Car Maintenance Question for Lightly Driven Vehicles

I own a 2017 Volvo S90 - it’s been a good car. I don’t drive it that much, though. I have just over 12,000 miles on it and I bought it new in 2017.

And these days I’m driving even less, so my question is whether I should be paying attention to the car’s reminders that I need to have my 20,000-mile service done because it’s based on time since my last maintenance and not the actual mileage.

Anyone have experience with this?

I’m also curious about this: If I’m driving, say, 3,000 miles a year, how often should I do things like get an oil change, have various things checked, etc?

I go by the once a year minimum checkup, usually during inspection, and that’s on the Hyundai we have that gets driven around 3K a year.

I do a DIY 3 month checkup on fluids/air in tires/wipers.

Stick with actual millage requirements for stuff like fluids, esp if you use synthetics.

On my Mazda CX5, I have been doing a 6 month dealer service visit at whatever mileage I am at, usually just under 5k per visit. I still like the peace of mind that a pro did the multipoint checkup, as I still drive a lot for work and do highway speeds (80+mph), every other week.

Some parts/liquids are still vulnerable to oxygen damage, like rubber transmission chains. I wouldn’t worry too much, but then, at that car age, I’d have to by law… but it’s not too expensive if nothings needs changing.

Oil for instance ages over time no matter how much you actually drive. So I’d definitely get the oil changed once a year. I drive about 8000 miles a year, and while the manufacturer suggest 10000 miles, I get the oil done once a year anyhow.

I change oil and that’s it. Never done any of the suggested maintenance at suggested miles. If something stops working I take it in.

My buddy is the opposite. Takes his car in following the recommended schedule and spend all this money on every little maintenance suggestion at the dealer. I think that’s a waste of money but I’m no mechanic.

I am in the moral dilemma of hitting 60k miles, and suggested maintenance says change rear differential fluid. Which I last did at 30k as it was also suggested at that time, and I knew I was keeping the vehicle another year or two.

I am only planning on keeping the vehicle now until July 2022. I’ll probably put 10k miles on in that time. Think I should get the fluid replaced?

  • Yep
  • Nope

0 voters

There’s a trade-off here. Most newer cars will go for quite a bit without those scheduled maintenance actions. But once they do, now you’re in repair mode, which can get really costly, really quick. I would encourage you to at least add brakes/rotors, fluid flush/refills, filter replacements and requisite checks on the car often, even if you don’t pull the trigger on those service actions. In addition, if you’re in a newer car, you’ll never get the recalls or field service actions completed. Those are usually completely covered. Hell, I have one on my entire engine!

Also of note, if you pay off your car and want to just go into cheap mode, I implore you to start setting aside that same payment amount you put in to the car for the time period after you pay it off. That small nest egg is your, “oh shit, it’s dead,” fee coverage, or your lump sum to get into a newer vehicle when that day comes.

Excellent suggestion, I have been doing exactly this for the last 11 months.

I always keep something of a partial car payment surplus after payoff. Not the entire price OF a car, but enough that I can cover moving to another vehicle if needed, downpayment or otherwise.

Okay, stupid question, but can anyone tell my why there are so many different types of bulb connections for replacement headlights?



According to Amazon, these all fit my car.

Tech and standards change over time, particularly as newer globes are brighter, draw more current, or in the case of the first one there, have addional electronics in the ‘globe’, That and Amazon is obviously lying to you about which one is right - all the vendors want all the clicks, so listings are pretty generic.

Search on YT for a vid on replacing the globe for your specific vehicle to get an eyeball on the actual globe before purchasing. Or find the OEM sku and google it for a aftermarket replacement. Or pull your blown one first. These days, modern cars are much better about designing relatively easy globe replacement access, so that is usually my preferred route.

I all for buying it from online retailers, however, since your local automotive shops with screw you on pricing.

Hell, I’m not sure you even can replace bulbs on so many of these cars. I wouldn’t begin to know how to meddle with my headlights.

Agreed. Find a model specific vendor, article, or video to confirm. I do not trust Amazon for something like this.

I have done several headlight replacements…depending on the car it can be very easy or not so easy. I replaced my Boxster’s bulbs. Pulling the light and installing and the bulbs was easy, but reinstalling the headlight was a bit challenging just based on getting it to slot into place.

We upgraded the bulbs on my son’s Focus. That was easy except a fragile plastic connector for the bulb broke. To fix would require replacing the entire headlight unit so we repaired with electrical tape. On the same car we’ve also pulled the headlights to sand/polish them to remove sun-damage hazing, and another time to reseal one of the headlight units that was getting water condensation inside. Easy peasy.

The difference is the L-shape is the low-beam bulb, and the others are high beams.

I’ve actually replaced the bulbs on my S40 before, but it was so long ago I forgot the details.

But I managed to do it again. I replaced my halogen bulbs with LED. Brighter, but now the problem is that I need a resistor because the LEDs draw such little power compared to Halogen that the S40’s computer is saying the bulbs are still burnt-out.