To make it easy to keep track of your car maintenance schedule, we’ve created a simple, downloadable car maintenance checklist to help you keep on top of your automotive maintenance.
SHORT TERM CHECK-UPS
For proper vehicle maintenance, inspect the following:
OIL AND COOLANT LEVELS
Every month, or every few gas fill-ups and especially before any longer road trips, it’s a good idea to get under the hood of your car and inspect both the oil and coolant levels while the engine is cool. Low levels of either can lead to engine problems if left unchecked. Refer to your owner’s manual to locate both on your specific vehicle.
Your engine’s air filter is what regulates the air that flows into your engine and helps keep out debris and particulate. By making certain that your air filter is flowing properly, you can improve your fuel efficiency, decrease your emissions, and help ensure the life of your engine. This can be done easily at home, so check your owner’s manual for instructions and how often it needs to be changed.
TIRE PRESSURE AND TREAD DEPTH
Since well-maintained tires are integral to a safe, fuel-efficient ride, make it a habit to visually inspect your tires often. Check the pressure in your tires every month, and before long trips or carrying extra load. Don’t forget the spare. A tire pressure gauge will be needed to check your tire pressure. Also, during the colder months, note that tire pressure drops one pound with every 10 degree decrease in pressure. Your owner’s manual will tell you how much air pressure your tire needs. You can check your tread depth using the simple penny method.
HEADLIGHTS, TURN SIGNALS, BRAKE, AND PARKING LIGHTS
It’s important that the lights on your vehicle are properly functioning, but oftentimes it can be easy item to overlook. Once a month, turn on your headlights when you’re parked in front of a flat surface and check that both headlights are working properly and well-positioned. Walk around your car and visually inspect both turn signals and your parking lights. Have a friend stand behind the car while you engage the brakes to be certain that your brake lights are functional.
OIL & FILTER
The motor oil in your vehicle’s engine serves a whole slew of functions: it lubricates the moving parts, helps act as a sealant against debris, cools the engine, reduces wear and tear, and helps prevent engine corrosion. Keeping it clean is vital for good engine health. Depending on your car and what kind of oil you’re using, you may need to change both the oil & oil filter as much as every 3 months or 3000 miles. Many newer vehicles’ owners’ manuals will recommend changing your oil less frequently – often in-between 5,000 and 10,000 miles. Check your vehicle owner’s manual and consult with a professional to be certain what is appropriate for your vehicle.