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Overview

Whether you’re new to SUVs or have a brand new SUV, you probably want to know how to keep your car running in the best condition. Perhaps the most obvious way is to follow routine maintenance tips, but there are more tips to keep your vehicle in good condition than just relying on your SUV’s maintenance schedule. 

Explore the best ways to stay on top of your SUV’s maintenance and keep it in top-notch condition.

Drive Gently

SUVs have an excellent reputation for handling rough rides, but that doesn’t mean you should make the ride rougher than it needs to be. Aggressive maneuvers like slamming the brakes or yanking hard on the steering wheel will prematurely wear down various components of your SUV. 

Of course, these can’t always be avoided, but there’s a difference between veering to avoid a crash and veering just to see how well your car drifts.

It’s also a good idea to avoid road hazards where you can, like driving around potholes. These hazards can leave you with a flat tire, a skewed wheel, or other damage that may not be immediately obvious. 

Finally, it helps to drive your SUV on the terrains it’s best built for. Even though many SUVs are technically capable of off-roading, some are designed primarily for use on city streets and don’t handle rugged terrain very well. Off-road SUVs can better handle unpaved roads and other rough terrains.

Reduce the Weight

It may not seem like a big deal to regularly haul heavy loads in your SUV, but this will cause problems over the long term. Unnecessary weight places needless stress on various components of your vehicle and hampers your fuel economy. It’s best to unload any unnecessary cargo since this will remove the extra stress on your SUV’s frame.

Clean Your SUV Regularly

The exterior of all cars and SUVs gets dirty over time, and an SUV coated in dust, dried mud, or dried water spots doesn’t look as nice as a freshly-washed SUV. 

Keeping your SUV clean doesn’t just apply to the outside. You’ll want to keep the interior in good shape too. The insides of family SUVs are often subject to dirty or muddy footprints, pet hair, and spills. 

Even luxury SUVs are not exempt from obtaining dust over time. You can perform basic upkeep by periodically removing and hosing the floor mats and vacuuming the upholstery. Some car washes also offer interior cleaning services, which help remove or reduce stains and scuff marks, so you don’t have to pay for a detailing service.

Get Regular Maintenance

All car owners should get regular car maintenance to prevent various vehicle problems. Caring for your SUV and staying on top of its maintenance will keep your SUV running for a long time.

Fill and Replace the Fluids

Your SUV relies on six essential fluids to run at its best, but these fluids don’t last very long. While most vehicles follow a similar schedule for fluid refills and changes, every SUV has its own recommended schedule, which is often included in the owner’s manual.

  • Windshield wiper fluid: Unlike other fluids in your SUV, wiper fluid doesn’t have a schedule for when it needs to be topped up. Regularly check your wiper fluid and fill it up when it’s low.
  • Engine oil: You should generally top up your engine oil whenever your oil levels look low. Most vehicles should be scheduled for an oil change every 3,000 to 7,000 miles.
  • Brake fluid: Your brake fluid should be topped up every six months or whenever the levels get too low. Getting a full brake fluid flush every two years is typically recommended, but it depends on the car.
  • Coolant: Coolant replacement depends on the vehicle. Some should have their coolant replaced every 30,000 miles, while others can go as long as 60,000, 100,000, or even 150,000 miles before a change is needed. (Once your SUV has 50,000 miles on it, the coolant should be regularly tested to make sure it hasn’t turned acidic.)
  • Power steering: Depending on your vehicle, you’ll probably need your power steering fluid filled or replaced every 40,000 to 100,000 miles.
  • Transmission fluid: When to replace your transmission fluid depends on whether you have an automatic or manual transmission. In automatic vehicles, the fluid does not need to be changed until around 60,000 to 100,000 miles (or even more), but manual vehicles usually have a schedule between 30,000 and 60,000 miles.

Check the Filters

Your SUV doesn’t just rely on fluids and fuel; it depends on filters, too. However, over time, these filters can get clogged, hurting your SUV’s performance at best and leading to engine damage at worst. The filter cleanings and changes schedule is often a bit longer than it is for fluids, but it depends on the vehicle.

  • Oil filter: The oil filter should be changed every 3,000 to 7,000 miles. As a general rule, you should get your oil filter changed whenever you get your oil changed.
  • Air filter: Air filters should be replaced every 10,000 to 15,000 miles. Remember that climate and other variables can affect your air filter’s schedule. For example, a filter that lasts 15,000 miles in a more temperate climate may need to be changed every 10,000 miles in the desert or other dusty areas.
  • Fuel filter: The fuel filter should be changed out around every 20,000 to 30,000 miles. It’s essential to ensure the fuel filter doesn’t get clogged, as it prevents debris and other hazards from entering the engine.

Maintain Your Tires

Your tires are one of the most important parts of your SUV. That’s why it’s critical to take care of them. Check and maintain your tire pressure regularly, keep up with tire rotations to ensure the rubber wears down evenly, and change your tires when they’ve worn down too much. Bald tires increase the risk of skidding and collisions.

Stick to the Schedule

Every vehicle, whether a car, truck or SUV, has its own recommended maintenance schedule, which covers various lifetime maintenance procedures (like wheel alignment, for instance). You can usually find it in the owner’s manual of your SUV. 

If you maintain your car according to the maintenance schedule, it will last much longer than if you only take it in when the Check Engine light appears on the dashboard.

Find and Maintain Top-Notch SUVs with SUViews

If you’re unsure how to find or maintain a reliable SUV, SUViews has the answers you need. After you look at our reviews to find your ideal SUV, our blog will provide you with a variety of tips to keep your SUV in top condition.