Caring for your car may require a little extra effort but one thing is for sure – you do not have to be a mechanic for it. Between work, family and dozens of other commitments, your car’s basic maintenance gets ignored. Having a basic maintenance routine for your car not only helps your car run but also allows it to last longer.
One of the biggest issues that most people face is knowing what needs to be done and how often. Once you know all of these details, you will be able to make sure that your car is running in a top condition.
A nicely maintained car will also help you get a good price if you decide to sell it.
To make it easy for you to keep a schedule of your car’s maintenance and maximize its performance, we have covered a few things in this blog that should serve as your car’s general maintenance checklist.
You car’s maintenance is divided into 3 main categories:
- Short term maintenance
- Long term maintenance
- Seasonal maintenance
Short Term Maintenance
When it comes to car maintenance, there are few things that you should get checked on a regular basis.
Check Oil and Coolant Levels
It is always a good idea to inspect your car’s oil and coolant levels every month or after every few petrol fill-ups. Low levels of either can cause you trouble by leading to engine problems. Since every car is different, make sure you refer to the owner’s manual to locate both of them in your vehicle.
Pro Tip: If you are leaving for a long trip, do not forget to check the oil and coolant levels.
Tyre Pressure and Tread Depth
Well maintained tyres play an essential role in a safe driving experience, so make it a habit of visually inspecting them often. It will also make sure that you enjoy a fuel-efficient ride. Make sure you check your tyre pressure regularly, especially before going on long trips or carrying extra load. Also, make sure you have a spare tyre at all times.
You will also need a tyre pressure gauge to check the pressure of your tyre and its tread depth. To check how much pressure your tyre needs, refer to the owner’s manual.
Read More: How to Check Tyre’s Life
Your engine’s air filter is responsible for regulating the air that flows into your engine and keeps the debris out. By making sure that your air filter is properly working, you can decrease your emissions, improve your fuel efficiency and ensure the life of your engine.
This can be done at home so refer to the owner’s manual for instructions and check how often you need to change it.
Changing Oil and Filter
The motor oil serves a whole range of functions including acting as a sealant against debris, lubricating moving parts, reducing wear and tear, cooling the engine and preventing engine corrosion. It is essential that you change the motor oil for optimal engine health.
Depending on what kind of car you have, you will be required to change the oil as well as the oil filter after every 6 months or 5,000 kilometers. Many new vehicles’ manuals instruct changing oil less frequently, meaning somewhere in between 8,000 and 16,000 kilometers.
You can consult your vehicle’s manual or get in touch with a professional to find out what is appropriate for your vehicle.
Lights On Your Vehicle
It is essential that all the lights on your vehicle are functioning properly. But more than often, people tend to overlook them. Once a month, park your car in front of a flat surface, turn on the headlights and make sure that they are well-positioned and working properly.
While your car is parked, walk around it and visually inspect turn signals and your parking lights. If possible, try to have a friend stand behind the car to be sure that the brake lights are working.
Waxing your vehicle after washing it won’t just keep it shiny but will also play a great role in keeping the paint in good shape and decreasing the chances of rust . The build up of sand, dust and salt and environmental factors like ultraviolet light and ozone can cause microscopic damage which can be minimized by waxing.
Along with this, waxing creates a protective seal which extends the life of your car’s paint.
Depending on your vehicle usage, alignment and many other factors, the tread wear patterns on tyres differ between the front and rear ones. Rotating your tyres will not only help in extending their service life by preventing noise/vibration problems but also help in balancing the tread wear.
Long Term Maintenance
Some parts of your vehicle require short term maintenance, while others don’t. The parts that do not require routine checkup qualify for long term maintenance services. Following are some of the things you should consider when you take your car for a long term checkup.
Just like oil, transmission fluid helps in proper functioning of the moving parts of your transmission. No matter if you have an automatic or manual transmission car, it is significant that you get it checked and changed as need be.
If transmission fluid is not replaced on time, it will lead to greater damage leading to transmission damage. Make sure you follow vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations.
Inspect Shock and Struts
The shock absorbers and struts present in your car are there to absorb the impact your car takes when it passes over bumps. Along with this, they also play an essential role in your auto’s steering system.
If you notice a decrease in smoothness or loss of control, take your car to the nearest workshop. Ideally, you should get shocks and struts inspected after every 80,000 kilometers.
Check Transfer Case Fluid
In an all-wheel or four-wheel drive vehicle, the power is shifted from transmission to the axles through the transfer case. Make sure that you get the transfer case checked timely as per the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations to make sure that it is leak-free and properly filled.
Inspect Serpentine Belt
Even though a serpentine belt may seem like a simple piece of rubber, it is extremely essential to keep your car working. A serpentine belt helps your car in running by powering peripheral devices such as your power steering pump, alternator and air conditioner compressor.
Make sure you inspect the belt visually and ensure that it is free of wear and tear or any cracks. Replace it if it is not according to the recommendations of your manufacturer.
Get Coolant Fluid Flushed
The radiator present in your vehicle is an important component when it comes to keeping your engine cool and working properly.
Regularly flushing the coolant will not only ensure that your radiator is filled properly but will also help you get rid of any contaminants that may be present inside.
Front and/or Rear Differential
The differentials are devices that split the torque—or power—from the engine and allow it to send power to the tyres. There is only one differential in a front and rear wheel drive; whereas, there are multiple differentials in a four and all-wheel drive.
Similar to many other parts of the vehicle, the differentials need to be lubricated to make sure that they function properly. Make sure you get them checked according to your manufacturer’s recommendations.
The spark plugs are responsible for igniting the gas and air mixture which ultimately powers your vehicle.
If your spark plugs are not working properly, they will start losing power and will fail to run at optimal capacity. Depending on your vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations, get faulty spark plugs checked and replaced by a professional.
There are certain needs of your vehicle that vary with the driving conditions and season.
Following are a few things you should get checked when you are taking your car for a seasonal check-up.
Battery Performance Check
Your car battery is one of the most essential parts when it comes to optimal functioning of your vehicle. A car battery supplies current to the engine, starter and other electronic accessories present in the vehicle.
Extreme temperatures affect the performance of your battery so it is important that you perform regular battery testing to make sure that it won’t disappoint you when need be.
Replacing Windshield Wipers
Windshield wipers need to be replaced annually or whenever you feel like their effectiveness is being compromised.
To summarize, having a regular car service routine will increase the lifespan of your vehicle and save you from expensive repairs and other unforeseen situations.
If you want to get your car inspected, you can visit OLX Pakistan’s website. If you have any other queries, drop them down in the comment sections below and we will get back to you.