How To Perform A Maintenance Check On Your Vehicle

By Eric Bradshawson

Here's a bit of irony: everyone dreads the experience of flat tires, engine problems, radiator issues, transmission failures, and dead batteries. Yet, few people invest the time to inspect their vehicles on a regular basis. A lot of the parts-related problems that frustrate drivers can be prevented with a little ongoing maintenance. It doesn't require a significant amount of time or expertise. In fact, anyone can perform a routine maintenance check within minutes.

In this article, I'll explain the steps involved with keeping your automobile properly maintained. If you do the following tasks on a regular basis, your vehicle will last longer and perform better.

Inspect Tire Pressure And Tread Wear

Air escapes from your car's tires constantly. As a result, they'll lose pressure over time and need to be refilled. Adopt the habit of checking the pressure once a week. You'll need to use a tire gauge in order to determine whether the amount of air in your tires matches the manufacturer's recommended specs.

You should also check the depth of your treads. Even though you can get away with checking them once every few weeks, it's convenient to do it the same time you're checking the pressure.

Inspect Fluid Levels

Oil is arguably the most important fluid in your vehicle. If it dips below a certain level, you risk allowing your engine to overheat. If your engine overheats, the repairs can cost hundreds of dollars. The good news is that checking the oil is one of the simplest maintenance tasks you can do. If you lift your car's hood, you'll see a clearly-marked dipstick. Pull it out, wipe it clean, and insert it back into its slot. Then, pull it out and check the level and consistency. If it's low, add more oil. If you see flakes, or the color is extremely dark, have it changed.

You should also check the coolant level in your radiator. If your vehicle is relatively new, you'll notice an overflow reservoir with level markers. There's no dipstick to remove; you can visually inspect the markers to identify whether you should add more coolant.

Check your oil and coolant levels once a week. It may be inconvenient, but it only takes a few minutes.

Inspect Your Battery

Get into the habit of checking the poles and cables of your battery each month. Corrosion accumulates and can hamper the connection. If a charge cannot travel from your battery to the connecting cables, it may be difficult (or impossible) to crank the engine. Buy a metal battery cleaner at a local auto supply store. One end fits over the poles; a few vigorous turns will clean off the corrosion. The other end fits into the cable connectors; again, a few robust twists will clean them.

If you perform the maintenance items above on the schedule I've recommended, you'll help protect your car's components from damage. In the case of checking your tire pressure and tread depth, you'll ensure your own safety. The best news? It takes very little time and will help you save thousands of dollars in the long run. - 29952

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