Your Car Maintenance Checklist

More expensive oils and fluids: Stick with the owner’s manual recommendations. “A shop may recommend synthetic fluids for a service, but if your car’s owner’s manual doesn’t require them, there’s no need to pay extra,” says Mike Crossen, a CR mechanic.

Flushes: Coolant, power steering fluid, differential oil, and brake fluid occasionally need to be changed. Fluid flushes use a machine that sucks out the old fluid and pumps new fluid in. “Flushes aren’t always necessary when they’re offered outside the regular maintenance schedule,” Crossen says. “It depends on the severity of use and the make and model of your vehicle.”

Parts that aren’t fully worn out yet (but could use replacement at some point in the future): “Let’s say a CV half shaft in a front- or all-wheel-drive car is worn on one side of the car, and the shop says you need to replace the pair of them,” Crossen says. “One half shaft doesn’t have much to do with the other side, so you can just replace the side that’s broken and save yourself some money for the time being.”

All prices based on CR survey data and/or and RepairPal estimates.