A very small problem with the engine or any other part of the car can cost you bucks. For this reason, routine maintenance and regular check-ups are important to keep the car in the best working condition for years. Maintaining a vehicle also reduces the chances of unfortunate incidents. Here are the top 10 car maintenance checklists that every car owner should know.
Table of Contents
Check the Lights
Burn-out or broken bulb is not only hazardous for night driving, but also it can get you a ticket. It is better to check your car’s light bulbs now and then. Take special care of the headlights by cleaning the lenses to help the lights shine better.
Turn on the car and then your car’s headlights. Move to the front of your car and analyze keenly. If both the lights are shining brightly, they are good. Failing or dim headlights indicate they need to be replaced.
Test the Brakes
Regular inspection and maintenance of brakes are necessary. Some brakes may wear out quicker than others. How often you need to inspect brakes depend upon where you drive your car. Brakes may wear out faster if you often drive in urban areas due to lots of traffic.
Faulty brakes usually make noise that can be recognized easily. The louder sound indicates the damage to the brakes is serious. Similarly, pay attention to the brake warning lights. If you see these lights coming on while driving, there must be some issue with brake fluid, which you need to get checked as soon as possible.
Change the Oil
Oil in your car prevents it from overheating, friction, and wearing several car parts. You should routinely check the oil level of your car to ensure it works efficiently. The oil should be changed after covering a certain distance, usually 5,000 miles.
If you change the oil yourself, read the owner’s manual to understand the pain points. Learn to dispose the old oil correctly and set the oil level. Don’t forget to consider the right motor oil for your car. Discuss with a professional whether you should use synthetic or regular motor oil.
Check the Engine Air Filter
Air filters are there to protect the engine and retain its efficacy. The dirt and debris that accumulates over time are kept away from the engine by an air filter. You need to make sure the air filter doesn’t clog. Otherwise, it can cause many problems to the engine.
Carefully check the engine air filter every month. If it is dirty or clogged, get it replaced. Make it a habit to change it every year even if it is not dirty.
Inspect the Windshield Wipers
Windshield wipers are crucial, especially in snowy weather. They must be working efficiently so that you can drive without any stress. Their performance may decrease over time. Leftover water streaking on the windshield indicates that windshield wipers are not effective anymore.
When this happens, it is the fault of the rubber part of the wipers. Just replace the rubber, and you are good to go.
Rotate the Tires
Tire being worn down is another issue that cannot be left unnoticed. Some factors like usage affect the tread wear patterns of the back and front wheels. Many times, the outer and inner edge wears down quicker than the rest of the tread. It can be the misalignment that causes the wheels to incline more on one side.
Rotating the tires help overcome this issue as it spreads the wear evenly. As a result, the tread of all tires becomes uniform, and thus the vehicle performs better.
Inspect Shocks and Struts
These parts help in stabilizing the movement of a car. They are responsible for keeping the car stuck to the pavement even when it encounters a bump. A vehicle doesn’t run smoothly when shocks and struts do not perform well. Get your car inspected by a professional if you see slight change in your vehicle’s stabilization.
Look for the Belts
Just like other parts, the belts of your vehicle should be in good shape for the car to run smoothly. For instance, a serpentine belt power the air conditioner compressor and alternator. These belts also need replacement after a certain time as every part gets wear at some point.
The changing time is different for different cars for timing or serpentine belt. Changing them on your own is not the right decision. You can look for cracking or loosening signs on belts. If you see any such damage, take your car to a mechanic to replace the belts.
Spark plugs are responsible for the overall efficient working of the car. They ignite the gas and air mixture, which in turn powers the engine. This tells us that spark plugs should always give a top-notch performance. If spark plugs lose efficiency, the engine will not perform with its full capacity.
Keep a check on spark plugs and get them replaced when you face difficulty in starting the engine or accelerating the car.
The battery of your car provides electrical current to a large number of electrical accessories of your car. Weather conditions are likely to affect its performance. You can perform a load test at home to ensure it is in perfect condition.
Turn on the headlights, keep them on for about 15 minutes, and start the car. Dimming of lights indicates a failure to load test by the battery.
Bonus: Use friction modifier
You cannot use your car every day and expect it to stay in the same working condition for years. Routine inspections and check-ups keep your car fit. This may include weekly, monthly, and yearly maintenance check-ups. You have to take it for maintenance every now and then to save your pockets in the long run.
However, if you have bought your first car and are unaware of its maintenance, make sure to see a professional who can give you one-on-one guidance about your car.