Do you spend a lot of time in your car? Then you know how important it is to keep it well-maintained. If you want to save money and prevent major mishaps, you should know what to check and how often to do it.
Here are a few tips from the pros, as well as a printable auto maintenance checklist to keep you organized.
Why regular maintenance is important
Most of us truly cannot imagine our everyday routine without a car. Going to work, picking kids up from school or other activities, shopping or traveling all require having a reliable vehicle that won’t leave you stuck in the middle of the road. Therefore, it is important to get into the habit of regularly checking and maintaining your car in order to:
- Prevent expensive repairs – you will save a lot of money if you keep an eye on the general condition of the car and especially by checking fluids. Make sure all levels are in accordance with your manufacturer’s recommendations and you will be able to avoid major damage;
- Avoid unexpected problems with the car while traveling – this is important to keep in mind since it will not only prevent unexpected breakdowns but may also save you from harming yourself or others;
- Understand how your car functions – it is good for everyone in the family to be aware of how the car functions and know how to look for problems and when it’s time to visit a shop.
One of the cases when regular maintenance can be of great help, though a bit indirect, is if you need your car as a collateral for a car title loan. Being able to show and prove that your car is in excellent condition may result in receiving more cash compared to presenting a car that is in rather bad condition.
How often to check each element?
Every month you have to check the overall condition of the car and the level of the fluids. Once it becomes a routine, you will find out that it only takes a few minutes. So, make sure to check the brake fluid level, the coolant level, the engine oil level, and the windshield washer fluid.
Make sure that all the lights of your vehicle function.
To ensure better performance and optimal gas consumption you need properly inflated tires, so check the tire pressure and overall condition.
Lift your wiper blades to inspect them for any damage or clear the debris that is accumulated under. It takes only a few seconds but will save you a lot of trouble when it starts raining.
- Every three months
Once in three months or in every 3 to 5,000 miles, whichever comes first, make sure to do the following inspections and replacements.
Change the engine oil and the engine oil filter. You can do it by yourself or visit a shop. As long as you do it regularly, it won’t cost much.
The fluids that you need to check every three months are for the automatic transmission and the power steering fluid.
It is advisable to inspect the fan belt, the battery and all cables and hoses in your vehicle.
If you hear squeaking in your suspension then it is a good idea to crawl under your car and lubricate the chassis. This is something that can be done alongside changing the engine oil.
There are some things that you need to inspect or replace only once per year or every 12-15,000 miles, whichever comes first.
You need to change the cabin air filter and the engine air filter.
Make sure to inspect steering and suspension as well as brakes and wheel bearings.
It is also a good idea to flush the coolant in order to make sure that the corrosion protection does not wear down. You can do that once in couple of years too.
Take a couple of minutes to lubricate your door and hood hinges every year as well and to check them for any cracks.
Printable car maintenance checklist
If you believe that all this information is useful, you can print out the checklist below and make sure that you follow all the steps in it. Thus, you will have a car in excellent condition that will serve you much longer.