How long can I delay a major service?

I have a 2000 Honda civic dx coupe with 151,000 miles. My last major service was in March 2007. I got a minor service 3 months ago, and new front brakes. I have already changed the timing belt at 96,000 miles or so.

I am on a really tight budget, and want to change my transmission and brake fluid, new spark plugs, brake adjustment, top off all fluids, etc. But a tune-up costs a lot in the Bay Area.

Can I delay a major service until the beginning of next year when I will have more money? Are there any warning signs that I need a major service?

I also have a cracked/broken rear trailing bushel(sp?). Mechanic said it would make a noise when broken, but so far it has been okay, but I can’t get an alignment until it is fixed.

I am not good with cars and don’t know how to change my own oil.

How can I keep my car in good shape, but hold off on the expense of a major service?

If your transmission is an automatic, you are already living on borrowed time. I would at least do that at a transmission shop, not the dealer. The rest of the stuff can wait a while…

what about brake fluid? I have new front brakes and roters, but not sure about the brake fluid? Should I just get my transmission serviced and brake fluid?

How about spark plugs?

I only drive about 12-15,000 miles a year.

When was the last time the spark plugs and brake fluid were changed? Did the brake job involve new calipers? If so, the fluid was sort of changed then…How often does your owners manual recommend new plugs? I would follow that…

I can’t find my owners manual, and my service got a bit off track with the manual as I bought the car used.

I got new spark plugs in 2007, not sure about the calipers…I only know that I got new roters and brake pads a few months ago for the front brakes.

IMHO you can delay your service till when you have money. 6 months is not that much time overextending those items. The only critical one is making sure fluids are topped and oil is changed on regular basis. If automatic transmission I would only recommend doing that between now and then if funds available, if manual don’t even worry.

Heck I never did any major maintenance to my 1995 Civic after 150k miles. I moved over to $15 oil changes at Walmart or $25 at my indy tire dealer. I did not love the car and skipped the timing belt which was still intact when I sold to next owner(who was informed) at 225k miles.

You want to take care of your car without spending much money.

You need to bite the bullet and learn to do some of the maintenance yourself.