Maintenance recommendations

I have a 2001 Chevy Malibu, with 69975 miles. Until last year, I was driving only about 6000 miles a year, and now I have a new job where I commute 60 miles a day, so am going to probably do about 18,000 miles or more this year.

I change my oil regularly, and got new tires last year at 58,000 miles (wow, completely different handling now!) Since my car is relatively old but relatively unused, what other things should I be concerned about doing off schedule? I had the head gasket changed last year (due to coolant loss), and would like to keep the car for a while longer, since it’s long paid for and has been fairly good maintenance wise (just brakes and a new fuel pump have been my major shop expenses, and I changed the serpentine belt, battery, and alternator myself).

Should I have the transmission flushed? Differential done? New plugs/wiring harness? Timing chain replaced? As I push 70k miles, I am sure there are a lot of things that will start to go and always best to get them done before hand. I’m handy so I can do some of the stuff, but I don’t have the tools for the major stuff, so I’ll bring it to my favorite shop for those items.

Thanks for any advice.

A transmission fluid service would be a wise thing to do. People will be religious with oil changes and even with the type of motor oil that is used. But if you mention when the last time the tranny fluid was serviced, they usually look at you like a deer caught in the headlights, while the crickets start chirping in the background.


Check the owner’s manual on when you should have plugs changed. It wouldn’t hurt to do them now and change out wires as a preventive measure. All else i would do based on owner’s manual recommendation, and keep up the trans fluid changes per transman’s advice.

Timing chain change should not be needed. Keep in mind highway commute miles are fairly easy on the car.

Let’s start with the basics. Open the owner’s manual and make sure you are doing everything listed there.

Next I would recommend a transmission fluid change with a new filter. (Notice I did not use the word flush.) Even if it is not listed in the owner’s manual a transmission fluid change very 30-40,000 miles is a good idea. (Avoid all the chain shops.)

Timing chains are usually life of the car. Plugs and wires … If it is not noted in the owner’s manual I would recommend about 30 -50,000 miles, longer if the owner’s manual does not recommend regular plugs.

The owner’s manual should be your guide. Maintenance intervals are given in mileage and time. Prior to now you’d be likely to end up more on time rather than miles. But now you’ll likely find you are going by miles. Its just “whichever comes first.”

There are only two things to ignore the manual about. First is coolant. Don’t use DexCool and don’t leave it in your car for 5 years / 150K miles. Get it flushed out & filled with a universal coolant and have it service about every 2 years / 24K miles.

Second, as noted above is the tranmission fluid. Have a pan/filter service done every 30K.

Other than those things, follow the manual.