Your Handy Car Maintenance Checklist
Preventative Maintenance to Keep Your Car Running
If you’re hoping to keep your car running as well as possible, for as long as possible, take a look at this handy checklist of things you’ll need to take care of, and when those tasks should be done. Some jobs are best carried out regularly, some on a time-based or even mileage-based schedule. Check your owner’s manual for any make or model-specific maintenance recommendations and suggested service intervals.
It takes some care and attention to keep a car running well, but most tasks aren’t particularly complicated. Once you know what it is you need to do, and how often you need to do it, you’ll be able to take care of your car pretty easily.
If you take good care of your car and keep receipts for any service work you do, you’ll be able to show that when you eventually decide to sell it. A well-maintained car will usually fetch a higher asking price than one of a similar age and mileage that was not serviced regularly.
We’ve put together a simple car maintenance checklist you can print out and keep in your garage, so you’ll always know what tasks to do and when to do them.
Regular Car Check-Ups
The following checks should be done regularly, because they will alert you to any potential issues, giving you a chance to fix them before the car becomes damaged.
Oil and Coolant Levels
Check your oil and coolant levels at least once a month. It’s a good idea to check them before making any long journeys as well. These checks should be done while the engine is cool. They don’t take long to do and will give you peace of mind. Low levels of oil or coolant could damage your engine. If you replace the oil or coolant and levels run low again quite quickly, this could be a sign of a leak.
The air filter removes dust, pollen, and debris from the air that flows into your engine, helping protect the engine from damage and improving your fuel efficiency. Air filters should be changed regularly, because when they’re clogged they may prevent the engine from getting enough oxygen to work efficiently. In most vehicles, it’s easy enough for a user to change the filters themselves. Your manufacturer’s documentation will tell you how often to check the filters.
Tire Treads and Pressure
Your car’s tires are what help you stay safe on the roads, and bald or damaged tires can increase your braking distance and make the car hard to control. Check your tire pressure every month to make sure it is correct based on your manufacturer’s recommendations. Be aware that the weather can change your tire pressure, so you may need to inflate the tires a little more during the winter months. Check your tire tread depth every month, too, and replace your tires if the tread is running low. Get your car looked at if there are signs of uneven wear on the tires. Be sure to also check your car’s shock absorbers. If you want the best result, choose high-performance shock absorbers such as the ones from Koni.
Lights and Signals
Every month, check your brake lights, parking lights, hazards, and turn signals to make sure they’re working properly. Do these checks on a flat surface, and make sure your headlight beams are fully functional. Your lights should be clear and unobstructed. If the casing is damaged or the bulbs are dim, replace them.
Oils and Filters
Your manufacturer’s documentation will tell you how often to replace the oil and the oil filter. Usually, this is listed in the form of both mileage and time, so you may be advised to change the oil every 5,000 miles or once a year, whichever comes first. Changing the oil can be a time-consuming job but it’s a very important one.