Start the new year fresh with this vehicle maintenance checklist! Our general service schedule is easy-to-follow, based on month intervals, and focuses on what items need to be checked and when. Another great way to check and see if you need a tune-up is to watch your mileage. Every month, the average mileage is 1,000 miles. If you average more than 1,000 miles a month, you should do these checks more frequently.
Caring for your car and keeping it in proper running order takes a little bit of effort. Thankfully, being a mechanical whiz isn't a requirement to perform frequent checks on your vehicle. Being aware of what needs to be checked and how often are crucial things to understand. Educating yourself on the basics of car maintenance will aid to your car's overall performance. This article outlines which parts of your car should be inspected and how often. Some inspections you can do on your own, and others will need the professional opinion from a technician.
Not only does routine auto care and preventative maintenance help keep your car safe and dependable, it also helps save money and aggravation. There are some parts of your vehicle that should be checked as frequently as possible. Keep a close eye on them to prevent major problems and repairs down the road.
Check Every 3 Months
- All the above +
- Automatic transmission fluid
- Battery and cables
- Engine air filter
Transmission fluid is a lubricant that helps keep all the moving parts inside of your transmission functioning properly. An example of something that needs to be checked is the serpentine belt. This belt is essential to keeping your car running by powering devices such as your alternator, power steering pump, and air conditioner compressor. Visually inspect the belt to ensure that it is free of cracks or other wear and tear.
Check Every 6 Months
- All the above +
- Chassis lubricant
- Wiper blades
Includes the undercarriage parts of the vehicle that allow the vehicle to flex and turn. This includes mountings for suspension springs, shocks and steering arms.
Check Every 9 Months
- Same as every 3 months
Even though you should be keeping a close eye on all vehicle parts, there are some parts that don't require check-ups as frequently.
Check Every 12 Months
- All the above +
- Cabin air filter
- Coolant (antifreeze)
- Steering and suspension
- Wheel alignment
It's important to check your antifreeze levels once a year before the winter months, to keep your radiator or engine components from freezing. A 50/50 mix of antifreeze to water is generally recommended but check your owner's manual or with a professional to be certain. Overall, sticking to a car maintenance schedule, and keeping good records of what you've done, can help extend the life of your vehicle and protect you against breakdowns, expensive repairs, and other unwelcomed surprises.
This article was written with the help and resources from the non-profit Car Care Council. The "Be Car Care Aware" campaign is a consumer education program about the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair, designed to provide knowledge from all segments of the automotive aftermarket industry.
The non-profit Car Care Council is the source of information for the "Be Car Care Aware" consumer education campaign promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers. To view the Car Care Council's consumer education website, visit www.carcare.org