First car - General Maintenance

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Hi — First off, I'm sure this question has been asked a zillion times before, but I searched and couldn't find anything definitive.

I just bought a 2013 Lexus RX 350. It's my first car (other than the '71 Dodge Dart my grandfather gave me when I was a teen) and I was wondering what best practices are in terms of maintenance. How often should I take it in to get a check up? What can/should I do myself? etc. I'm pretty clueless when it comes to cars (though I'm totally willing to put some work in to get a clue now that I have a car), so any tips would be very much appreciated.


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Hi Nick....welcome to the Club

I would overservice the car if anything to ensure it gives years of service.

Maybe the first one you could throw into the Dealership and then after that start tacking small jobs by yourself such as air and cabin filters then progress to engine oil and filter depending on your practical abilities.

It's always satisfying working on your own car though...not to mention money saving as well

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Welcome.  Good place to start is to get a service history for the car?  Then look over and see if anything looks out of date?

I hang out in the more technical forums over at BobstheOilGuy site.  You can get lost in there with discussions of best oil, etc.  But, there are forums about transmission, differential, and motor oils.  There is also Oil U and Oil 101 - both good places to read through.

Bottom line is modern lubricants are very good.  Modern extended drain services are OK, but ...   There is no need to change oil every 3,000 miles like in the old days. But you definitely want to do it at least once a year.  And better along the lines of spring and fall.(depending on mileage driven of course).  Modern filters are good, but some are better than others...

I dunno what Lexus call for in the owners manual (?), but I'd consider their recommendations as minimums.  I'd prolly over service the vehicle for the first year or two.

Definitely change all fluids and critical inspection of belts and hoses on a "new to you" used vehicle.  You don't know who or how rough folks treated that vehicle before you got it.  So fresh fluids and keeping an eye on everything is a must for the first year.

If you get any heating issues, change the thermostat.  I like marine grade stainless ones. But OEM is fine too.  The thing that kills most motors and tranny's is heat with cooked oil and gaskets.  Manage the heat and keep good oils at proper levels, it'll last a long time.

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