What happens if I miss a car maintenance interval?

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3 min read

Car maintenance intervals…yawn! (If you don’t know already) maintenance intervals are published by all car manufacturers and dictate the amount of time you should wait before a component needs to be replaced. It includes things like belts, fluids, tires, and most of the moving parts and thingamabobs that keep your car from falling apart.

We know, we know, life is already full of chores and checking the wiper fluid is one that most of us would be happy to skip. But keeping a car running smoothly (and safely) does mean you have a responsibility to keep on top of the maintenance intervals. But how bad is it really if you miss them? Well…it depends. Here’s a quick checklist to steer you in the right direction.

super important maintenance intervals

oil changes

Engine oil needs to be changed after every 3,000 miles or so. If you don’t change it the oil will thicken and could lead the engine to overheat and (in worst case scenarios) damage it permanently.

average cost: $50


When your brakes start to squeak or grind, that's your car giving you a good heads up that it's time to replace them. If you want to stay safe on the road (and keep other drivers safe too), this is not something you should ignore. 

average cost: $150

timing belt

The maintenance interval for the timing belt (that’s the thick rubber belt that controls the opening and closing of your engine valves) can range from 80-100k miles depending on your manufacturer, so it’s easy to forget about it. But if your timing belt goes bust on you, you could end up high and dry and needing serious repairs.

average cost: $400-1000


How long your tires last depends on what sort of roads you drive on. As you’d expect, rough roads will wear down that rubber faster, but usually tires roll for about 30-40k miles before they need an upgrade. If you want to check how the tread is doing, try the Abraham Lincoln trick.

average cost: around $500

missable (but not skippable)

air filter

Dirty air filters won’t do you engine any favors—we recommend keeping an eye on these every time you change your engine oil. 

average cost: $10-20

wiper fluid

Unlike engine oil, this won’t go bad over time, but if it’s running low then your visibility on the road will suffer. Just replace it when it runs low.

average cost: $15

transmission fluid

You should think about replacing the transmission fluid every 30-60k, but if you’re not experiencing any trouble, haven’t noticed a leak, and don’t use your car to tow heavy loads, then you should last to the top of this range. 

average cost: $150

Weighing up whether to repair vs sell? Well if your car is getting old and you don’t want to spend any more cash keeping those parts maintained, it’s probably a sign that it’s time to replace the whole shebang. Rather than spending a grand on a new timing belt, sell your car to Peddle and use the extra cash to get a car that’s still got some rev in its engine.