If you want to keep your car running smoothly for years to come, it’s important to stay on top of your basic car maintenance. This includes things like changing the oil, checking the tires, and keeping the fluids topped up. If you’re not sure where to start, don’t worry – we’ve put together a Basic Car Maintenance Checklist that will take the guesswork out of it for you. Just follow these simple steps and your car will stay in good shape for many, many miles!
1. Check the oil level and top it off if necessary
Every time you get gas, pop the hood to check the oil level. If it’s low, fill up with a quart or two until the dipstick shows an adequate amount on its indicator strip (usually between “L” and “H”). This is important because without enough lubrication from clean motor oil running through your engine, the metal pistons and bearings will start to grind and wear down – causing costly damage in the long run.
Tip: don’t overfill your engine with oil. If you see that the oil is above the “FULL” line on the dipstick, pour some out until it reaches that marking.
2. Check the tire pressure and adjust if necessary
Under-inflated tires not only wear out more quickly, but they can also be a safety hazard. Driving on under-inflated tires at high speeds can cause them to blow out, resulting in an accident. You should check your tire pressure at least once a month (more often if the weather is hot or cold) and adjust it if necessary.
Tip: Use a good quality tire gauge to measure the pressure and make sure the tires are cold before you start (that is, don’t measure the pressure after driving for a while).
3. Inspect the brakes for wear and tear
You should inspect your brakes at least once every six months to make sure they’re operating properly. If you notice any signs of wear and tear, take the car in for a check-up ASAP! This will prevent costly repairs down the line – not only do worn out brake pads need replacing more frequently than new ones, but their failure can also cause accidents.
Tip: Listen for any unusual sounds when braking, and look out for brake dust on the rims (indicating that the pads are wearing down).
4. Check all fluid levels, including brake fluid, engine oil, transmission fluid, etc.
It’s important to keep all of your car’s fluids at their proper levels, and this includes checking the brake fluid, engine oil, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, windshield washer fluid, etc. You should check these levels at least once a month (more often if the weather is hot or cold).
5. Clean the car inside and out – this will help it look nicer and last longer
Keep your car clean both inside and out. Washing the exterior will prevent rust from forming, while vacuuming up crumbs or dirt on the inside will help prevent mold and mildew from forming.
Tip: Use a vacuum to suck out any dirt or debris that has accumulated between seats, under mats, etc., then wipe down all surfaces with mild soap (including the dashboard).
Bonus tip: Waxing your car every six months will protect against rust caused by salt.
6. Rotate the tires every 6,000 miles or so to extend their life span
Rotating your tires will extend their life span and improve gas mileage, because it ensures that all four wheels are getting equal wear. You should rotate the tires every six months or so (or every other oil change). Ideally this would be done by a professional mechanic if possible, but you can do it yourself with some basic tools – just make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Schedule Maintenance Services Today
If you’re in need of professional automotive maintenance or repair, you can rely on us. We are available for your car emergencies and the little details that keep your car running smoothly and efficiently. Contact Lafayette German Car Repair by calling (925) 2284 – 3390. We offer great deals, excellent service, and long-lasting results!