We spend so much time behind the wheel these days, exposing our vehicles to mostly extreme conditions. Yet, we are so quick to take them for granted.

Too many people ignore their vehicle until something goes wrong, but preventive maintenance is the best way to increase vehicle life. A good place to start is with a basic tuneup that includes spark plug replacement and regular oil and filter changes. While motor oil is your vehicle’s lifeblood, it is the oil filter’s job to prevent harmful particles and contaminants from entering the engine.

The type of filter you use should depend on the driving you do. Most major brands offer quality filter products that meet the varying demands of today’s vehicles — including filters for older vehicles, trucks and SUVs. For instance, one might be an oil filter that utilizes a combination of synthetic glass and cellulose media. Some offer a screen-over bypass valve that provides backup filtration during cold start-ups and added protection against larger particles of dirt.


Most experts recommend oil and filter changes every 5,000 kilometres and spark plug replacement once every two years.

Today’s spark plugs are exposed to severe stress in the engine and old, worn or dirty spark plugs can reduce fuel economy by up to 30 per cent in typical driving conditions. A spark plug’s role is to deliver a high-voltage spark with split-second timing, thousands of times a minute under hostile operating conditions. When choosing spark plugs, buy plugs that provide better overall ignitability and durability.