Car Maintenance Checklist: The Basics

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Maintaining your car is vital for obvious reasons, like avoiding breakdowns and costly repairs. Aside from that, a properly-maintained vehicle runs more efficiently and produces less pollution. Of course, every driver would want the longevity and performance of their cars to remain in top condition.

By following a simple car maintenance checklist, you can ensure that your car stays in top condition. This article will explore the basics of car upkeep and how you can personalize your maintenance schedule to cater to your needs.

Preventive Maintenance Schedule

The simplest and most important form of car maintenance is the preventive schedule. This type of upkeep includes regular check-ups and service at specified time intervals to catch problems before they become major issues that require expensive repairs.

Creating a preventive maintenance schedule is not difficult. You can consult your car’s owner’s manual or ask a mechanic to create one specific to your vehicle.

Oil Change Service

Oil changes are arguably the most popular form of preventive maintenance. This simple service entails cleaning old oil from your engine, replacing it with new oil, and checking for other problems such as damaged engine parts and worn-out belts. Oil changes are significant because used oil contains contaminants that can damage your engine over time.

An average car lasts about five thousand to seven thousand miles before its first oil change is needed. However, some vehicles perform more efficiently at higher mileages than others; that’s why mileage may vary for your particular car.

Car Wash, Wax, and Interior Cleaning

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Maintaining your car’s body is essential for several reasons. A clean exterior makes your ride look appealing to potential buyers should you decide to sell the vehicle in the future. Aside from aesthetics, it also prevents rust on metal components of your car, such as doors, trunk lids, hoods, roofs, and fenders.

A car wash is essential for keeping your car’s exterior, especially the paint job, in excellent condition. For more intense scrubbing, you may opt to detail your vehicle instead of using wax or detergents that remove dirt and grime.

It is also essential to clean your car’s interior because this is where dirt and grime accumulate. Vacuuming the floor mats, sending seat covers to the dry cleaners, using leather conditioners on leather upholstery, sanitizing the plastics with disinfectant wipes, and dusting all surfaces are simple ways of keeping your ride spick and span.

Tire Pressure Check

One of the most common problems that can cause severe damage to your car is low tire pressure. Low pressure makes your tires wear faster and reduces fuel efficiency, which will lead to more trips to the gas station.

You must check if all of your tires are sufficiently inflated every week or two because under-inflated tires become even more under-inflated over time due to the air seeping out. Even if your tires seem fine, check their pressure regularly just in case because tire pressure changes with temperature, and you never know when a sudden change will occur.

Wiper Blade Check

Checking the status of your wiper blades is often overlooked, but this simple measure can save you from trouble down the road. A worn-out wiper blade will not clear rainwater off your windshield correctly and cause an obstructed view. Some cars have a built-in system that tells you if the edges are defective so refer to your owner’s manual if you are unsure.

Replacing wiper blades is also essential to keep your windshield clean at all times. Most carmakers have recommendations on how often you should install new ones, so consult your owner’s manual.

Ventilation and Air Conditioning Check

Proper air ventilation allows your car’s occupants to breathe easily, no matter how hot it gets outside. Failure to provide this satisfaction will leave them gasping for air and give them a stuffy discomfort that most people find unpleasant.

Most modern cars have separate knobs for adjusting the temperature of the A/C and the heating system, but some still have one knob that controls both systems. You can ask your mechanic to inspect the status of your air conditioning and heating systems if you are unsure.

Checking Fluids/Coolants

To ensure proper performance from your car’s engine, it is essential to routinely check its fluids, including engine oil, power steering fluid, brake fluid, and windshield wiper fluid. It’s best to consult your owner’s manual to find out exactly how often you need to do this, but typically, it is recommended that you check them at every gas fill-up.

Maintaining your car is an essential part of running it smoothly and preventing expensive repairs in the future. By following the simple car maintenance checklist above, you can ensure that your car is always in top condition.

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