Car Maintenance 101 – What are the Important parts to be replaced and when?

It is often said that buying a car is easy but maintenance is the difficult part. Knowing how to maintain the parts of your car and engine is crucial to ensure the longer lifespan of your vehicle.

Understanding wear and tear

Like any other machine, every part of your vehicle will undergo wear and tear. Repetitive usage will result in parts becoming old and ineffective.

Over time, you will need to replace or repair some of those parts. Upkeeping the vehicle is imperative if you want to use it continuously for the long term.

While most parts are replaceable in any vehicle, you want to minimize this as much as possible as it will mean not needing to fork out additional expenses too frequently.

Best tips for car maintenance

Below are some of the common practices to help you keep your vehicle in tip-top condition.

Car Batteries

The use of car batteries varies among drivers. The rule of thumb is to buy a brand that you are aware of. Avoid brands that are too new in the market.

Under normal circumstances, car batteries last between 18 months to 2 years and this depends very much on how you use them. Check your lights to ensure they are switched off when you leave your vehicle or it might drain the battery life overnight.

Air Filters

The air filter for your engine needs to be changed every 20,000km. Certain mechanics will just clean the air filter and reuse them. Avoid this.

If you have changed your air filter to permanent ones, then you only need to remove them and clean them.

Fuel Filters

The fuel filter needs to be replaced once every 40,000km. Many drivers are ignorant about this but it keeps the fuel clean and the filter is quite cheap, often between RM15-RM20.

Spark Plugs

Always keep track of your spark plugs. Change the entire set of spark plugs once every 30,000 to 40,000km. Do not exceed 40,000 or the electrodes become too thin and the efficiency of your engine will drop significantly.

Automatic Transmission Fluid

The Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF) must be replaced once every 30,000km especially if you are driving an automatic transmission vehicle.

Take note that if you fail to do this, it could potentially damage your gearbox and the cost to repair or replace could be in the thousands.

Water Pump

The water pump is an essential part of the engine and needs to be changed every two times you change the timing belt.

In other words, if you change your timing belt once every 50,000km, then you need to change the water pump once every 100,000km. This does not need to be changed frequently but gets it checked so that it is functioning well.

Power Steering Fluid

The power steering fluid ensures that the turning of your steering is smooth and efficient. If you feel that it starts to be coarse and restrictive, then it is time to change the fluid.

It would be best to change it once every 60,000km.

Radiator Coolant

Liquid coolant is always better than water as they don’t boil. Each bottle (that will be just enough for your radiator tank) should not be more than RM20. Change the coolant once every 60,000km.

Brake Fluid

The brake fluid is used to lubricate the mechanical parts of your braking system. This is an extremely important part of your vehicle. The fluid should be replaced once every 60,000km.

Clutch Plate

Then it comes to the clutch, the cost is always higher than many other parts of the vehicle. You should replace the clutch plate either every 100,000km or when the clutch slipping occurs. The former would be a better option.

Gear oil

This is the oil used in manual transmission gearboxes. You should change it every 60,000km. This helps to lubricate the efficient movement of the engine parts.


The lubricant (also known as black oil) should be changed once every 5,000km or 3 months whichever comes first (if you are using non-synthetic lubricants).

If you are using fully-synthetic lubricants, it should be changed once every 7,500km or 10,000km.

The rule of thumb is to change them as early as possible and preferably before the mileage occurs as it would ensure better efficiency.