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Routine Maintenance Schedule for Alternative Fuel Vehicles

Do You Follow the Schedule?


The following guidelines pertain to alternative fuel vehicles that have fairly conventional driveline and propulsion systems. Other components such as battery banks, electric drive motors and fuel systems that are particular to individual alternative fuel vehicles--such as hybrids--are addressed in our Alternative Fuel Vehicle Maintenance Guide.

No matter what alternative fuel vehicle you drive, it will not only run better—but last longer and save you money—if you take the time to do regular maintenance. Yes, sometimes it’s a hassle, but the results are well worth the effort. A combination of regular routine maintenance on each of a vehicle’s major systems, as well as individual components, contributes to the overall safety and reliability of the vehicle.

Following is a general listing of individual checks, adjustments and replacements based on time and mileage intervals. Many late model vehicles have “life of vehicle” service parts, so for specific model recommendations, please consult the vehicle service and/or owners manual.

Every 300 miles or weekly

Check and adjust as necessary:

  • Engine oil level
  • Engine coolant level
  • Windshield washer fluid
  • Tire condition and air pressure
  • Automatic transmission fluid level
  • Power steering fluid level
  • Operation of all lights
  • Operation of the horn

Every 6,000 miles or 6 months

  • Lubricate throttle linkage

Check and adjust as necessary:

  • Brake master cylinder fluid level
  • Wheel bolt/lug tightness
  • Differential oil level
  • Brake pads
  • Brake system
  • Battery

Every 7,500 miles or 12 months (normal conditions)

  • Change engine oil and filter
Check out The Great Oil Change Debate for commentary on the hotly debated oil change schedule topic.

Every 15,000 miles or 15 months

  • Rotate tires
  • Bleed brake system and replace fluid
  • Lube chassis components

Check and adjust as necessary:

  • Cooling system
  • Manual transmission fluid level (if equipped)
  • Clutch disc wear (if equipped)
  • Windshield wiper blades
  • Steering and suspension components
  • Driveline components
  • Engine drivebelts
  • Parking brake
  • Fuel system components

Every 30,000 miles or 30 months

  • Drain, flush and refill cooling system
  • Drain and refill manual transmission oil (if equipped)
  • Drain and refill automatic transmission fluid and change filter (normal conditions)
  • Drain and refill differential oil
  • Replace fuel filter
  • Replace air filter element (normal conditions)
  • Clean and repack wheel bearings
  • Check and service emissions system component

Severe Operating Conditions

  • frequent short trips
  • sustained high speeds in hot or cold weather
  • severe dusty conditions
  • extremely humid conditions
  • trailer towing
  • mountainous or steep terrain

If the vehicle is operated under severe conditions, follow these enhanced maintenance intervals:

  • Every 3,000 miles or 3 months—Change engine oil and filter
  • Every 15,000 miles—Change air filter element, drain and replace automatic transmission fluid and change filter

Check out some other great Alternative Fuel Vehicle Maintenance articles.

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