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50 000 Mile Car Maintenance

Mechanic Under Car

For many car owners, the maintenance interval that happens around 50,000 miles is a big one and can be very costly. There is a reason for this and most of the scheduled maintenance to be done at this point is critical to the car's longevity.

50,000 is Rough

The "50,000" mile number is a rough estimate. Some vehicles have a 45,000 service interval, others have a 60,000 interval. Most fall somewhere in that range (which represents about a year of driving for the average vehicle).

So when we say "50,000" we're talking about anywhere in the 45k-60k range for your vehicle, depending on manufacturer's recommendations.

What's To Be Done

At this interval, all of the things that are recommended at 25-30,000 miles are included. So fuel filter, coolant flush and replace, oil and filter changes, air filter change, and often tires and brake service are required or should at least be checked.

In addition to those items that happen every 25-30,000 miles, you have another set of items that happen every 45-60,000 miles as well.

Major tune up

These include a major tune up, which involves replacing all of the spark wires, plugs, and ignition management system. That IMS is either a cap and rotor on your engine's distributor (if it's mechanical) or a new electronic control box (if it's electronic).

Brake fluid

Another major replacement is brake fluid. By now, it's been in the car for five years or so and is likely beginning to lose viscosity when under heat stress. So a drain and replacement is a good idea.

Timing belt

At this point, most vehicles also require a new timing belt. This is a very expensive replacement, since much of the engine's components require removal. It's easier to do it now when fluids are likely being drained for replacement anyway (such as coolant, which means the radiator can be removed to give easier access to the timing covers).

New Battery

It's not uncommon for the car to need a new battery if it hasn't already been replaced. Those who live in harsh winter climates will likely require more frequent battery replacement (closer to 30,000-40,000 miles in most cases).

Power steering flush

Many mechanics also recommend a power steering flush and fluid replacement. This is not too expensive and worth it if you are already doing the other items on the list.

Reasons to Skip This Maintenance Interval

There are really only two reasons to skip this intense, but very important maintenance interval:

  1. the car is going to be traded in very soon, so the dealership may as well do it;
  2. the car is electric and doesn't require all of this mechanical maintenance.

So be sure you're doing what's needed when it's needed!