Preventative maintenance

I have a 2004 Chevy Colorado (inline 5 cylinder, fuel injected) which currently has 89500 miles. For approximately the next year, until 4/13, I will be putting 600 miles a week ( 120 miles round-trip/5 days a week) going back and forth to school. I currently change my oil every 5000 miles and rotate my tires every other oil change. I am wondering which systems/components I should concentrate on to have checked such as brakes (which are original), shocks/struts…etc. I’m not made of money but I need to keep this “paid for” vehicle in good running order. I have had zero problems with this truck so far and really need to keep it that way. Any suggestions/comments are appreciated. Thanks.

The answer is as close as your glove compartment. Just follow the “severe service” schedule in your owners manual.

Why ‘severe service’? Highway miles like this are easier on the vehicle.

If it’s been more than 30k since your last transmission fluid or brake fluid change, I’d have both of those done. I’d make sure the tires are in good shape, check the brake pads, and if the coolant needs changing nows a good time.

If the handling is fine, I wouldn’t worry about he shocks/struts.

First step, pull out the owners manual and make a list of everything that needs to be done, both on a miles and a time basis.

Does it have a timing belt?

texases is right. You only need to check the brake pads now in case they are near their wear limit as you will be stressed to change them when you are driving 600 miles a week. You probably won’t add a lot of wear to them so if they have at least 25% of their life left, they should go the distance. You can probably stretch you oil change interval to 6000 miles without any problem, 7500 if you use synthetic.

You haven’t mentioned the kind of driving you will be doing – mostly non-stop interstate or stop-and-go traffic.

If it is mostly high speed interstate driving, this is the gentlest driving you can do for a vehicle. You could likely safely go 10,000 miles between oil changes. Your brake pads will show practically no wear at all. Other service intervals can also be stretched out.

Still, your owner’s manual is a starting point. Follow its recommendations.

Sounds like you’re doing fine and everyone who also suggested you make the owner/maintenance manual bathroom reading material is on the mark .

The reason I listed “severe service” in my original answer was for a couple of reasons. One…there was no route listed for the trips and two…I have driven in Texas and know there can be a lot of dust and sand to drive through. I take the approach that it’s better to be safe than sorry.

No matter how you slice it, severe service is backwards for this. The guy will drive himself crazy with that.

I don’t know about your engine, but if it has a timing belt the change interval is probably closing in.

It might be cheaper overall just to take a room near the school and come home on weekends…

Mr. Caddyman might very well be right. At the Federal mileage reimbursement rate of $.555 per mile, you would be spending $66.60 per day. In addition to that, you are expending your time on the road instead of studying and in addition to that are exposing yourself to an accident not to mention the winddown time spent after commuting. Sooner or later, you will have an accident and possibly not your fault no matter how well you drive; just ask me if that can’t happen. You might be better off staying in a motel at a weekly rate.

Alternate weekly stays?

With age and miles on your truck it could be time for some fluid changes. Get out the owner’s manual and look over the maintenance section. Look for info on changing coolant, brake fluid, transmission fluid, differential fluid, power steering fluid, etc. Many vehicles are due for these fluid changes about where you are now with age and miles.

Get a new air filter if you have 20 to 25K miles on the one in there now. You might need a new fuel filter too. Have you changed out the OEM spark plugs yet? Basically you just need to be sure your maintenance is up to date with Chevy recommendations for regular service.

Keep up your oil change routine, you can stretch it a bit since this heavy mileage will mostly be on the highway. Have your brake pad wear checked when you rotate the tires. Get some new wiper blades and good luck in school.

You can go to the “” web site to learn if your motor uses a timing belt. If it has a belt the recommended change interval will be given and whether or not it is an interference engine. Make sure you know this info for your truck and follow the recommendations.