Auto Care Preventative Maintenance Checklist
As a car owner, preventive maintenance is the single most important thing you can do. Regular maintenance is akin to getting regular doctor checkups. They keep your car healthy and give car experts a chance to catch small problems before they become big ones. Auto care preventative maintenance includes regular services, inspections and repairs that prevent potential problems, such as lubrication, adjustments, cleaning, testing, and replacement of worn parts.
Overall, there are two types of auto owners: Proactive and Reactive. Reactive will service their vehicle when there is a breakdown, light or noise. Sometimes those all just happen or are a result of an accident of some sort, like hitting a pothole. Being reactive can be more costly, sometimes to the point of complete vehicle failure. Proactive owners will schedule auto care preventative maintenance usually based on time or mileage.
It is important to know what you should be doing for auto care preventative maintenance, so you can be proactive in your approach which prolongs the life of your vehicle and reduces your long term cost of ownership. The very first thing to do is to review your owner’s manual. Your owner’s manual is designed to give you the recommended services for your specific vehicle and how often those services should be performed. The only exception to this rule is if you live in an environment with extreme temperatures. In those cases, you auto mechanic may suggest a different oil type or additives. If you don’t have a copy of your owner’s manual, you can usually find one online.
This Auto Care Preventative Maintenance Checklist is generic for all vehicles.
There are some you can do yourself, however, there is a time and place for a professional. Know yourself, and if you don’t the time, talent or interest in doing it for yourself, find a reputable auto mechanic.
Auto Care Preventative Maintenance Checklist #1: Oil Changes
Check your owner’s manual to determine how often your oil does indeed need to be changed. Many people believe it is every 3,000 miles, but that may not be true in your case. It will also tell you the right type of oil to use as well as filters and other parts. This can be helpful for you, more than the auto mechanic, who likely already has access and knowledge about these things.
Auto Care Preventative Maintenance Checklist #2: Fluid & Belt Inspection
Have an inspection performed, or do it yourself if you are able. Check your fluids including:
- Antifreeze/ Coolant
- Wiper fluid
- Power Steering
- Transmission Fluid
Check your timing and serpentine belt. Most vehicles need these replaced every 60,000 and 40,000 miles respectively. Your owner’s manual will give you a specific range for your vehicle, and if you don’t do the preventative maintenance on these, you will break down and the belts can cause additional damage to other areas.
Auto Care Preventative Maintenance Checklist #3: Check your Tires
Check the tread on your tires to see if it is low and wearing evenly. If the tread is low, replace the tires- they are not something to wait on. Worn tires are very dangerous to drive on. Getting tires rotated and balanced will help them last longer. Your manual will tell you how often to get that done. An alignment on your car is needed if the tread isn’t wearing equally on the tire.
Auto Care Preventative Maintenance Checklist #4: Change Filters
Your engine’s air filter needs to be replaced according to your owner’s manual and is based on mileage. Likewise the type of driving you do and the location of where you are driving can impact how dirty the air filter gets and how often it will need to be changed.
Replacing a dirty air filter in the cabin is something easy you can do yourself. Get a replacement filter at your auto parts store and check your manual for the replacement instructions. This won’t cause your car to break down, but it does keep your car more comfortable.
Auto Care Preventative Maintenance Checklist #5: Inspect & Clean Battery
Take a look at your battery and notice if there is any mineral buildup on the contacts. Clean it with a battery cleaning brush. Make sure your jumper cables are in good working order and consider purchasing a battery tester. Automotive shops as well as auto supply stores can test your battery level as well.
Auto Care Preventative Maintenance Checklist #6: Spark Plugs
Worn or damaged spark plugs can lead to a breakdown, therefore they need to be checked and changed regularly. Ignoring them causes your engine to not work efficiently, about every 30,000 miles, or in accordance with your manual.
Auto Care Preventative Maintenance Checklist #7: Keeping it Clean
Replace windshield wipers if they are not doing a good job of clearing your windshield. This can become very dangerous quickly if not. They are rather inexpensive and are easy to replace. Keeping the exterior of your vehicle clean is important to prevent rust. In the case of an accident, anything in the cab of your vehicle can become a projectile, therefore not having unneeded items, is good. Remove or discard anything that doesn’t need to be in the car or isn’t secured.
Auto care preventative maintenance can save you money and keep you safe on the road. It’s not just some blathering by auto mechanics to get you to spend your money, it really is a benefit to you as an auto owner. Give Airport Automotive a call today to get your services scheduled.