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The Checklist: 10 Elements of Your Vehicle That Require Regular Maintenance

Modern vehicles can be considered much more reliable than their predecessors but that doesn’t mean you can neglect some regular maintenance tasks that help keep your car in the best possible shape and safe on the road.

Simple but effective actions such as checking the oil, and even tire rotation to prolong their life and reduce wear and tear, are just some of the items that should be on your maintenance checklist.

Here is a look at what sort of things you should be checking on a regular basis.

Make sure you can see where you are going

One of the cheapest parts to buy for your vehicle also happen to be one of the most important, as you rely on wiper blades to clear the rain efficiently so that you can see the road ahead as clearly as possible.

Give the rubber blades a regular wipe with a cloth to clean away any grime and change the blades for new ones every six months or so, even if you don’t think they need changing.

They cost so little to replace and you can fit them yourself, which makes it a no brainer for your checklist.

Keep an eye on your oil

Your engine can’t function without it and if your oil starts to thicken it could affect the efficiency and lifespan of such a vital component.

It only takes a couple of minutes to check the oil level when you fill-up with gas and you will find that if you change the oil at regular intervals you should get better fuel consumption and your car’s engine should last longer when it is well protected with clean oil.

Every 5,000 miles or so is a good benchmark for changing your oil completely but check it regularly to see whether it needs topping up in the meantime.

Check the oil filter too and replace it when you can see that it needs changing.

Look after your battery

Nothing more frustrating than having a flat battery when you are trying to start the car to get to work or go somewhere in a hurry.

A good habit to get into would be to clean the terminals so that you always have a good battery connection and you don’t get a buildup of dirt or corrosion.

If you notice a slightly chalky residue accumulating around the battery terminals clean this away and replace the battery terminals.

Allow your car to keep its cool

Another vital component is the radiator and if this is not working properly your car can quickly overheat and suffer a breakdown.

It is essential that your car’s radiator and cooling system are kept topped up as it needs to be clean in order to be able to work as efficiently as possible.

An annual flush of your radiator should be on your checklist and it is not a complicated task to do yourself if you follow the instructions in your owner's manual.

Check your tires

The tires on your car will take a lot of punishment during their lifetime and they do a vital job of allowing you to maintain good control of your vehicle and keep you as safe as possible.

Check the tires weekly for signs of damage and make sure that they have the right amount of air in them. You can get the tire pressures from your owner's manual or there might be a sticker somewhere on the vehicle that tells you what pressure they should be for optimum performance.

A good maintenance tip would be to rotate your tires as this will help preserve their integrity and should ensure they last a bot longer.

Check your air filter

Your air filter does a good protective job but it can only perform that task if it is not clogged up with dirt and debris.

It will probably only take less than fifteen minutes to change your air filter and this should be done every 12,000 miles or every year, which one comes first.

Check all your lights are working

Some vehicles provide you with a warning light on your dashboard to tell you when a bulb needs replacing but sometimes you might not be aware that a light is not working.

It would be a good idea to get into the habit of checking whether all of your lights are working and ask someone to check while you go through testing all of them.

It will only take a matter of minutes to do this but it is important and you get a ticket if your tail light is out, for example.

Preserve the bodywork

Regularly cleaning your car will help to keep it in good shape but what will really help preserve the paintwork and help your car hold its value, is to protect the bodywork with waxing.

You can probably get away with waxing your car twice a year but providing that protective seal is well worth the effort.

What is your engine telling you?

You can often tell when the spark plugs in your car might need replacing as the engine will start to sound noisier and you might notice that it idles erratically or even misfires.

Checking and changing your spark plus is something you can do yourself if you want to, and bear in mind that the average lifespan for his component is about 30,000 miles.

Listen for the clues your engine is giving you and be sure to tighten the plugs up tightly once you have checked or replaced them.

Clean the upholstery

Keeping the interior of your car clean and tidy is a good habit to have and it makes sense to give the upholstery a regular clean too.

You will be preserving the value of the car if you keep the interior looking nice, especially if the material is a natural product such as leather.

A clean and well-maintained car is often much more pleasurable to drive if you are proactive with your repairs and upgrades and you could find that reliability and performance are also enhanced as a result of following your maintenance checklist.
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