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Car Maintenance Checklist


WRITTEN BY: Julia Matseikovich

UPDATED: MAY 16, 2022 | 3 MIN READ

Many people consider their car an essential part of their lives. They depend on it for everything — taking the kids to school, getting to and from work, and running errands. That’s why car maintenance is so important. Use this car maintenance checklist to keep your vehicle in tip-top shape.

Car Maintenance Info Quicklinks

Regular Vehicle Maintenance

To keep your car in the best shape possible, follow these car maintenance tips.

Get Your Oil Checked

Changing your oil is pretty important for your car maintenance, and it might be the thing that we do most often. It’s important to regularly check and change your vehicle’s oil so that your engine continues to run smoothly. It’s not unusual to check your oil monthly, and then you can change it accordingly.

You can also check in your owner’s manual to determine how often the manufacturer recommends changing the oil.

Many people change their own oil, or you can take it into an auto shop. If you want to change your own oil, make sure that you do all necessary steps such as draining the fluid, setting the correct oil level, and properly disposing of the old oil.

It’s important to know what motor oil is best for the make and model of your vehicle. In order to do that, you consider three things: the car’s mileage, oil viscosity, and whether you should use non-synthetic or synthetic oil.

Inspect and Maintain Tires

Maintaining your tires is pretty important to avoid a potential blowout. It’s easy to learn how to maintain the tire pressure on your car so that you can reduce the wear and tear on your tires. Not only does that keep you safe, but it can help you get good gas mileage.

It’s important the check the tire pressure on your vehicle. To do that, you need to check the PSI and deflate or inflate your tires accordingly.

A flat tire can be a nuisance to you, especially if you are trying to get to work on time, but it can also be very dangerous. To avoid getting a blowout, have your tire rotated every 5,000 to 10,000 miles and watch for tire recalls.

Change the Air Filter

It’s essential to keep an eye on your air filter and change it when necessary. It’s not good to go more than a year without changing it. Sometimes when you get your oil changed, the technician will also check your air filter for you. A dirty engine air filter can allow dirt into your car’s engine, which reduces the efficiency of your vehicle.

Check the Fluids

Again, if you bring your car to an auto shop or the dealership, they usually check to make sure you leave topped up on fluids.

Your car runs the best when the fluids are at an appropriate level. You should always check on the following:

  • Coolant
  • Engine oil
  • Transmission fluid
  • Brake fluid
  • Power steering fluid

If you happen to have a leak with any of these, it can affect the way that your car drives.

Review Your Car InsuranceMaintaining your car isn’t just about your car maintenance checklist. It’s also about reviewing your car insurance policy to ensure it has everything you need. Of course, you always want to make sure that your policy’s limits, deductibles, and coverages are all up-to-date.

Complete Car Maintenance Checklist

Things to Check Monthly

  • Tire pressure
  • Oil levels
  • Hoses
  • Tires
  • Coolant/antifreeze
  • Air filters

Things to Check Every 3 Months

  • Brake fluid
  • Oil filter
  • Windshield wiper fluid
  • Battery
  • Battery cables
  • Transmission fluid
  • Power steering fluid

Things to Check Every 6 Months

  • Rotors
  • Brake pads and calipers
  • Horn
  • Head/brake lights
  • Wiper blades
  • Catalytic converter
  • Shock absorbers
  • Exhaust
  • Spare tire

Car Maintenance Checklist FAQs

What regular maintenance should be done on your vehicle?

  • Rotate tires
  • Oil change
  • Check oil and coolant levels
  • Check transmission fluid levels
  • Check tire pressure

What is the most critical car maintenance?

Getting a regular oil change and checking your tire pressure is probably the most important aspect of your car’s maintenance.

How do I keep my car running like new?

  • Change your oil regularly
  • Drive sensibly
  • Take your car to a trusted mechanic
  • Keep coolant at an appropriate level
  • Get regular car inspections
  • Invest in quality tires

What happens during a tune-up?

When you take your car to a mechanic, typically, a tune-up consists of checking the engine to see what needs to be cleaned, fixed, or replaced.  This can include spark plugs, filters, car fluids, belts, hoses, rotors, and distributor caps.

How often should you get your car serviced?

Typically, you would get your car serviced every 10-12,000 miles. It’s important to keep your vehicle serviced at least once a year. Your vehicle manual will usually have the service intervals inside. Depending on the time frame, you can have any number of items that need to be serviced within that year.

Keeping Your Car In Tip-Top Shape

Keeping your car fully maintained can help your car last longer and also keep you and your passengers safe. If you are unsure about whether your car needs to be maintained, take it to your nearest trusted mechanic. In addition, it’s always a good idea to review your car insurance regularly to ensure you have everything you need.

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