We take our vehicles for granted. We get in. We turn the key. We drive. But if we do not take the time and effort to regularly maintain our vehicles, we will always pay for it later on down the road.

An owner’s manual is an intimidating, Bible-sized book that seems overwhelming just to look at. But it offers a wealth of information specific to the make and model of your auto and can tell you what steps you need to take to maintain your vehicle: what needs to be done and when it needs doing.

For starters, no matter what you drive, you should get the oil changed every 3,000 miles. This can prevent the very destruction of the engine itself, with engine rebuilding or even total replacement often necessary when oil changes are neglected.

Your auto manual will tell you how often your vehicle’s spark plugs should be changed, the radiator coolant flushed, the transmission flushed, belts replaced, and more. Coolant replacement may be different from vehicle to vehicle, but should generally be performed every year.

You can easily change your own radiator coolant by unhooking the hose and letting the fluid leak into a pan. Reconnect the hose carefully and securely and fill the radiator to the fill line. You can also change your oil, while you’re at it, if you can get your car hoisted up enough to get under it safely.

You can check the spark plugs yourself, every few months. Using a socket wrench, take off the sockets that hold the cover on your engine. Unscrew the first spark plug and look at the connection. Is it burned or white? If so, it needs a replacement.

If there is ample oil on the spark plug, there may be a problem a mechanic will have to examine. Make sure when you replace the spark plugs to place them in straight, protecting the tip from colliding with anything. These simple maintenance tasks can save you tremendous headaches later if done when your manufacturer recommends them. And for those maintenance tasks you cannot do yourself, make sure you make that appointment with your favorite Utah auto repair center and get your maintenance done on time.