Car Maintenance Checklist – The Basic Need to Know

Any machine needs maintenance, and this is also applicable to cars. You need to maintain your vehicle, and there are certain things that you need to take care of while maintaining your vehicle. If you recently purchased a new car, then we are sure that you might not be aware of all the preventive maintenance that you need to perform on your vehicle. These maintenance tasks will not only help you in improving the lives of the car, but it will also help you in ensuring that you do not incur a considerable expense because of improper care of the vehicle.

If you are a first time car owner, then we are sure that you would not be aware of a lot of maintenance tasks that you should be performing on your car.

We are going to help you, as in this article, we have compiled a checklist that will help you in taking care of your vehicle.

Car Maintenance Checklist

Regular Maintenance

These are the tasks that you need to perform regularly. You can check these things monthly or at least once in 2 months.

  • Fluid Levels – You must regularly check the fluid levels of the car. This check includes all types of fluids. Engine oil, coolant, wiper fluid, and everything else that you can think of. There is no need to replace all the fluids, but you need to top up these fluids every month. Refill the coolant levels, and you can even add anti-freeze if you are in the arctic climate.
  • Cabin Filter – A lot of people ignore this part, and it is quite an essential thing that you need to note. The cabin filter is behind the glove box, and you would need to remove the glove box to clean the cabin filter. It is a regular air filter that can easily be cleaned with compressed air. When you are running the air conditioner, the cabin filter is responsible for filtering the air in the cabin.
  • Air Filter – Air Filter is yet another thing that you need to take care of. This filter is located in the engine bay, and air drawn by the engine is filtered by this component. It is not required to replace the air filter every month but clean it. You can replace the air filter as per the recommendations from the manufacturer.
  • Tires – You need to take care of your tires as well. Check for leaks and check the thread of the tire. You also need to check tire pressure. If you have a tire pressure monitoring system in the car, then you will get alerts as and when the air pressure falls. Check the tires for cracks, and you can apply tire shiner while washing the car. You need to rotate the tires once in 6 months. Also, pay attention to wheel balancing and alignment.
  • Lights and Electronics – The next thing is to check the lights and electronics. Ensure that all the lights are functional and test the electronics of the car. Ensure that the electronic auto-hold works as expected. You can check the heated seats, horns, and seat ventilation whenever you are performing the monthly maintenance.
  • Warning Lights – Warning lights are something that you must check regularly. Whenever you drive, ensure that there is no warning light on the dashboard. In case there is any warning light, visit the workshop and get it checked. If you are getting an engine warning light, you can run the diagnostics via the OBD II scanner, and it will help you in finding the source of the problem.
  • Engine Oil – It doesn’t harm to check the engine oil levels. Ensure that the car has an adequate amount of engine oil and also ensure that there are no leaks. Cleaning your engine during the regular wash will give you an idea about the same.
  • Waxing & Polishing – It is essential to take care of the body of the car. Waxing and Polishing prevent rusting, and it ensures that the body doesn’t wear off. You can wax and polish your car at home during the monthly maintenance schedule. If you notice any scratch, you can apply a little rubbing. These things will ensure that your car is always shiny.
  • Radiator Health – Also, check the radiator health during the regular maintenance schedule. In the short term, ensure that the radiator is clean. During the long term maintenance, you can flush the radiator and replace the coolant. These things will ensure that your engine doesn’t overheat.
  • Engine Noise – Open the engine bay and fire up the engine. Notice for any irregular noise. It can be a faulty bearing that can cause damage. What we mean is that you need to check your car for any kind of engine noise. Keeping a check on noise will help you in ensuring that any problem is addressed at an early stage.
  • Wipers – We have already talked about checking the wiper fluid levels of the car. You must also test the blades of the wiper and ensure that they can remove the water effectively. If you notice any visibility issues while using the wipers, you can change the blades. While you are checking the wipers, do check the headlight washer system as well.

Long Term Maintenance

This section has the details of the tasks that you need to perform at least once in 6 months. In case of any issues, you can contact your dealership.

  • Transmission Fluids – Transmission fluid is something that needs to be checked at least once in 6 months. While you are checking the transmission fluids, you must also check the steering fluid levels. This is an essential factor, and without the fluids, the transmission box can malfunction. If you have a manual car, then you must also check the clutch fluids.
  • Brake Pads & Brakes Fluid – Another important thing is the brake pads and the brake fluids. Check the once in 6 months, and in case of pads wear, change them immediately. You can also check the ABS and EBD systems as they help you in maintaining the stability of the car in emergency braking. Check the handbrake as well. It should be able to stop the vehicle on a slope.
  • Clutch Plate – You must also check the clutch plate of your car. After a long term usage, it wears out, and it can cause a significant loss of power. The transmission shifts should be smooth, and this is especially true for manual transmission cars. If you are facing any issues, take professional help in changing the clutch plates of the vehicle.
  • Suspension – You must also check the suspension of the car. Look at the shockers and ensure that there is no leak. If you have an air suspension, then you need to check the suspension airbags for the punctures. A bad road can be a big problem for your suspension. Check it properly, and it will offer you a smooth ride.
  • Differential – While you are checking the suspension, it makes sense to check the differential of the car. Your car can have the rear differential, AWD, or a front differential. This system is responsible for the power to deliver. If you have a 4×4, then you would need to be extra careful while checking the differential of the car.
  • Fan Belt – A loose fan belt can lead to squeaky noise from the engine bay. You can avoid this by ensuring that the fan belt has the right level of tension. It is easy to maintain, and it requires just a minute of your time. You can even refer to the user manual for more information about the fan belt.
  • Air Conditioning System – A lot of people ignore the air conditioning system and the heating system. Check if the system works properly or not. Ensure that the refrigerant gas doesn’t need a top-up. You can also check if the air conditioning condenser is clean, and there is no dust on it.
  • Battery – The next thing to check is the battery of the car. Ensure that you are not having any problem with the cold starts. You can even check the output current of the battery. You can also check the fluid levels of the battery your car doesn’t have a maintenance-free battery.
  • Spark Plugs – The last thing to check is the spark plugs. Ensure that there is no instance of missing while you are running the car. If required, change the spark plugs. You may have to replace them after 40,000 miles anyways.

These were all the points that you need to be aware of, so ensure that you check them all. If you find any irregularities in any of the systems, contact your dealership or mechanic immediately. Do not drive around with fault light on.

Ensure that you are performing the short term maintenance and long term maintenance as per the schedule. Do not miss the checklist, and it can save you a great deal of money in the long term.

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