1st Year Conversion Van Maintenance Guide
As with any vehicle, starting your first year of ownership off right, with appropriate maintenance provisions, is key to the longevity of the conversion van. In the long run, good maintenance pays dividends – owners will have fewer serious issues and the van will continue running long after less cared for vehicles have failed. To begin your first year off right, follow this guide to conversion van maintenance:
Regular Oil Changes
Whether you opt to do it yourself or take it to a shop, changing the oil is an important part of maintaining your van’s engine. For best results, always use the type of oil that the vehicle manufacturer specifies in your owner’s manual. In most cases, this will be a high-quality synthetic oil. You may not need to purchase the most expensive oil, but this is an area where you shouldn’t buy the bargain basement variety either.
How often you change the oil is a function of how far you drive and the type of driving, but in general, changing the oil every 3,000 is not necessary, except in severe conditions. Every 5,000 miles will typically keep your van in shape, but it depends on how it is driven.
You may not need much in the way of other fluids during your first year, unless you are driving in severe conditions; however, consider getting a transmission flush after 35,000 miles and adding windshield wiper fluid as necessary. Next year, replace your engine coolant, or after 24,000 miles. Your brake and power-steering fluids should be checked at every scheduled oil change.
Tires and Alignment
For tire rotation, you should follow the recommendations in your manual, which should be along the lines of at least once per year, ideally twice, or every 10,000 miles, which ever comes first. You should regularly check your tires’ treads for signs of wear. You should replace your tires before they go bald to avoid potential accidents from flat tires or blow-outs.
Tires are also one way of knowing if the van needs realignment. They will show uneven wear. You will also know if the vehicle pulls more than slightly to the left or right. Realignment should be done when you replace your tires, but in many cases, it’s worth doing every 50,000 miles regardless, for better handling and gas mileage.
Severe vs Normal Duty
If you drive your van in severe conditions, including extreme cold, frequent short trips (city driving), while hauling heavy loads, or on unpaved surfaces, you may wish to consider getting comprehensive maintenance services more often.
If your conversion van has a warranty, you may need to conduct maintenance according to a certain schedule from the manufacturer to avoid voiding the warranty. Be sure to read any fine print on this matter and keep good records of maintenance performed on the van.