A Look at Car Maintenance in the Past

It’s no secret that cars these days are a lot more technologically advanced than they were just twenty years ago. With all the advancements they not only work better, but they also take less maintenance. My mom took a class in car maintenance back in the 70’s, and took some notes. Here’s pictures of her notes, plus I’ll copy out some interesting parts.


“Preventative maintenance schedule:

2,000 miles: oil change, good quality high detergent 20 weight

4,000 miles: every other oil change, change filter”

Nowadays a lot of cars don’t need their oil changed until 5,000 or even 10,000 miles.

“12,000 miles: clean and repack wheel bearings, complete engine tuneup”

I’ve only been working in the field for a couple years, but I have yet to see any wheel bearings being repacked. Tuneups are few and far between lately, as spark plugs can last 100,000 miles and the computer monitors everything closely.

“24,000 miles: change automatic transmission fluid, drain & flush cooling system, replace thermostat every two years”

Transmission fluid and coolant are also now very long life, with sometimes as much as 100,000 miles between changes. Thermostats are usually only replaced when they go bad.

“Engine Tuneup Procedure:

2. Replace PCV Valve

5. Distributor, remove cap, visual check, remove rotor, check

6. Remove and replace points and condenser unless GM V8

8. Adjust ignition timing

9. Carburation idle adjust speed”

These days you’d only replace a PCV valve if it goes bad, and modern cars don’t have distributors or carburetors. Now it’s ignition coils and fuel injection, all computer controlled.


Just some basic knowledge here, and it actually mostly still applies. Notes on when you need a wheel alignment, wheel balancing, leaking wheel cylinders, the different electrical systems, and how to maintain a battery. Most batteries and maintenance free now.

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