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How to Properly Maintain Your Car (Checklist and Tips)

From basic car maintenance tips, like cleaning it inside-out to specific maintenance tasks, learn how to maintain your car properly.

Whether you’re a road tripper or just want to take good care of it, if you own a car, you know how crucial it is to keep it in good condition to avoid any possible issue on the road, especially if you’re going to travel long distances.

Not only that, a well-maintained car will save you money on repairs, insurance, and gas, as well as extend its lifespan, and improve its safety and performance. However, doing this can be a daunting task if you are not familiar with it.

In this article, we will answer all these questions and give you some practical tips on how to maintain your car properly.


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checking the tires to properly maintain your car
Learning to properly maintain your car and spotting potential issues is the best way to get your car ready for a road trip or any journey.

Here’s a car maintenance checklist:

  1. Motor oil and filter
  2. Belt and hoses
  3. Spark plugs and wires
  4. Tire Pressure
  5. Check the suspension system
  6. Check battery
  7. Air filter (both engine and cabin)
  8. Windshield wipers (check or replace)
  9. Check the Lights (both head and tail)
  10. Check the brakes
  11. Check the coolant or antifreeze.
  12. Check safety belts
  13. Clean your car (outside and inside)

If your car passes all those points on the checklist, then, your car is more than ready for the road and you can expect no issues.

Need to Rent a Car?

Rent a car here, it’s one of the best options to go for if your car stops working or is stuck at the mechanic getting services.

a car's mechanic checking the motor of a yellow vehicle
Taking your car to the mechanic regularly for check-ups and services is highly recommended to avoid any issues and extend your car lifespan, as well as, reduce future costs.

Basic Car Maintenance Tips

It’s important to learn some good practices before diving into the maintenance tasks, that way you can make sure to keep track of everything and even prevent some issues.

  • Check the suspension system. Your car’s suspension system has to be in proper condition, often most of us take for granted how important the suspension is, a good system that works correctly makes sure everything in the car takes less impact and vibration, extending the car’s lifespan.
  • Keep a record of all service done to your car. Whenever you take your car to a mechanic or do some maintenance yourself, keep a log of what was done, when, and why. This will help you keep track of your car’s condition and avoid unnecessary or duplicate services.
  • Do the inspection regularly. At least one time per month, take the checklist and inspect your car completely. From the fluid levels, and tire pressure, to lights, brakes, and belts, as well as the hoses, and battery. Look for any leaks, cracks, or corrosion. If you notice something unusual, make sure to take your car to a mechanic.
  • Clean your car completely. Good car maintenance starts with washing and waxing your car, it not only prevents rust and corrosion but also paints damage. Besides that, vacuuming and cleaning the interior can help you get rid of odors and prevent stains and mold. For a truly thorough cleaning, you may want to consider professional car valeting.
  • Check how you drive and avoid mistakes. You can avoid a lot of car issues by driving with care, since how you drive actually affects your car’s performance and condition. Avoid speeding and hard braking, as well as driving on rough roads. These can lead to excessive wear and tear on your car.
  • Check the owner’s manual. I know most of us just ignore the manual, but you can’t imagine how much valuable information you can learn about your car from it. You can even discover features you didn’t use before or others you were using wrong.

📖 Recommended Reading: If you’re looking for more useful information, check out How to Stay Safe on a Road Trip

chaging a car oil to properly maintain it
Checking and changing your car’s engine oil and filter is one of the most important and frequent tasks in order to properly maintain your car.

Specific Car Maintenance Tasks

Now that we have covered some basic tips, let’s look at some specific tasks that you need to do to properly maintain your car.

How many times you do these tasks can vary a lot, it will depend on several factors, like how old your car is, last services, model, mileage, and usage.

However, here are some services that apply to most cars:

  • Change the oil and filter. This is one of the most important and frequent maintenance tasks for your car. Oil lubricates and cools your engine, while the filter removes dirt and debris from the oil.

    Depending on the usage, and over time, the oil in the engine can will get dirty and will lose its viscosity, which leads to the filter getting clogged and stopping working properly.

    You should change the oil and filter every 5,500 to 7,000 miles (whichever comes first), or according to your owner’s manual.
  • Replace the air filter. The air filter is responsible for preventing dust and dirt from getting to the car’s engine. A clogged and dirty filter will reduce your car’s power and efficiency.

    You should replace the air filter every 12,000 miles, or according to your owner’s manual.
  • Check the spark plugs and wires. This is the main component that lets your car start working, worn out or damaged spark plugs and wires can cause poor acceleration, misfires, and rough idling.

    You should replace the spark plugs and wires every 30,000 miles, or according to your owner’s manual
  • Check brake pads and rotors. Over time, the brake pads wear out and lose their friction, while the rotors develop grooves and warps from the heat and pressure. This will reduce how well the brakes work and is a high safety issue. Also, can cause noise and excessive vibration.

    You should replace the brake pads every 50,000 miles, or according to your owner’s manual.

Sometimes, cars start to malfunction before the service date, that’s why you need to do regular checks.

Last Updated on November 6, 2023

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