clogged. If you continue driving your car without changing your filters, your car may overheat due to the engine working double-time to perform optimally.

The brake fluid, power steering fluid, transmission fluid, coolant, and other critical fluids must also be replaced every 30,000 miles. This is because the fluids are in charge of lubricating the different parts of the car, so if they aren’t changed, your car will be running on dirty fluids and be more vulnerable to breakdowns.

Before 60,000 Miles

Most brakes have to be inspected during the 50,000 to 60,000-mile mark because they are critical components of vehicles. Brake issues are not laughing matters, especially because broken brakes can put your life in danger. That’s why you should always pay attention to the sounds that your brakes make.

For instance, you’re constantly hearing squealing or rattling sounds from your Subaru even before you hit the 60,000-mile mark. When this happens, you may need a Subaru brake replacement because your old one is worn out and already rubbing against the rotor. Plus, it will be a good habit to have your brakes checked when you get your tires rotated, which should be done bi-annually at the minimum.

You may also need to have your batteries replaced at this point because the majority of batteries will only have an output of no more than 60,000. And aside from running out of battery, the battery terminals are also vulnerable to environmental factors, which means you need to check for corrosion buildup.

Before 90,000 Miles

The timing belt needs to be replaced around the 90,000 to 100,000-mile mark because it’s in charge of ensuring that the crankshaft and camshaft are in perfect sync. If it breaks while you’re driving, it can cause serious damage to your engine and also put your life in danger.

So, if you see any signs of wear and tear, cracking, glazing, or material loss, then you need to replace your timing belt as soon as possible. The same thing applies to your hoses because they direct the flow of coolants to make sure that your engine doesn’t overheat. If you see cracks or bulges, then replace them too.

Usually, modern cars can go as much as 120,000 miles on their original spark plugs, while the spark plugs in older cars will need to be changed every 20,000 to 40,000 miles. The spark plugs are important because they allow combustion to happen when you ignite and drive the car, but if your plugs are bad, then you’ll keep running into trouble with your car.

Following a specific maintenance schedule will allow you to keep your car running at optimal performance because everything is working perfectly. You might think that it’s a waste of money to bring your car in for maintenance when there are no obvious problems, but you need to see it as an investment for your vehicle’s longevity and your personal safety.